Area philanthropists, non-profits gather for 4th MRCF Annual Meeting
ST. JAMES—The Meramec Regional Community Foundation (MRCF) celebrated four years of local philanthropy and planned giving in the Meramec Region during its annual meeting July 30.
Community Foundation of the Ozarks Senior Vice President of Philanthropy Michael Chatman served as guest speaker and aimed to inspire the philanthropists, non-profit organizations and MRCFboard members in attendance.
Chatman was recently named one of the Top 50 Power and Influence Philanthropists by The Nonprofit Times, a leading business publication for nonprofit management. He was one of three foundation representatives on the list.
“Vocabulary means everything in the non-profit sector,” Chatman told his audience, explaining that when you change the terminology, you often change your mindset as well, bringing better results.
Chatman encouraged attendees to look at philanthropy not as donations to an organization, but as an investment in a cause and making an impact on their communities.
“Words and vocabulary do make a difference,” Chatman emphasized.
MRCF Chairman Wayne Parry followed up: “If we don’t invest in ourselves, who will?”
In the last year, MRCF had nine new funds created, awarded six community grants, and assisted 12 area students with educational costs through four scholarship funds. Currently, MRCF has 32 funds, totaling $612,000.
“It’s amazing to look at where we started and where we’ve come and how many people we’ve helped in just a short period of time,” Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) Community Development Specialist Maria Bancroft said.
Bancroft provides administration to MRCF, a regional affiliate of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO) formed by MRPC with a $20,000 seed grant in 2010.
In addition to celebrating accomplishments, the MRCF board voted to retain its current slate of officers for another year. Parry, of Rolla, serves as chair, Mardy Leathers of Crawford County serves as vice chair, and Vicki Nelson of Maries County serves as secretary/treasurer.
Two board appointments were also approved during the meeting, including Joe Scott, who will represent Osage County, and Gary Brown, who will represent Dent County. Brown has previously served on the MRCF board as an MRPC representative.
CFO is a public foundation serving the Missouri Ozarks. The Foundation’s mission is to enhance the quality of life in the region through resource development, community grant-making, collaboration and public leadership. Formed in 1973, CFO has since grown toinclude 44 affiliate community foundations and more than 2,600 charitable funds totaling approximately $230 million in assets.
MRPC, in addition to establishing the regional foundation, provides staff support to MRCF. Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries,Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. A professional staff of 22, directed by the MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.