Bob Mitchell: Little Joe Fund joins Ozark Foundation

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Last week, I wrote about the Little Joe Transplant Fund. Here is the rest of the story.

At each location, the funds were to provide a room, which was to be designated with a Little Joe Transplant Fund label on the door. I'm assuming that is still a designation.

More than 200 college scholarships, for one year, have been awarded to local high schools that made application. There have been times when two or three schools have not made application for the grants, which resulted in students losing assistance. An attempt has been made by the trustees to provide one-year scholarships to each high school in the county.

Applications are normally handled through the counselors in each school district.

Scholarships are awarded exclusively by the trustees, meeting after a deadline for receipt of applications.

The trustees recently agreed unanimously to invest the fund's balance of $233,011.75 with Community Foundation of the Ozarks. Action came after the fund dipped below the dollars originally raised in 1984. Trustees agreed to become an agency partner in the Springfield-based foundation to extend the existence of the fund additional years.

During the initial years of the fund, investments in certificates of deposit were provided at substantially higher interest rates, once boosting the fund to more than $300,000 at one time. Continuation of awarding 16 scholarships annually with no medical emergencies dropped the fund to its present balance.

Trustee stay

Becoming a part of the foundation doesn't mean that local trustees won't have control of the fund. They will award the scholarships each year, with the foundation's "back office" handling much of the correspondence and notification required in the program.

Trustees will retain the authority to assume full control of the fund at their discretion. The Little Joe Fund will not become a part of the Cassville Community Foundation. Community Foundation of the Ozarks, founded in 1973, has grown to include 46 affiliate community foundations and more than 2,500 charitable funds, totaling about $262 million in assets.

Trustees set the future of the program to include involvement of Dan Angle as treasurer and Jim LeCompte as attorney. Trustees or their successors will monitor the funds under the foundation.

Regional involvement

Trustees agreed in their meeting that it required 18 months to raise the original amount. Contributions came from everywhere. Major media in the region were highly cooperative in the progress of the fund effort. Very seldom did a request for publicity go out that wasn't fulfilled.

During the months of activities, several communities sponsored the program or some activity to assist the program, reporting the end result promptly.

Local help

Those previously mentioned -- Mrs. Reese and Mrs. Miller, especially -- were assisted by hundreds of people in Cassville-area communities. When Frost had first mentioned the possibility of helping the family, whose father was his business neighbor, some thought he was out of his mind. But there were others who wanted to take a shot at it, and the organization -- originally known as the Little Joe Transplant Fund -- got underway.

There were many people, probably hundreds, who would be impossible to recognize individually. Even though they should get recognition, they will have to accept this expression of appreciation with the heartfelt thanks of the Starchman family, those who have been helped over the years and the officials of the Trust Fund.

The timing was right. People lined up to help, and in a typical fashion of those days, the project was completed.

Hopefully, the fund might receive some future contributions that will put a boost in the availability of activity.

Coming dates

June is full of activities that will provide interesting involvement for Barry Countians.

* June 6, 1944 -- Allied invasion, led by American forces, along the beaches at Normandy, France, a beginning of the downfall of Germany and the end of World War II in Europe.

* June 14 -- Another of those holidays where it is important to display the American Flag and reinstate your belief in our way of life. This year might be one of the most important functions of this type in recent years.

* June 21 -- One of those days that should never be forgotten, Father's Day. Perhaps not as important as the parent day observed last month, but believe me, it's one not to be forgotten.

Lost almanac

I intended to finish this column with some information from the Farmer's Almanac, but since it is either no longer on my desk, or possibly covered, that won't be possible.

One observation: Tomato plants in the garden aren't growing. They remain stout plants, but haven't reached the climbing wire as yet. I agree with Richard Wierman, who recently commented, "They are badly in need of sunshine to make them grow."

He's absolutely right. But why is it grass doesn't need much sunshine to require mowing?

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat.