Community Engagement

Springfield’s first Nonprofit Impact Report will spotlight sector’s influence

What kind of impact do nonprofit organizations truly have in Springfield? While many would say their influence is indeed large, it’s often hard to quantify. A new report from Drury University’s Center for Nonprofit Communication (CNC) seeks to answer this question.

The Nonprofit Impact Report – the first of its kind to be conducted in our area – contains information on more than 1,500 nonprofit organizations located within Springfield city limits. The data comes from IRS 990 filings, a recent nonprofit salary survey conducted by the CNC, the U.S. Census, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and more. It is the result of 18 months of study.

The report will be released at a news conference at 9 a.m., Wednesday, April 23 at the auditorium in the Hammons School of Architecture building on the Drury campus. The event is open to the public and media are invited to attend. The report’s authors will be available for interviews immediately afterward. Parking is available in lots 1, 7 and 12, though spaces may be limited.

“Although most of the information used to create this report is publicly available, it takes time and expertise to analyze and dissect it all,” says Dan Prater, Director of the CNC at Drury. “The report provides solid data that helps reveal the full magnitude of what nonprofits do in our community – and turns out the impact is huge.”

The 44-page report contains information about the number and percentage of Springfield workers employed in the nonprofit sector, average annual budgets, nonprofit density compared to other metro areas, whether or not services are being duplicated, and exactly how well nonprofits are responding to the “red flag” issues identified in the long-running Community Focus Report. The information is also highly valuable to nonprofits themselves, as they are more and more often asked to provide hard data when seeking grants and donations.

The April 23 news conference will last about one hour and feature a panel of those who worked on the report, including Prater; Dr. Curt Gilstrap, Associate Professor of Communication at Drury; Dr. Sun-Young Park, Assistant Professor of Communication at Drury; and Dr. Sarah Smith, special advisor to the Center for Nonprofit Communication.

“Nonprofits are ultimately a public trust, much like government,” Prater says. “Our investment via donations means the whole community has a stake in what nonprofits do, and a stake in their success or failure. We believe this information will be helpful and insightful for both the nonprofits themselves and the community at large.”

The Nonprofit Impact Report will be made available free to nonprofit organizations and others in attendance at the end of the news conference. The report will be made available online afterward.

For more information, contact: Dan Prater, Director of the Center for Nonprofit Communication, (417) 873-7443; or Mike Brothers, Director of Media Relations, (417) 873-7390.

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Drury’s Humanities Film Series at the Moxie Resumes on Saturday

The Moxie Film Series presented by the Drury University Humanities & Ethics Center will resume Saturday afternoon with a showing of Vittorio De Sica’s influential and thought-provoking “Bicycle Thieves.” The series is made possible with the help of a grant from the Missouri Arts Council. The screens are open to the public. The cost is $7, the regular matinee ticket price.

The partnership between Drury and the nonprofit Moxie Cinema put films that ask enduring questions about the human condition in the spotlight – and adds an open, facilitated discussion to the mix. Before and after each showing, a Drury professor leads a group discussion about the movie’s themes. The pre- and post-film discussions are about 30 minutes each.

“Bicycle Thieves,” released in 1948, is regarded by critics as one of the most influential films of all time, and has won praise from sources as diverse as Entertainment Weekly and the Vatican. Sight & Sound magazine rates it as one of the top ten films ever made, and it is near the top of the British Film Institute’s list of movies young people should see by age 14.

The pre-show discussion for “Bicycle Thieves” begins at 1 p.m., Saturday, March 29, at the Moxie Cinema, 305 S. Campbell Ave. The film is about 90 minutes long. Dr. Kevin Henderson, assistant professor of English, will lead the discussions.

The 1 p.m. start time remains the same for the final two movies in the series as well:

Saturday, April 5 – “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring” (2003), directed by Ki-Duk Kim. Dr. Hue-Ping Chin, professor of history, will lead the discussions.

Saturday, April 12 – “Good Hair” (2009), produced by Chris Rock. Dr. Elizabeth Nichols, professor of Spanish, will lead the discussions.

For more information about the series and featured films, visit the series web page.

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Student Group Continues its Work with Art Inspired

Drury Enactus, formerly known as SIFE, has been hard at work this year expanding the business they helped develop three years ago, Art Inspired. In collaboration with Abilities First, Art Inspired was created to offer meaningful employment to people with developmental disabilities.

Officially launched in August 2012, Art Inspired has grown and transformed in the short time it has been open. It started as a document disposal agency that converts recycled paper into artwork. Some of the products available for sale include frames, stationary, decorative letters, wine racks, and even furniture. 

Each year, Drury Enactus works with Art Inspired to help broaden its appeal and revenue. The business now includes an art gallery, art classes, and a “creation” station where customers can use the store’s paper and supplies to decorate their purchased product at a cost of $5 an hour.

Matt Hill, en employee at Art Inspired, makes a mold for a candle holder. He's using material make from shredded paper.

Matt Hill, an employee at Art Inspired, makes a mold for a candle holder using material made from shredded paper.

This year, Drury Enactus has worked with Central High School’s Special Education Department to develop an internship program at Art Inspired. Now included in their curriculum, students in one of Central’s Special Education classes travel to Art Inspired twice a week to learn about customer service and job shadow some of the current employees.

“This is a great opportunity for the students to get real-world experience,” says Drury Enactus member Emma Wheat. “They go through the job application process, learn about work place etiquette, and gain skills to put on their resume.”

Drury Enactus is also working with Art Inspired to expand its event space rentals. For $100 an hour, people can rent out the space for up to four hours. Art Inspired can also coordinate the rental of chairs, tables, sound systems, food, and other services for an additional charge. It can hold 150 people seated or 250 standing.

This versatile space has already been used for a networking event with the Chamber of Commerce, wedding receptions, office and social events, and art exhibits. The artwork of Edward Deeds, an Ozark man who spent most of his life in a mental hospital in Nevada, Mo., was revealed at a gala event during March’s First Friday Art Walk and is currently displayed at Art Inspired.

Without help from the Springfield community, none of these endeavors would have been possible, says Dr. John Taylor, faculty advisor of Drury Enactus.

“The core mission of Art Inspired is to serve as an employment and growth opportunity for individuals with special needs,” Taylor says. “Everything the Enactus team does in its partnership with Art Inspired serves that mission. In order for the business to fulfill its mission, we need the support of the community. Their patronage is key to the success of the store.”

The Drury team will present their work and compete at the 2014 Enactus National Exposition April 1-3. For more information about Art Inspired, visit its website or Facebook page, or the store location at 310 S. Campbell Ave.

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Story by Kaleigh Jurgensmeyer, English and Writing major at Drury.  A version of this story originally ran in the Springfield News-Leader. 

Area Businesswomen Honored at Annual Entrepreneurship Event

Two outstanding women business owners were honored today at the 6th Annual Women in Entrepreneurship Symposium. Winners were announced the conference’s closing luncheon.

Hurts Donut Co., co-owned by Kas Clegg, was chosen as the Woman-Owned Start-Up of the Year. Clegg co-owns the business with her husband, Tim. Located at 301 Park Central West, the shop opened in November and builds on recent boutique pastry trends.

Other nominees included: Fleur (Lisa Clary & Kim Wood); Behavioral Learning Center, LLC (Ginger Crabtree); School of Rock (Jennifer Jester); and Bodacious Cases, LLC (Arianna Russell).

Jennifer Wilson, founder and principle architect at nForm Architecture, was chosen Woman Entrepreneur of the Year. Exceptional client service and environmentally responsible design are the cornerstones of the firm, which opened in 2007 and is located in downtown Springfield. Jennifer is a native of Springfield. She obtained her architecture degree from the University of Arkansas. She is licensed in Missouri and is a LEED-AP.

Other nominees included: Deborah Bellotti & Candice Carson (The Buzz restaurant) and Jennifer Choi (Rose Diamonds Custom Design & Repair).

To qualify for an award, a woman must own at least 50 percent of a business and operate within 30 miles of Springfield. The Woman Entrepreneur of the Year nominees must have been in business for at least five years, and the Woman-Owned Start-Up of the Year nominees should have been in business for less than two years.

“We’re thrilled to highlight all of our nominees and show that women in our area have a strong and successful entrepreneurial spirit,” said Dr. Kelley Still, director of Drury’s Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, or EJC.

The EJC hosts WES in order to provide women entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn about the various aspects of owning a business, network with other entrepreneurs and visit with a wide range of exhibitors. This year more than 150 people attended the half-day symposium.

Six faculty members earn award for community engagement

Springfield, Mo., Aug. 16, 2012 – Six Drury faculty members earned the inaugural President’s Award of Excellence for Community Engagement.

Architecture Professors Nancy Chikaraishi, Keith Hedges, and Traci Sooter, Adjunct Architecture Instructor Rufus Louderback, Psychology Professor Dr. Jennifer Silva Brown, and Communication Professor Dr. Regina Waters were recognized for dedicating countless hours of service to help Joplin rebuild in the aftermath of the May 22, 2011 tornado and for engaging the larger Drury community in meaningful service.

(L to R) Keith Hedges, Jennifer Silva Brown, Traci Sooter, Nancy Chikaraishi, Regina Waters, Rufus Louderback.

In the fall of 2011, Drury students, led by the architecture faculty, designed and built a volunteer tribute at Cunningham Park in Joplin in just one week. The park had been destroyed by the May 22, 2011 tornado. As part of that project, Waters’ communication class organized a “Smart Mob” of more than 100 members of the Drury community who converged on Joplin in one day to help meet the construction deadline.

Dr. Silva Brown and several behavioral science undergraduates conducted research on tornado victims in the fall of 2011 that focused on the victims’ mental health post-disaster and effective coping skills. In 2012, Silva Brown partnered with the architecture department to complete a longitudinal study of those same victims.

Drury faculty, staff, alumni and students recorded a combined 13,463 hours of service to Joplin projects.

The award reads, in part, “…this greatly deserved recognition is for much more than an impressive quantity of service hours; for in their response to the disaster in Joplin, these individuals truly embodied the Drury mission and vision.  Through their commitment to community engagement and service-learning, they provided our students with educational opportunities that ‘foster the integration of theoretical and practical knowledge, that liberates persons to participate responsibly in and contribute to life in a global community, and that educates students to become engaged, ethical, and compassionate citizens for servant leadership in communities characterized by change, complexity and global interdependence.’”

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