MRPC News Release

For immediate release
March 20, 2017

For more information, contact
Maria Bancroft at (573) 265-2993

Sundi Jo Graham of Esther’s House accepts the ‘big’ check and the real check from MRCF Chair Vicki Nelson. 

MRCF awards six community grants
Esther’s House of Redemption receives $250 for Freedom Outreach

ST. JAMES­—Meramec Regional Community Foundation (MRCF) awarded Esther’s House of Redemption of Belle in Maries County $250 for their Freedom Outreach project at the MRCF invite-a-friend luncheon March 7 at #4 Industrial Drive, St. James. This year the MRCF board reviewed a total of 17 grant applications requesting a total of $4,250 and representing projects in Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties.

Esther’s House of Redemption is a faith-based program, located in rural Missouri, offering hope to broken women. Serving women affected with controlling issues, such as alcohol and drug addictions, depression, self-harm, the aftermath of physical and sexual abuse, etc., Esther’s House provides mentoring and life skills training. Currently through its Freedom Outreach program, Esther’s House can serve up to four women. The grant funds will go towards the purchase of additional curriculum for the women they serve.

Other recipients, each receiving $250, include:

  • Bonebrake Center of Nature and History in Dent County for public bathroom renovation,
  • Newburg Community Revitalization Program Group in Phelps County for the community park,
  • Owensville Chamber of Commerce in Gasconade County for downtown benches,
  • Salvation Army of Pulaski County for their food and shelter program, and
  • Washington County Community Partnership for a bathroom renovation.

MRCF is an outgrowth of the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) and is an affiliate of Community Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO) in Springfield. The regional affiliate was formed in 2010. Its 12-member board includes representation from each of the eight Meramec counties and from MRPC. Vicki Nelson, a representative at Mid America Bank – Belle Branch, serves as MRCF’s chairman. Currently, MRCF has 52 funds totaling nearly $767,576.

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 to include 49 affiliate community foundations and more than 2,600 charitable funds totaling approximately $253 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 25, 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.

To keep up with the latest MRPC news and events, visit the MRPC website at www.meramecregion.orgor on Facebook at


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