Little Joe Transplant, Scholarship Fund partners with community agency

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Scholarship continues to honor memory of local boy

The Little Joe Transplant Trust Fund, which has been awarding $1,000 scholarships to outstanding Barry County high school seniors and helping families with minor transplants and associated medical expenses for years, is changing and will now have a much broader scope, outreach and the ability to help even more young adults and children.

"We are going to go into partnership with Community Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO) in Springfield," said Jim LeCompte, attorney and spokesperson for the fund.

The trust fund was originally established from money raised over a period of 1-1/2 years to provide a heart and lung transplant for local youngster Joe Starchman, or "Little Joe," who as a teenager passed away before the transplant could be completed. When the funds could not be used for their original purpose, the board of trustees decided to use the money to benefit other young people, making contributions to the Ronald McDonald House in Joplin and Springfield, providing expenses for children in need of minor transplants, and finding additional ways to use the money to help honor Little Joe's memory, including the establishment of educational scholarships.

"The scholarships help motivate students who might not otherwise make the decision to go to school to take that step," LeCompte said. "We really believe, if not for the $1,000, that some students would not have made the decision to go on to college or a technical school.

"The money goes toward tuition, books, supplies, and whatever the student may need for school. I think there is always going to be a need for scholarships, and as long as there is money available, it is our desire to grant these scholarships."

LeCompte said the new partnership will not affect the annual scholarships, which will continue to be awarded in April or May of each year, or the board's ability to make decisions for the transplant funds.

Under the partnership, the organization will retain its board of trustees and decision-making, but the community agency will be

managing the money.

"The board voted unanimously to become partners with CFO," LeCompte said. "It is definitely a win-win situation for our fund and CFO benefits by having one more resource they can manage, and have access and knowledge of another source of funds that they can advertise to benefit residents of Barry County."

"The main reason for the change is continuity, so the fund would have a perpetual existence. As we age, we would have to come up with a new board of trustees and with the money management being taken care of by CFO, this allows us to have new trustees that don't feel the responsibility to do the money management. They're going to do it for us."

LeCompte said it will be nice to have CFO involved

"They manage many millions of dollars," he said. "They're well-respected and have done a lot of good things with the funds they've had. We're happy to be in partnership with them. Basically, we will still have the ability to make decisions with the scholarships and transplant funds, but they are going to manage the money for us."

For more information on the Little Joe Transplant Fund or educational scholarships, people may call Jim LeCompte at 417-847-2832.

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