On Wednesday I got to see one of the Tri-Lakes Area’s truly great annual events.

It was the awarding of grants from the Skaggs Legacy Endowment. These grants, which have totaled $4.3 million in the endowment’s six-year history, focus on improving the health and wellness of Taney and Stone counties. Those grants can be for anything health-related. They might fund a smoking cessation program, or make it possible for more low-income children to get dental care. They might help fund something as big and complicated as a program to combat drug use, or as simple as providing hydration stations (a place where one can fill a water bottle) in a school. Regardless, every dollar is focused on producing a healthier community.

This year, the Legacy Endowment provided $702,722 in grants to 22 different agencies. The larger of these grants will help fund a substance use initiative, nursing student scholarships, mental health services for students, healthcare services for uninsured employees, an EMS simulation program for students, and dental services for students.

Those grants range in size from $30,000 to $175,500. However, there are a number of grants of $5,000 or less that will have a significant impact on the community.

There are grants for a physical therapist to provide fall prevention classes at the Branson-Hollister Senior Center. There is a grant for a school store that provides students with clothes, food, personal hygiene products and more. The smallest grant is $1,800 for CPR kits at the Hurley School District.

For more information about each grant, you can read our story “Skaggs Foundation awards $700k in grants” at bransontrilakesnews.com, or read it in our Nov. 3 print edition.

The Skaggs Foundation, its board of directors, and the Skaggs Legacy Endowment committee all seem to do an outstanding job as caretakers of this grant, providing funds for programs that can have an impact for years to come.

The endowment was established in 2013 when CoxHealth, along with their purchase of Skaggs Regional Medical Center, provided $25 million to help improve the health of this area. The $4.3 million in grants that have been issued since that time have directly benefited thousands of individuals.

I haven’t mentioned any individual names, as much as I’d like to. That’s because there are so many people with the Skaggs Foundation, the foundation board, the grant committee and others who play important roles in the management of this fund and the careful selection of recipients. If I named names, I would definitely leave out some crucial people.

Let’s just say the Skaggs Legacy Endowment and the Skaggs Foundation are doing some great, much-needed work for this area.

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