Skaggs Foundation awards nearly $1 million in grants

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More than 50,000 lives to be impacted over the next 12 months

On Oct. 26, 2023, Skaggs Foundation awarded 33 Skaggs Legacy Endowment grants totaling $974,950 to organizations working to improve health and wellness in Stone and Taney counties. These projects, plus four multi-year grants that will continue into the coming grant year, are estimated to impact more than 50,000 lives.

Access to care continues to be one of the biggest challenges Skaggs Foundation is confronting.

“One of the ways we are taking on the issue is by working with local schools to make accessing healthcare easier for students and staff,” said Nita Jane Ayres, chairman of the Skaggs Legacy Endowment Grant Committee. “Last year, we awarded grants to Forsyth and Kirbyville school districts to support telehealth programs. This year, we are awarding a two-year grant to Mark Twain School District to fund a school nurse and help furnish and equip that office.”

Mark Twain Superintendent Joe Donley said the district hasn’t had a school nurse in years, and while they have many caring adults in the district, they are finding it increasingly difficult to handle more serious issues. That concern plus a rise in students with chronic conditions are just a couple of the reasons Donley turned to Skaggs Foundation for help.

“There are no hospitals or urgent care facilities within an hour drive from our school,” Donley said. “The closest medical facility is not equipped to handle emergencies.”

He said while there are wonderful volunteer first responders in the area, it could take up to 20 minutes for one to arrive and an ambulance could take as long as 30 minutes to get to the school.

“On the surface, about 80 individuals will be directly impacted,” Donley said, adding that includes students and staff. “Overall, our whole community will be impacted by the care and education given to our students by the nurse.”

Skaggs Legacy Endowment fund is a restricted endowment fund made possible by a generous gift from CoxHealth in 2013. Since that time, Skaggs Foundation has awarded more than $9.3 million in grants to organizations working to improve health and wellness throughout Stone and Taney counties.

2023 Skaggs Legacy Endowment

Grant Recipients and Project Details

Access to Care

CMCB Unites Stone and Taney Counties

$137,500 Cox Medical Center Branson

This grant allows Cox Medical Center Branson to join an existing community information exchange powered by the secure Unite Us online platform. Being a part of the Unite Us platform allows Cox Branson to increase collaboration between Cox Branson staff and community organizations. Being part of this robust online community of caring organizations allows Cox Branson to shift from a reactive approach to a proactive, holistic, person-centered approach that addresses underlying social needs.

Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Patient Scholarships

$110,000 Cox Medical Center Branson

This two-year grant will fund Cox Medical Center Branson’s Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Patient Scholarship program. This scholarship fund eliminates the financial barrier for qualifying individuals with cardiac or pulmonary diagnoses or events from being able to participate in the cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program. The rehabilitation program gives patients a chance to regain their health and confidence while lowering their risk for hospital readmission or death.

Senior Nursing Student Scholarships

$80,000 College of the Ozarks 

Scholarship assistance to College of the Ozarks nursing program seniors facilitates the success of graduates, aids in breaking the cycle of poverty through successful careers in the healthcare industry, decreases the Ozarks region RN shortage, and assists in making Stone and Taney counties healthier and therefore happier. This grant will provide eight senior nursing students at C of O with $10,000 scholarships to assist with expenses related to their final year in college.

School Nurse

$70,000 Mark Twain R-8 School District  

This two-year grant provides funding for a school nurse for Mark Twain School District plus $10,000 to equipment the school’s health office. A school nurse is crucial in providing the best care for students and will monitor health screenings and shot records, administer medications, train staff and be a liaison caregiver for students with chronic illnesses. The school nurse will be the first school nurse the district has had in years.

Good Samaritan Fund for Cox Medical Center Branson Patients – Year 3

$50,050 Cox Medical Center Branson  

Cox Medical Center Branson’s Good Samaritan Fund will provide Cox Branson patients who are uninsured or underinsured with financial assistance for hospital debt. This fund provides assistance to individuals who have utilized services at Cox Branson but do not have the resources to reconcile their hospital charges and do not qualify for charity care. This fund helps patients when unexpected illnesses or injuries occur.

Patient Transportation Assistance

$24,000 Cox Medical Center Branson

Cox Medical Center Branson provides transportation assistance to patients in Stone and Taney counties. This project ensures access to care and decreases the likelihood of readmissions, medical complications, and/or death, while increasing health and well-being. It’s estimated that between 250-400 individuals will be assisted through this grant.

Healthier Mothers, Healthier Babies

$23,938 Cox Medical Center Branson

Healthier Mothers, Healthier Babies assists mothers with substance use disorder, opioid use disorder and perinatal and postpartum depression by providing them with immediate, on-site care coordination and patient navigation at follow-up OB appointments. HMHB coaches and supports mothers as they provide Eat-Sleep-Console therapy to their infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. The Women’s Center staff will screen, assess, educate, and refer patients, and ensure necessary appointments are made and goals are set for mothers to improve birth outcomes.

Transportation for Seniors

$15,000 SeniorAge Area Agency on Aging

This program provides seniors in Stone and Taney counties with reliable transportation to medical appointments, the pharmacy, and grocery stores. Oftentimes, seniors are unable to drive due to various aging issues such as loss of eyesight, reaction time and coordination. Providing reliable transportation gives seniors the ability to live independently longer by eliminating transportation barriers.  

Free Medical Clinic of the Ozarks

$5,000 Free Medical Clinic of the Ozarks

Free Medical Clinic of the Ozarks is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide quality healthcare services to uninsured adult residents of Stone and Taney counties. Each patient is seen by a qualified physician and provided free medications when possible. This grant will help Free Medical Clinic of the Ozarks cover rent expenses.

Personal for Hurley Students

$3,000 Hurley School District  

These funds will be used to help Hurley students meet personal needs as well as allow the district to purchase CPR items required for certification of students.

High School Health Office Recovery Bed

$1,055 Reeds Spring Schools

This grant allows Reeds Spring High School to purchase a new recovery bed for the nurse’s office. The new recovery bed will ensure students who have experienced trauma can be in an upright position while they recover. The bed will have an adjustable headrest that will keep students safe and comfortable while being monitored.

Child and Family Safety

Boys and Girls Club Summer Enrichment Program

$5,000 Boys and Girls Club of the Ozarks

When schools close for the summer, children living in poverty are unable to access healthy meals, academic assistance and fun activities that are needed to continue to support their success during the coming school year. This grant provides scholarship funds to families who otherwise could not afford to send their children to the Boys and Girls Club in the summer.

Branson High School Cents of Pride Store

$5,000 Branson School District

The Branson High School Cents of Pride store offers students the opportunity to obtain essential items that are not provided through their home environment. This unique opportunity is open to the approximately 1,400 students at BHS. Buccaneer Bucks are awarded to all students at the beginning of the school year. Through positive attendance and academics, students are able to earn more Bucks as a reward. No one is turned away from ‘purchasing’ anything from the Cents of Pride store. The store provides school supplies, healthy snacks, clothing, and other essentials for students in need.

Cents of Pride Store at Forsyth Schools

$5,000 Gift of Hope, Inc.

This grant provides Gift of Hope with necessary funds to continue to operate the Cents of Pride program for Forsyth Middle School and High School students. This program is dedicated to fulfilling students’ needs through a reward system. The main goal is to reach the older students who were going hungry on the weekend because they were too proud or embarrassed to accept the food distributed through the Gift of Hope Backpack Club. This program also expands from the Backpack Club in providing essential health, hygiene, activity kits, sports balls, bedding items, school supplies and snacks.

Options Dad Prep Program

$5,000 Options Pregnancy Clinic

Dad Prep University is an evidence-based program for dads experiencing an unexpected pregnancy. Though dads have always been encouraged to attend their partner’s initial appointment consisting of free and confidential pregnancy testing and ultrasound, through the Dad Prep U program, Options provides dads with a chance to speak with a seasoned volunteer dad coach who empowers them and invites them to attend the next session of Dad Prep University. Each session is eight weeks long, occurring in the evening, with a meal and fuel card provided. Throughout the program, dads examine their developmental history, learn the five characteristics of a 24/7 Dad®, and learn other important skills such as working with mom and proper child discipline to help them be the best dads they can be. This grant will cover a portion of the costs of the curriculum, class facilitator, and program incentives.

Improving Access: CPR and Stop the Bleeding Program

$4,887 Central Taney County Fire Protection District

There is currently limited access to community level emergency first aid classes in the area and with that is increased risk of loss of life. CPR and Stop the Bleed are classes that offer the knowledge and skills to make a difference during life or death situations and being able to provide those makes our community safer. Over the years, Central Taney County Fire has been very involved in the community providing public education and this grant will allow them to expand on that by providing low cost and free CPR and Stop the Bleeding classes to the public.

Galena-Abesville Elementary Cents of Pride

$4,000 Galena R-II School District

This grant will provide necessary funds to Galena-Abeseville Elementary to run a Cents of Pride store for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Cents of Pride empowers students by rewarding them with Bear Pride Bucks for making positive choices at school such as turning in work on time and positive behavior choices. Additionally, students also earn Bear Pride Bucks through attendance each day at school. Students use these Bear Pride Bucks to purchase items in the Cents of Pride store. The Cents of Pride store will feature a variety of household items, toiletries, food, shoes, clothing, and décor as well as toys, gifts, and larger items such as scooters and bicycles.

Cents of Pride Store at Kirbyville Middle School

$2,000 Gift of Hope, Inc.

This unique program that started at the Forsyth location and has now expanded to Kirbyville and is focused on fulfilling students’ needs through a rewards system. The main goal when starting the program was to reach the older students who were going hungry on the weekend because they were too proud or embarrassed to accept the food distributed through the Gift of Hope Backpack Club. This program also expands in providing essential health, hygiene, activity kits, sports ball, bedding items, school supplies and healthy snacks.

Dental Care

School Based Dental Services

$50,000 Fordland Clinic, Inc.

Fordland’s school-based dental program provides services to students in the Blue Eye and Reeds Spring school districts as well as to the pre-school program in Reeds Spring. Approximately 1,200 children will be offered services. This program specifically targets children who are not seeing a dentist but is offered to all students. The program includes dental screenings, sealants/fluoride treatment, oral health education and recommendations for restorative services.

Dental Equipment for Intensive Treatment

$3,187 Children’s Smile Center

With increasing demand for dental clinic services, Children’s Smile Center continues to see a parallel increase in the need for dental treatment to be accomplished in an ambulatory surgery center under general anesthesia.  With the increase in surgery center cases, it has been more difficult to borrow from one of the clinics to meet surgery center equipment needs due to the increased utilization at all locations. This grant funding will solve the problem by funding the purchase of dedicated equipment and supplies for surgery center cases under general anesthesia, resulting in an overall increase in total dental services provided at all locations serving Stone and Taney County children.

Healthy Lifestyles

Healthy Lifestyles

$40,000 Boys & Girls Club of the Ozarks

Nearly 1 in 5 children in Missouri is obese and children from low-income families have higher obesity rates than their more affluent peers. Up to 86% of Boys & Girls Club of the Ozarks members are considered low-income. The Boys & Girls Club’s Healthy Lifestyles program provides year-round physical activities, nutrition, social recreation, mentoring and mental health support.

Sunny Side – Part 5

$5,000 Branson Hollister Senior Center

Branson Hollister Senior Center wellness offerings improve and extend the health and independence of local seniors through physical activity and fall prevention exercises. Funds from this grant will make it possible for the senior center to continue activities that enrich participants’ lives physically, mentally, and emotionally as a result of staying active in Zumba Gold sessions, yoga classes, chair exercises, and Tai Chi activities.

Mindful Movements

$5,000 Tri-Lakes Special Education Cooperative

The Tri-Lakes Special Education Cooperative program primarily serves children who are between the ages of 3-5 within Stone and Taney counties. In recent years, the co-op has experienced a great need for access to sensory tools that can help meet student needs within the classroom or within their home setting. Extreme sensory needs make it very difficult for children to learn, stay on task, and display appropriate classroom behaviors. If sensory needs are not managed proactively throughout the day, students may not be able to engage or participate to their full ability. The purpose of this grant is to create a “sensory tool kit” that can be checked out or used within a classroom settings to assist students with regulating their sensory needs.

Youth Sports Scholarship Program

$4,900 Branson Parks and Recreation

The Branson Parks and Recreation Department Scholarship Fund was created to encourage and allow access to youth sports and activities to those who otherwise may not have the financial means to participate. To be eligible for a scholarship, the participant must qualify for free or reduced school lunches. Scholarships are accessible to anyone who qualifies, allowing Branson Parks and Recreation to serve the residents of Taney and Stone counties.

Transportation for Summer Program

$4,000 White River Community Development

White River Community Development will support children’s programs in Rockaway Beach next summer by providing transportation for Summers at the Beach, which is for children kindergarten through 6th grade, and Adventure One Sixteen, for students seventh through tenth grade. Both programs are operated by Bridge of Faith Community Church and are open to any children within five miles of Rockaway Beach. Summers at the Beach, which operate four days a week, includes breakfast, lunch and a snack and partners with the Branson School District to offer onsite summer school in the afternoons, making it a full day of program for the children. Adventure One Sixteen offers breakfast and lunch three days a week, and provides leadership training through the Habitudes curriculum with adventure and community service.

Filling the Gaps

$3,827 Taneyville School District

This grant will help Taneyville School District promote and grow their special education program, giving parents and guardians the framework necessary to raise children facing very difficult situations. This grant will also provide emergent funds to families of children with medical or mental health needs beyond what can be provided within city limits.

Helping Hands

$3,000 Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation

The OACAC Helping Hands project is focused on providing assistance for healthy lifestyles, serving income-eligible individuals and households in Stone County. The goals of this project are to: meet the needs of low-income individuals living in Stone County; fund healthcare items not covered by private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare; and improve health and mental wellbeing by alleviating the stress caused by these expenses.

Mental Health

Stone and Taney County School-Based Services

$180,000 Burrell Behavioral Health

Burrell Behavioral Health will continue to provide School Based Services through embedded mental health providers in school settings in Stone and Taney counties. Since December 2019, funding for School Based Services has allowed Burrell to serve approximately 300 youth resulting in more than 6,300 mental health services provided to clients who are uninsured, underinsured or those with unaffordable insurance.

Sound Mind Initiative

$60,000 Faith Community Health

In an effort to address the critical lack of affordable mental health services for low-income, uninsured, and underserved individuals in Stone and Taney counties, Faith Community Health is working to bridge the gap by offering affordable and easily accessible mental health services through a dedicated Licensed Professional Counselor on staff. Over the next 12 months, Faith Community Health expects to impact more than 200 low-income, uninsured or underinsured individuals through the Sound Mind Initiative.  

Code Lavender Cart

$2,500 Cox Medical Center Branson  

When nursing unit staff experience occupational stress while serving patients in Stone and Taney counties, Cox Medical Center Branson seeks to provide emotional and psychological first aid through its Code Lavender Cart program. First piloted by Cleveland Clinic in 2008, the Code Lavender initiative provides evidence-based psychological first aid items to health care professionals. Code Lavender Cart items include snacks for nourishment, personal care supports, and coping tools, all of which support staff’s mental recovery, clarity, and helps them feel calm.     

Substance Use

Marijuana Brief Intervention Program

$38,256 Brook Wellness Center

Through the Marijuana Brief Intervention Program, Brook Wellness Center will provide evidenced-based treatment and education to youth grades 6-12, school educators, counselors, and families in Stone and Taney Counties. Clients will be guided to identify risky use, reduce, and/or abstain from marijuana use. Furthermore, this program will serve as a guide to preparation and action that will reduce risk factors and increase resilience factors in the prevention and use of marijuana.

Housing and Dental Assistance

$20,000 Stone County Judiciary

This grant will provide funds to Stone County Judiciary to serve participants in the Stone and Taney County Adult Treatment Court programs who are in need of sober housing assistance and/or dental services. Individuals with a substance use disorder who are facing felony alcohol or other drug-related charges are potential candidates for admission to the Treatment Court program. Both the Stone and Taney Treatment Court programs have a record of great impact. The Stone County Adult Drug Court is one of only 9 mentor courts across the nation which serve as models for other courts by facilitating peer-to-peer learning and providing examples of effective practices.

Recovery Support Services

$4,850 Brook Wellness Center

Brook Wellness Center provides a peaceful place to encounter spiritual, mental, and physical wellness to overcome substance use disorders. The target population is adults and families in Stone and Taney counties affected by substance use disorders. Services consist of wellness coaching, person-centered planning, individual and group counseling, spiritual counseling, peer-run crisis diversion services, and group education. This funding will allow Brook Wellness to implement systematic changes to reduce substance use disorder in our community. The outcome of this project will allow Brook Wellness to leverage additional funding for this project.

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