The Community Foundation of the Ozarks, in partnership with Commerce Trust Company, awarded a $20,000 grant to West Central Missouri Community Action Agency to support the El Dorado Works! Program, a neighborhood-based job readiness program housed in the renovated Liston Elementary School building.

The grant was presented as part of the 2019 Coover Regional Grant program on April 18, at Commerce Trust in Springfield. This program, inspired by the Northwest Project in Springfield, combines assessment and job-readiness development with family and social supports like drop-in child care and community meals. It brings essential resources to a blighted low-income area, builds partnerships with community businesses and organizations and anchors future technical and wrap-around programs for El Dorado Springs and Appleton City residents.

“In November, were able to have a community conversation in El Dorado,” said Kelly Ast, Community Initiatives Coordiantor for WCMCAA. “What we found was a neighborhood struggling with 23 percent unemployment and 100 percent of students on free and reduced lunches. Several years ago, we had an opportunity to remodel the old Liston Elementary School to offer youth programming. This grant today will bring the vision of a youth center into its next phase — to support the family.”

A total of $320,000 was awarded to three place-based education projects and 16 other organizations serving rural areas across central and southern Missouri as part of the Coover Place-Based Education and Regional Grant programs.

The grants are made possible through the generosity of the late Julia Dorothy Coover, who worked for Commerce Bank for 30 years. She established the Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Charitable Foundation in 1992 to honor her husband’s memory. Since then, the Coover Charitable Foundation has awarded about $5.7 million in grants to nonprofit agencies and rural schools across the Ozarks.

“We are honored to continue Mrs. Coover’s legacy through these grant programs,” said Commerce Trust Vice President Jill Reynolds. “Thanks to the foresight of her endowment nearly 30 years ago, more than 19 communities across central and southern Missouri will be positively impacted by these grants today.” The Community Foundation of the Ozarks is a regional public charitable foundation established in 1973 that provides asset and resource development, grantmaking and public leadership through a network of donors, 49 affiliate foundations and some 600 nonprofit partners across central and southern Missouri.

Community Foundation of the Ozarks 425 E. Trafficway Springfield, MO, 65806 (417) 864-6199 Fax (417) 864-8344,,, www.instagram/cfozarks,

Facebook Comments