Eight counties | 36 cities | one region

a voluntary council of local governments
serving the missouri meramec area.

Ya Ya’s of Belle receive $250 for arena renovations

For immediate release

For more information, contact
Maria Bancroft

ST. JAMES—Meramec Regional Community Foundation (MRCF) awarded the Ya Ya’s of Belle a $250 grant for its park and arena renovation project. The check was presented at MRCF’s invite-a-friend luncheon March 7 at MRPC in St. James. This year, the MRCF board reviewed a total of 21 grant applications requesting a total of $5,500 and representing projects in Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties. The Ya Ya’s were one of six projects selected for funding.

The Ya Ya’s, with 23 women as members, work to better their community through fundraising and outreach efforts. The group holds an annual bull riding fundraiser at the Belle Park Arena. For this, they must rent lights as the arena’s lights are inadequate. With the grant funds and additional money raised, the Ya Ya’s are going to replace the lighting around the arena and adjacent area, as well as, replace the bleachers on the south side of the arena as they are aged and unsafe in some areas. Once the renovations are complete, there will be more possibilities in the events that are brought to the Belle community.

“The grant was important to our arena project because we have much updating to do to the arena with zero budget,” Cindy Butler, Ya Ya’s president, said. “This is the seventh year we have used the arena for our benefit bull ride. Our focus this year is lighting. We have been renting light plants each year to provide safe lighting during the event. A secondary focus is increasing bleacher space. These projects will not only assist us in our mission of raising funds for our emerging crisis fund, but also to draw other events to our community.”

Other recipients, receiving $250, include:

  • Art Works on Main Gallery in Owensville for an art room renovation,
  • Caledonia Community Foundation in Washington County for village park improvements,
  • Dent County Community Foundation for clean-up and beautification projects,
  • University of Missouri Extension – Crawford County for an artist and farmer rendezvous project, and
  • CASA of South Central Missouri for a recruitment event in Maries County.

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 Lange of Osage County serves as president of MRCF.

Currently, MRCF has 59 funds totaling over $1.39 million.

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, collaborations and public leadership. Formed in 1973, CFO has since grown to include 49 affiliate community foundations and more than 3,200 charitable funds totaling approximately $285 million in assets, as of June 30, 2017.

MRPC, in addition to establishing the regional foundation and providing the initial investment to create a grant program, 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 23, 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.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to MRCF for its grant making efforts or interested in establishing their own fund can contact Maria Bancroft at MRCF at mbancroft@meramecregion.org or by phone at 573-265-2993 Ext. 114.

To keep up with the latest MRPC news and events, visit the MRPC website at www.meramecregion.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/meramecregion/.

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Photo: Tess Ridenhour (left), Becky Fisher and Cindy Butler, current president, of the Ya Ya’s of Belle accept the ‘big’ check and the real check from MRCF Chair Vicki Lange.