A local organization which helps combat poverty in area communities has named a former Branson mayor as their new executive director.
The board of directors of Ozark Mountain Country Cares announced, in a press release, former Branson Mayor Edd Akers as the organization’s executive director.
OMC Cares, previously known as the Stone and Taney Counties Poverty Initiative, was founded in 2017 when a group of individuals representing 20 ministries, not-for-profits, schools, healthcare facilities, and governmental agencies began to meet to discuss the plight of residents of Taney and Stone counties who live in poverty.
According to the release, Akers is a native to the Ozarks and has been a public servant all of his adult life. Akers has worked on areas of education, tourism, economic development and advancement, civic organizations, healthcare, spiritual development, charitable causes, and city/county development in the Branson area.
Akers, Branson Mayor from 2019-2021, spent seven decades before being elected as mayor working with different organizations in the area. He has served as chairman of Skaggs Community Hospital, president of the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and chairman for the Taney County Board of Adjustment.
Akers and his wife, Karen, have lived in Branson for over 40 years. Their three grown children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild also live in the Branson area.
Akers will help the OMC Cares and their steering committee identify the needs of the community.
According to the release, over the past few years, a steering committee of community leaders has taken time to conduct focus groups, town hall meetings, go on site visits, and have met together to identify five challenge areas which seem to most impact the area. These needs are: affordable housing, reliable transportation, livable wage jobs, job skills, and motivating a caring community.
OMC Cares has workgroups for each of these identified areas and has volunteers who will help those in to build a more sustainable future for themselves and their families. OMC Cares also has a partnership with Philanthropy Missouri to help connect funders with organizations they want to help support.