Ash Grove Community Foundation chapter on its way

A new organization in Ash Grove is raising money to create endowments that will, in turn, provide funds for organizations and projects that will help meet a variety of needs in Ash Grove.
The Ash Grove Community Foundation (AGCF), a recently-established affiliate foundation working under the umbrella of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, is currently asking Ash Grove residents to donate to “an unrestricted community grantmaking fund to take care of needs now and in the future,” according to information from a page on the Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ website. The AGCF has a goal of raising $30,000 over the next 18 months, to be fully established.
Any money the chapter raises for Ash Grove stays in the Ash Grove account, forever. It goes untouched. The interest money generated from the account will then be used to make grants to groups within the Ash Grove community.
Tyler Gunlock, president of the AGCF, said he and Jason Whitesell, vice-president of the AGCF, came up with the idea of starting the foundation while discussing ways to help Ash Grove.
“I was looking for the right project to boost the community and Jason had a long-term goal of starting an affiliate chapter in Ash Grove,” Gunlock said. “We then had a series of meetings over the past year with the Community Foundation representatives, and then an information evening with prospective board members in Ash Grove.”
One consideration the board took when organizing, Gunlock said, was to make sure they would not divert support away from other organizations working in support of the community.
“In Ash Grove, the Care 2 Learn chapter has had great success and the Ash Grove HTC organization has done some great things,” he said. “We felt like this wouldn’t compete with those organizations and would therefore fill a need.”
The foundation, Gunlock said, chose to raise funds for endowments because “they have a proven track record of helping towns … like Ash Grove.”
“A lot of people are proud of the Ash Grove area but it’s difficult sometimes to know where to start or how to give back,” he said. “This is a great way to organize funds and effort for our area and give us some real opportunities to invest in the community. In addition to our own endowments, once the chapter is established, we then qualify for a range of grants from economic development to rural health initiatives that could serve to positively impact the area.”
The AGCF’s board members aren’t alone in their efforts. Currently, Gunlock said, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks is supporting them as they work to establish the chapter.
“They are a first-rate organization and a great resource,” he said. “They do the big things like investment management and assistance with planned giving but so far for us it’s been administrative support, lots of emails, phone calls, and guidance, and a board training to ensure everyone’s on the same page.”
Gunlock said he strongly believes the foundation will reach their fundraising goals.
“I’m just really excited about the board members that have stepped up and the opportunities ahead of us,” he said. “I feel we’ve assembled the right group of people to launch this and be successful. All of us are involved because we love the area and want it to see it thrive. We want this to be another thing the community can rally around and be proud of.”
The AGCF currently has nine board members: Tyler Gunlock, president; Jason Whitesell, vice-president; Rachel Griffin, secretary; Mike Roberts, treasurer; Pat Cook, board member; Austin Houp, board member; Ryan Squibb, board member; Chris Thompson, board member and Ronessa Williams, board member.
To learn more about the AGCF or to donate online, go to Donations can also be mailed to: Community Foundation of the Ozarks, P.O. Box 8960, Springfield, MO 65801. Donations mailed in should be noted as for the Ash


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