Because of their efforts to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations in Jasper County, the Carthage Community Foundation, the Joplin Regional Community Foundation and the Sarcoxie Community Foundation have won a $20,000 challenge grant through the Coover Regional Vaccination Initiative. From July 26 to Sept. 20, the percentage of Jasper County residents ages 12 and up to receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine increased by 8.7%.
Regional affiliate foundations of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks opted in on behalf of a single county to participate in the program. The CFO tracked data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for each county to determine the winners.
With the highest overall increase in vaccination rates, Jasper County CFO affiliates — Carthage Community Foundation, Joplin Regional Community Foundation, and the Sarcoxie Community Foundation — won the overall grant prize. In Carthage, the CCF largely used its Facebook page to spread word about vaccination opportunities in their community. CCF board members and staff also shared opportunities on their personal Facebook accounts, if they had one. Additionally, CCF board members promoted those vaccination opportunities at various local meetings, including the nonprofit network GRO Carthage and through other boards they each volunteer to serve. During the grant challenge’s eight-week period, Joplin was the first city in the state to cross the 50% fully vaccinated threshold.
The prize is an unrestricted grant, which the CCF, the JRCF and the SCF can use for their own community grantmaking. The CFO announced the winners of the Coover Regional Vaccination Initiative during its annual Affiliate Appreciation Conference on Oct. 7.
The Coover Regional Vaccination Initiative was supported by the Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Charitable Foundation, managed by Commerce Trust Company. The CFO and the Coover Charitable Foundation have partnered since 2002 to award more than $7 million through grantmaking programs, particularly targeted to rural Missouri. The Coover Charitable Foundation is also a key contributor to the CFO’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.
“Congratulations to the Carthage Community Foundation, the Joplin Regional Community Foundation and the Sarcoxie Community Foundation, and the great communities that they represent,” said Jill Reynolds, senior vice president at Commerce Trust. “We applaud the leadership of the foundation board members to make their communities safer and take steps towards putting this pandemic behind us.”
The Cassville Community Foundation, Monett Area Community Foundation, Marshfield Area Community Foundation, Jacks Fork Community Foundation, and Community Foundation of the Hermann Area also received challenge grants through the Coover Regional Vaccination Initiative for their efforts in their local communities. The program featured a total of $60,000 in challenge grants for winning affiliates.
Founded in 1973, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks is the region’s largest public charitable foundation serving a network of donors, 53 regional affiliate foundations and nonprofit partners across central and southern Missouri through with assets of $394 million as of June 30.