Eight counties | 36 cities | one region

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

Belle Elementary receives $250 community grant for emergency coats, shoes program

For immediate release

For more information, contact
Maria Bancroft

ST. JAMES—Meramec Regional Community Foundation (MRCF) awarded Belle Elementary a $250 grant to purchase coats and shoes for children in need. The check was presented at MRCF’s invite-a-friend luncheon March 12 at MRPC in St. James. This year, the MRCF board reviewed a total of 18 grant applications, requesting a total of $4,414.21 and representing projects in Crawford, Dent, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties. Belle Elementary was one of six projects selected for funding.

Belle Elementary has approximately 290 students’ pre-kindergarten through fourth grades. When a student does not have a coat, the school tries to meet that need. Because of the number of students, sometimes not all needs can be met. The MRCF Community Grant will go toward making an additional impact on the needs of the Belle Elementary students in the way of coats and shoes. 

“Belle Elementary is thrilled to receive funding from MRCF,” Belle Elementary Counselor Constance Smith said. “Our district has a high poverty rating; therefore it is a concern that students have winter coats for the cold weather and tennis shoes for physical education. This school year was an extremely cold winter. Many students were greatly in need of warm coats. Belle Elementary is appreciative of funding within our counties, and MRCF taking the time to consider our student’s needs.” 

Other recipients, receiving $250, include:

  • The Ozark Actors Theatre of Rolla for its Summer Theatre Academy, 
  • Richwoods R-VII School District for its after-school snack program, 
  • Meramec Community Enhancement Corporation on behalf of Duke Rural Fire Department for a new building,
  • Osage County R-I School District at Chamois for its Pirate Tinkerlab, and 
  • The Bourbon Boosters for ramps to the stage in the park. 

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 54 funds totaling over $2.83 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 3,700 charitable funds totaling approximately $300 million in assets, as of June 30, 2018. 

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. Gasconade County Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel serves as chairman of the board. A professional staff of 25 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 www.facebook.com/meramecregion/.

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Cutline: Constance Smith (left), Belle Elementary school counselor, accepts the ‘big’ check and the real check from MRCF Chair Vicki Lange.