The St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation has awarded $26,000 total to four nonprofit Howell County agencies affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic in Howell County, administered by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO).
The Ameren grants focus on agencies providing food and meal programs, transportation, childcare and mental health services related to the pandemic.
In the area served by the Community Foundation of West Plains, the Jacks Fork Community Foundation and the Willow Springs Community Foundation, grants were awarded to Martha Vance Samaritan Outreach Center, which received $3,300 to feed the hungry and homeless in Howell County; $10,000 to West Plains Christian Clinic for medical care and medications for uninsured individuals, and $7,500 to the West Plains Senior Center, which operates the Meals on Wheels program in West Plains, to expand freezer storage to better support the expanded home delivery meal program.
Samaritan Outreach Executive Director Lori Concepcion said the center will use all of the grant to buy food, and it will be enough to buy about six months’ worth for the shelter and food pantry.
"We are so grateful to get that," Concepcion said, noting donations have been down somewhat since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We're keeping people fed, that's what we're in the business of," she reminded.
The Willow Springs School District received $5,200 in support of the Weekend Bear Bags program, which sends food home with students on the weekend to help address food insecurity.
An additional $37,000 was awarded to agencies in Benton, Cape Girardeau, and Gasconade counties, and the Community Foundation of the Lake, the CFO’s affiliate serving the Lake of the Ozarks region, awarded $48,000 to 12 nonprofits.
Ameren has donated a total of $111,000 to the CFO’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to support agencies in the shared service area of Ameren and CFO’s 52 regional affiliates. Ameren employees and its board of directors contributed to its AmerenCares Power of Giving COVID-19 Relief Fund, which also is supporting agencies in Illinois and the St. Louis region.
“This has been a great partnership opportunity with Ameren Corp.,” CFO President Brian Fogle said. “The company put its charitable dollars to work in the communities it serves by using our expertise in managing and granting out these generous resources.”
The grants bring the CFO’s total discretionary grantmaking for COVID-19 response and recovery to $2.06 million since March 2020. Total COVID-related grantmaking by the CFO, including grants from donor-advised and employee benevolence funds, is $3.14 million.
Ameren Corporation provides electric power to 2.4 million customers and natural gas service to more than 900,000 customers in Missouri and Illinois.
The Community Foundation of the Ozarks is a regional public charitable foundation serving 58 counties across central and southern Missouri through a network of donors, nonprofit partners and 52 regional affiliate foundations, including the affiliates in West Plains, Jacks Fork and Willow Springs. The CFO holds assets of $310 million as of June 30, 2020.