Community Engagement

Drury study reveals impact of volunteers in the Springfield area

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 16, 2016 — Drury University’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership will unveil the results of a new study examining volunteerism in the Springfield area during a news conference at 9 a.m., Tuesday, June 21 at Reed Auditorium in the Trustee Science Center.

The study provides an in-depth look at volunteers in Greene and Christian counties, their service, and how they help organizations accomplish their missions. The 30-page report highlights trends in volunteerism, motives for giving time, and how organizations manage volunteers. One major finding: formal volunteerism (service documented by area nonprofits and institutions) has an economic impact of almost $45 million per year in the two counties.

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 1.38.01 PM

 

The study is a follow-up to the Center’s 2014 Nonprofit Impact Report, the first such report ever conducted in Springfield. The Impact Report revealed the sweeping scope of nonprofits in the area, including the fact that about half of all private employees in Springfield work for a nonprofit of some kind.

“Notably absent from our 2014 Impact Report was any significant data on volunteers and how their work supports nonprofits,” says Dan Prater, Director of Center for Nonprofit Leadership. “The new study gives us valuable insight into what is essentially the lifeblood of the nonprofit sector – and it provides clues as to how volunteerism can be strengthened and amplified in our community.”

The study was conducted over a period of two years and tracks a wide spectrum of formal volunteerism, from small organizations that exist almost solely as volunteer endeavors to large organizations such as hospitals that rely on platoons of volunteers for small but crucial tasks. It breaks down volunteerism data by ZIP codes, age, race, gender, education level, and income as well as the number of hours given and types of causes each group is most likely to gravitate toward. This information could help local nonprofits identify ways to better engage different constituencies such as minority groups, millennials or low-income families.

Hard copies of the report will be made available at the news conference. For information on the Center, go to www.drury.edu/nonprofit.

###

Media Contact: Dan Prater, Director of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership: (417) 873-7443 or dprater@drury.edu.

Q&A: How the Northwest Project will benefit Springfield & Drury

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks announced Tuesday that a five-year grant for up to $1.3 million to address poverty in northwest Springfield will be awarded to a partnership led by Drury University, Missouri State University, and the Drew Lewis Foundation. The goal of The Northwest Project is to pilot strategies over a five-year period to help families overcome the challenges that have kept them living in poverty and sustain their long-term success in emerging from those circumstances.

Drury faculty and staff are excited by the possibilities for truly meaningful community engagement in the coming years. We asked Dan Prater, executive director of Drury’s Center for Nonproft Leadership, and Ryan Gipson, director of Drury’s Office of Community Outreach and Leadership Development, to tell us more about DU’s role in this major initiative.

 

What is the Northwest Project in a nutshell?

Dan Prater: It’s a large-scale effort to move people out of poverty and into a stronger, more sustainable life. This is in response to decades of seeing groups working on poverty, but with very little change in the poverty rate in our region.

The CFO put out requests for proposals from local organizations that worked collectively to create a systematic process for assisting families. The MSU/Fairbanks/Drury alliance was the winning group. This project differs from previous efforts in that all participating agencies will be required to work in unison with other helping agencies, using consistent forms, and communicating with one another.

The Northwest Project is modeled after a program in Jacksonville, Florida called “1,000 in 1,000.” That project was a collective effort of area nonprofits and civic organizations that moved 1,000 people out of poverty in 1,000 days.

What role will Drury and the Center for Nonprofit Leadership play in the project?

Prater: The Center for Nonprofit Leadership will work side-by-side with Missouri State University’s Center for Community Engagement to provide all evaluation and assessment for the project.

The Drury CNL and MSU CEC team will conduct quantitative and qualitative analysis, providing to funders and participating agencies important information on the families’ progress or lack thereof. This will help explain the factors that caused some individuals/families to succeed, and what caused some to fail. This critical information will help shape future program delivery, giving nonprofit and civic leaders primary evidence regarding their services.

How will the community benefit from Drury’s involvement?

Ryan Gipson: Drury will also be using new community service tracking and marketing software as part of this grant. This will allow us to direct Drury students, faculty, and staff to service opportunities being held by the agencies involved in the grant. But the truly exciting part is that it will also allow us to market those opportunities to the Springfield community as a whole. Anyone in Springfield can log onto the general website, see any service opportunities available, and RSVP to volunteer.

We want to see this tool used across the entire Springfield community so that nonprofit agencies in the area can reach more people who want to volunteer.

What kinds of opportunities will Drury students have to be involved in the project?

Gipson: During the next five years, we will be directing nearly one-third of the service hours that students log through the Community Outreach and Leadership Development Office to nonprofit agencies that are participating in the Northwest Project grant. The grant also allows us to increase our VITA Tax Clinic capacity to help more families.

Anytime agencies have a need for volunteers, we will ensure it is marketed to Drury students. The Community Outreach and Leadership Development office will also plan special large-scale events with focuses in the Northwest area. We will encourage students to use the skills they’ve gained in the classroom to help in specialized areas of need such as architecture students assisting with the Habitat for Humanity projects that are part of the grant, to name just one possible example.

What are your hopes for the impact the project will have on our community? 

Prater: We hope this project will have a clear, lasting impact on people in poverty. By providing people with the tools and resources they need, we hope to see immediate and long-term outcomes. Helping people with immediate needs can help them prepare for the future. The ripple effect will be felt by their entire family, and possibly for generations to come.

Drury among partners selected for $1.3 million Northwest Project grant

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks announced today that a five-year grant for up to $1.3 million to address poverty in northwest Springfield will be awarded to a partnership led by Missouri State University, the Drew Lewis Foundation and Drury University.

The partnership was selected by a volunteer grant committee through a competitive process that began last fall. Major funding for the grant is being provided by the CFO, the Stanley and Elaine Ball Foundation managed by Central Trust and The Musgrave Foundation.

The goal of The Northwest Project is to pilot strategies over a five-year period to help families overcome the challenges that have kept them living in poverty and sustain their long-term success in emerging from those circumstances. The MSU/Drew Lewis/Drury partnership was selected for its vision of using a model that couples family support with neighborhood development and sustainability. This community-driven development model will work to bridge the gaps between people and resources through both case management services and a teamwork approach where program participants will be expected to support each other.

A strong consideration in awarding the grant is the proposed comprehensive evaluation process, which will be coordinated jointly by MSU’s Center for Community Engagement and Drury’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership. In addition, Drury’s Community Outreach and Leadership Development Office will manage a centralized, online volunteer service to coordinate participant needs and reduce overlap of services.

The CFO encouraged grant applicants to consider a model used in Jacksonville, Florida’s “1,000 in 1,000” project, which has demonstrated success in reducing poverty by emphasizing “pivotal assets” that boost families’ opportunities for success. Examples of these include financial literacy, parenting skills, reliable transportation, affordable housing, quality childcare and others.

The MSU/Drew Lewis/Drury partnership also includes a number of community agencies that will provide resources related to these pivotal assets. These partners are: Ozarks Technical Community College, MU Extension, the City of Springfield, Consumer Credit Counseling, Springfield Community Gardens, Springfield Public Schools, Life 360 Family Services, Habitat for Humanity, Boys and Girls Club, Great Circle-Parenting Life Skills Center, Hand in Hand Multicultural Center, Care to Learn, Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association, Ozarks Regional YMCA and Schweitzer United Methodist Church Jobs for Life Program.

The first step for The Northwest Project will be informational meetings this spring to recruit and evaluate the first group of eligible families. For more information about the background of The Northwest Project, visit: www.cfozarks.org/northwest.

Sugar Rush event to benefit Harmony House and Watching over Whiskers

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 4, 2016 — Drury University’s Sigma Pi chapter, along with The Cake Pop Company, are proud to announce the return of Sugar Rush, a dessert sampling charity event. Sugar Rush will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, at the O’Reilly Family Event Center at Drury University.

All proceeds will benefit Harmony House, one of the state’s largest shelters and resource centers for domestic violence victims and their families, and Watching Over Whiskers, a local animal rescue and support fund.

Guests will sample tasty treats from some of the best in the Ozarks including Aviary Cafe, Blue Bell Creameries, Brick & Mortar Coffee, Cake Pop Co., Chick-Fil-A, Daylight Donuts, Golden Corral, Grammy K’s Sweet Creations, Heroes Coffee, June’s Cakery, Kilwins Branson, Neighbor’s Mill Bakery & Cafe, Simply Delicious Catering, Tea Bar & Bites, and Uncommon Confections.

Sugar Rush was held in 2010 and 2011 but was left without a hosting committee until Drury Sigma Pi members stepped in to resurrect the concept earlier this year. “Witnessing the enormous impact Sugar Rush has had in the past for both the businesses and nonprofits involved, we’ve spent the last few months reinventing the original idea while finding opportunities to innovate in an effort to create the best experience possible,” says Kent Otto, Drury’s Sigma Pi chapter director.

Student organizers have “been able to gain invaluable real-world experience by organizing an event of this magnitude,” says student Elias Jardell.

General admission tickets are $15 if purchased in advance at sgfSugarRush.com and $20 at the door. Student tickets are $10 and kids 8 and under are free.

###

Media Contact: Kent Otto, Drury Sigma Pi Chapter Director: (417) 459-6589 or kent@sgfsugarrush.com.

Humanities & Arts Film Series returns to the Moxie Cinema in April 

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 29, 2016 — Drury University’s Humanities & Ethics Center continues its partnership with the Moxie Cinema in downtown Springfield with three upcoming screenings. Drury professors will host the screenings and lead discussions about the films. The Drury Humanities & Arts Film Series is made possible by a grant from the Missouri Humanities Council.

The spring series begins on Saturday, April 2 at 1 p.m. with the film, Chinatown. Dr. Kevin Henderson, assistant dean of the humanities and social sciences, will host the screening by giving a short talk and leading a discussion with the audience. The themes will include the film’s now iconic status, the questions it poses for the humanities, and the lingering power of film noir in American culture. Thanks to the grant from the Missouri Humanities Council, tickets are half-price ($5).

Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway star in Chinatown.

Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway star in Chinatown.

Next in the series is the film The Iron Giant, hosted by Steve Carpenter, assistant professor of art/communication, which will screen on Saturday, April 16 at 1 p.m. Tickets will be free for this showing.

The third and final film is Burnt By the Sun, hosted by Dr. Ray Patton, assistant professor of history. This film will screen on Saturday, April 30 at 1 p.m. Tickets for this event will be half-price ($5).

The Moxie is the region’s only independently owned arts cinema and is located at 305 S. Campbell Ave. Parking in the adjacent parking garage is free of charge.

For more information about these films or this series, which is part of Drury’s Humanities and Ethics Center series, visit Drury’s Humanities blog Human, All Too Human, or www.moxiecinema.com.

###

Media Contact: Kevin Henderson; Director, Humanities and Arts Film Series: (417) 873-7426 or khenders@drury.edu.

Student-led start-ups help The Fairbanks improve Grant Beach

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., March 28, 2016 — The Fairbanks is now partnering with the Drury University Enactus team to address a number of pressing issues such as food insecurity, transportation needs and employment opportunities in the Grant Beach Neighborhood.

Through this partnership with Drury’s student entrepreneurship team, The Fairbanks is launching innovative projects such as a locally sourced healthy food subscription service, a bike rental shop and even a worm farm. These projects expand access to healthy food, transportation, and job opportunities for residents of the Grant Beach Neighborhood.

The list of projects includes:

Grocery Store – The grocery store at The Fairbanks creates a food source in the Grant Beach Neighborhood, which directly addresses food insecurities in one of the largest food deserts in Springfield. This store will provide Grant Beach residents with fresh produce, food essentials and other necessities at an affordable cost.

Bike Rental Shop – The Fairbanks bike rental shop offers affordable means of transportation to residents of the Grant Beach Neighborhood. Area residents who lack transportation are now able to rent bicycles at an affordable rate of $2 per hour.

Rental bikes ready for use hang in the bike shop at The Fairbanks.

Rental bikes ready for use hang in the bike shop at The Fairbanks.

Worm & Mushroom Farms – The Fairbanks has launched mushroom and fertilizer businesses to generate revenue and create jobs for residents in Grant Beach. Currently, The Fairbanks grows, harvests and sells portobello and oyster mushrooms to local restaurants and Springfield residents. The Fairbanks is also home to approximately 1,000 worms. These worms aid in composting waste and produce nutrient-rich soil. The nutrient fertilizer and worm tea will be sold to local community gardens and home gardeners in Springfield. The maintenance of both the mushrooms and worms will provide employment opportunities to those in the Grant Beach neighborhood.

Members of Drury’s Enactus Team separate worms from compost in the “worm farm” located in the basement of The Fairbanks.

Members of Drury’s Enactus Team separate worms from compost in the “worm farm” located in the basement of The Fairbanks.

Healthy Food Subscription Service – The Nourished Neighbors project at The Fairbanks provides Grant Beach residents with fresh, healthy and affordable food from local farmers through a food subscription service. Nourished Neighbors packages and delivers meals purchased by subscribers throughout the Springfield area at a premium price. The proceeds from meals purchased at a premium price allows Nourished Neighbors to sell subscription meals at a reduced price to residents of the Grant Beach Neighborhood.

 

About The Fairbanks

Launched in 2013, The Fairbanks aims to build a center for community betterment initiatives in the Grant Beach Neighborhood. The Fairbanks addresses community needs through collaborative partnerships with organizations that positively influence residents’ needs. Its goal is to benefit kids and adults from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds through social, physical and educational activities. Ultimately, it hopes to improve quality of life in the Grant Beach Neighborhood and make Springfield a better place to live. For more information, visit thefairbankssgf.com.

About Drury’s Enactus Team

Since 1997, Drury Enactus has empowered communities throughout the world facing economic, environmental and social barriers by implementing entrepreneurial, sustainable programs. These programs have had a meaningful impact on thousands of people in Springfield, throughout the United States, and on virtually every continent around the globe.

Attached images: Members of Drury’s Enactus Team separate worms from compost in the “worm farm” located in the basement of The Fairbanks. / Rental bikes ready for use hang in the bike shop at The Fairbanks.

###

Media Contact: Dr. John Taylor, Director, Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship: (417) 873-6356 or jtaylor03@drury.edu.

Architecture students help envision future of Kitchen Inc. campus

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Feb. 11, 2016 — The Hammons School of Architecture’s Center for Community Studies (CCS) will lead a visioning exercise this weekend that could help define the future of 3.5 acres of land on Commercial Street currently owned by The Kitchen, Inc.

Students and faculty from the CCS will lead a design charrette to help stakeholders envision conceptual ideas for the renewal of the site. This intensive workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 13 at the Savoy Ballroom, 224 E. Commercial St.

The workshop is open to the public. Partners and stakeholders who will be represented include The Kitchen Inc., the Commercial Club, the Landmarks Board, City of Springfield Planning and Development, and the University of Missouri-Extension. This workshop will lead to further study by Drury architecture students, who will present design possibilities to stakeholders in the coming months.

The Missouri Hotel is the anchor of the redevelopment study. The landmark was designed by local architects Heckenlively & Mark, and originally opened as the Greene Tavern Hotel in April 1930. In addition to the Missouri Hotel, there are seven other buildings on the campus property. With The Kitchen Inc.’s decision to sell its Commercial Street properties and relocate, this section of Commercial Street is now on the market. The property extends from Benton to Jefferson along Commercial Street and south along Jefferson Avenue for a block and a half.

“As the east gateway to the Commercial Street area, this complex of buildings and buildable spaces occupies an important location for the C-Street District and the Springfield community,” says Jay Garrott, professor of architecture and director of the CCS. “The redevelopment of this property represents a potential physical, economic and emotional tipping point for C-Street and all of Midtown. Our goal is to help illuminate the possibilities for both the community and for developers.”

Design Charrette Schedule

10 a.m. – Orientation and tour of the Missouri Hotel and Kitchen Inc. campus

11 a.m.-2 p.m. – Charrette teams work on proposals

2 p.m. – Discussion of ideas with reviewers and larger group

About the Center for Community Studies

The Center for Community Studies is the interdisciplinary research and academic outreach component of the Hammons School of Architecture. The mission of the center is to assist the regional community in exploring and promoting innovative planning, design and development practices that respond to the challenges of our contemporary and future society and foster a healthier and sustainable habitat for our global community. The Center has worked with more than 60 communities across the region over the last 15 years. Visioning projects inside the City of Springfield have included the West Central Neighborhood Route 66 corridor and a center city housing study.

###

Media Contacts: Jay G. Garrott, Professor of Architecture: (417) 873-7371 or (417) 818-8289; or Jeff Barber, MU Extension: (417) 343-5682.

Drury criminology program is helping at-risk veterans

Alumni, faculty and students in Drury University’s criminology program are helping turn around the lives of at-risk veterans thanks to an innovative court program.

The Veterans Treatment Court in the 39th Judicial Circuit (Barry, Lawrence and Stone counties) provides substance abuse and mental health-related treatment services for veterans who have been arrested for felonies. The idea is to “wrap” services around them and help them with heavy supervision in lieu of prison time. Drug courts have been around for decades, but courts for specialized populations like veterans are a newer concept.

“We focus on high-risk, high-need offenders,” says Shawn Billings, treatment court administrator for the 39th Circuit. “The only real difference is they’re veterans.”

Billings, an alumnus and current adjunct instructor, wrote a proposal to secure a three-year federal grant worth $800,000 with help from professors Vickie Luttrell and Jana Bufkin of the Behavioral Sciences Department. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the grant through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The team works closely with the Veterans Administration (VA) for service referrals.

Shawn Billings, left, and Shae Dunaway, discuss cases during a staff session of the Veterans Treatment Court. (CREDIT: Aaron J. Scott)

Shawn Billings, left, and Shae Dunaway, discuss cases during a staff session of the Veterans Treatment Court. (CREDIT: Aaron J. Scott)

“It’s a combination of a mental health court with a drug and DWI court, with the addition of a team partner in the VA,” says Judge Scott Sifferman, who oversees the docket.

Veterans often bear “invisible scars” from their service, Sifferman says, which can lead to PSTD, family strife, addiction and even homelessness. That’s why a specialized focus on this population is helpful, he says.

It’s already making an impact.

“I totally have a different outlook on life – a more positive outlook, for sure,” says Cory Dodson, a 31-year-old Army veteran who was arrested for possession of a controlled substance about a year ago.

Cory Dodson

Cory Dodson

Dodson served in Iraq in the early 2000s and says he was addicted to opiates for years after leaving the service. He credits the Veterans Treatment Court and his wife for getting his life back on track.

“Within 90 days of being in the program and being off drugs, we managed to put the money together to buy our first home,” says Dodson, also a father of five girls. “It’s been a 180. I feel like I have so much to live for now.”

Junior criminology major Shae Dunaway is the program coordinator. The full-time job provides her real-world experience in the criminal justice system before graduation. She says she wants to help remove stigmas associated with offenders who are turning their lives around. She points to participants such as Dodson as an example of someone who is helping himself with the support of others.

“The transformation is incredible and they are worth every bit of the time and money we put into them,” she says.

The 39th Circuit Veterans Treatment Court team.

The 39th Circuit Veterans Treatment Court team.

Billings says Drury’s focus on relationship building is a natural fit for criminologists who want to use the justice system to improve lives.

“Drury centers on people; that’s important,” he says. “That’s basically what I’ve based my career on for the last 20 years – serving people.”

###

By Mike Brothers, director of media relations. A version of this story originally appeared in the Springfield News-Leader.

Students to launch community garden project for Make A Difference Day

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Oct. 22, 2015 — Drury University students will launch a new partnership with Springfield Community Gardens on Saturday during Make A Difference Day, the country’s largest nationally recognized day of service. DU students will also take part in a three other projects that day as they join millions around America in lending a helping hand to improve the lives of others.

The students will work to transform a greenhouse at Trustee Science Center into a space where Springfield Community Gardens can grow produce. They will also participate in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, assist with maintenance projects at Boyd Elementary School and organize donations at Sammy’s Window, which provides food, clothing and personal care items for foster families.

At Drury, Make a Difference Day is called the President’s Day of Service in order to honor President David Manuel and First Lady Betty Coe Manuel’s dedication to community engagement. The Manuels will be working alongside Drury students Saturday at Boyd Elementary.

The best times to catch students in action and get interviews will be from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Trustee Science Center greenhouse. Students will be turning soil and compost, potting plants and prepping the greenhouse and surrounding grounds for use as a community garden. The shared space will be used by Springfield Community Gardens to engage and enrich the Midtown neighborhood. It will also serve as a teaching space where students from area schools can come and learn about sustainable farming practices and how their food is produced. Trustee Science Center is located on Drury Lane just north of Chestnut Expressway.

Details on the other events:

  • Students will join Betty Coe Manuel in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk starting at 8 a.m. outside of Hammons Field downtown.
  • The Manuels and student volunteers will join with members of the Boyd PTA and Midtown Neighborhood Association for cleanup, organization and maintenance projects from 10 a.m. to noon at Boyd Elementary School, located at 1409 N. Washington Ave.
  • Student volunteers will be at Sammy’s Window, 1774 S. Grant Ave., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The students are supporting Sammy’s Window as part of this year’s All Collegiate Service Project.

“Being a part of the largest national day of service is exciting and the students truly enjoy opportunities to engage in the Springfield community,” says Courtney Swan, director of Drury’s Office of Community Outreach and Leadership Development. “The chance to serve alongside President and Mrs. Manuel makes the experience all the more meaningful.”

Media Contact: Ryan Gipson, Volunteer Services Coordinator. Cell: (417) 229-1451; email: rgipson@drury.edu.

###

Drury professor named Springfield Regional Opera music director

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 25, 2015 — Dr. Christopher Koch has been appointed Music Director of the Springfield Regional Opera.

Koch is an associate professor of music and director of the Orchestra and Wind Symphony at Drury. As music director of the Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra, Koch is a longtime champion of orchestral music and the arts throughout southwest Missouri. The nationally recognized SDCO has been the area’s regional community orchestra for more than a decade.

Koch mug

“We’re delighted Dr. Koch is joining our organization, and this is just the first step in an exciting restructure and revitalization of the SRO,” says Cindy Curtis, president of the organization’s board of directors.

Koch will continue his work at Drury and with the SDCO as he assumes new duties with the Opera.

The Springfield Regional Opera will collaborate with Springfield-Drury Civic Orchestra in a gala Evening at the Opera to be held at Drury’s Clara Thompson Hall at on Saturday, October 3. The event will celebrate the SRO’s 35th season and will feature many of the company’s past and present stars, both local and international.

###

Media Contact: Dr. Christopher Koch, Associate Professor of Music: (417) 873-7298 or ckoch@drury.edu.