The Neosho Area Community Foundation hosted a breakfast for civic, community leaders and individuals on Friday at the Civic.

The Neosho Area Community Foundation hosted a breakfast for civic, community leaders and individuals on Friday at the Civic.

“This is a kickoff campaign to help raise awareness for Neosho Area Community Foundation and let you know that we are in an effort to raise money for our general endowment fund, which we are hope to exceed $100,000 before the end of our term this year,” said Blake Hierholzer, president of the foundation.

The foundation was founded in 2011 and is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, based out of Springfield. Brian Fogle, chairman of the board of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, was the keynote speaker for the kickoff breakfast.

“A community foundation promotes philanthropy, promotes giving,” Fogle said. “Communities that have community foundations gain more than those who don’t, because they talk about philanthropy, they talk about the importance of giving, the importance of charity. That is what we do in the community foundation world. We raise money and we give it away.”

Fogle stated that in Missouri, residents give about 6 percent of their income goes to charity.
“What if we raise that up 2 percent to 8 percent?” he said. “What if we create a more generous state? What if Neosho was a more generous community? What would that mean to beautification, to jobs, to all of those challenges that you are facing right now? That is what we do at a community foundation.”

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks began 40 years ago in 1973.

“Today, we are $207 million we represent 44 communities across the southern tier,” Fogle said. “We just went over $150 million in grants that we have given back to the Ozarks. In that are backpacks for kids who can’t afford to eat in the evening, it is for cancer survivors, it is for every cause that you can think about. Those dollars represent stories about people that we give back. Just think if we didn’t have a community foundation, where would that $150 million come from? That is the importance of a community foundation.”

Fogle reiterated what the local community foundation board is trying to do.

“What Blake and the board are trying to do here this morning is the hardest thing to, but it is the most important thing to do and that is to raise unrestricted funds so you can address needs today, tomorrow, 40 years from now,” he said. “And the great thing about that is by creating this unrestricted endowment fund that you can give grants that will grow over time. In St. James Mo., in 1937, Lucy Wortham St. James passed away and left $2 million in an endowment that benefits St. James. Today, that is $62 million. They are giving away $1 million plus each and every year to benefit causes in and around St. James. They built every municipal building in St. James, they built swimming pool again from philanthropy, from the kindness and generosity of a person who (said) ‘I am going to put that money here, I am going to put it into an endowment and it is going to help this community forever. And that is the magic of an endowment.”

Fogle said he was excited about the Neosho Area Community Foundation.

“You all can do some great things in your community by everybody working together, by promoting philanthropy, by making Neosho a more generous community, it will be a more beautiful place,” he said. “There will be better jobs, we will have better education, if we all sacrifice a little bit, give a little bit more, and keep it local.”