Crystal Brown got her degree from Truman State University in Fine Arts in Visual Communications.
Now she's looking to put those communications skills to work getting the word out about the Carthage R-9 Foundation, its purposes, goals and accomplishments.

Crystal Brown got her degree from Truman State University in Fine Arts in Visual Communications.
Now she's looking to put those communications skills to work getting the word out about the Carthage R-9 Foundation, its purposes, goals and accomplishments.
“When it comes to the foundation, usually the question I get the most, after congratulations, that's great, is what do you guys actually do,” Brown said. “There are a lot of people who don't have information about the foundation as a whole and basically what I'm trying to do is get information out to people about what the foundation does, how we're supported, who we serve.”
Brown took over this past summer for Amy Grimes, who announced her resignation earlier in 2017.
Grimes stayed on long enough to help Brown get a good start in her new position.

Background
Brown is no stranger to the Carthage school district. Her husband is Kenny Brown, wrestling coach and history teacher at Carthage High School since the couple moved to Carthage in 2002.
Their daughter, Morgan, is a junior at Carthage High School.
In addition to her job as R-9 Foundation Director, Brown works as a free-lance graphic designer and a substitute teacher, usually about one day a week.
Brown said Foundation Board President Beth Simmons encouraged her to interview for the job, and after doing some research, Brown decided she could be successful in it.
“I have a lot of contacts in the community,” Brown said. “Also I have a lot of contacts in the school with my husband being a teacher and a coach. I've always kept in touch with a lot of those people, so a lot of them are long-standing relationships that we've had. That's how it all started and I realized I knew quite a few of the people I'd be working with on the board and everyone was really supportive through the process.”

Informing the public
Grimes said most people in Carthage don't know what the foundation does.
They may be familiar with it from the annual Major Saver card campaign that started this week, or other fundraisers, but most do not know how it works or what it has done for the district.
“One of the things I'm working on is doing a new website that's more interactive,” Brown said. “It's not up and running yet because I'm still waiting on some information and plugging some things in, but our mission statement is to support the teachers and students in our district in ways not covered by the regular school budget.”
The foundation helps the district in many ways, Brown said.
• It helps students with college scholarships from its own money and about 25 different individual scholarship funds. The foundation gives out more than $60,000 in scholarships a year, Grimes said.
“Some of them are endowed, some are memorial scholarships as far as donations by someone wanting to do a memorial for someone who has passed away,” Brown said. “Sometimes it's a co-worker, a family member or a friend of the family. We are basically responsible for putting together the scholarship committees that oversee the scholarship, and also for the scholarship committees that select who actually get the scholarships. Scholarships are one way the foundation works with people, we take those as donations or endowments and basically we're responsible for that money, to make sure that money is used for what it was intended and originally set aside for by the people who donated it.”
• It helps teachers with grants for projects or trips or other educational efforts that can't be funded through the regular district budget.
“If we have a teacher that finds out about a trip they want to take their students on, the first step would be to go to their school administrator and ask if the school has the budget to fund the trip,” Brown said. “If the answer is no, we're tapped out in that particular area, they give the teacher permission to approach the R-9 Foundation. We will either go through our general fund or through another foundation such as the Carthage Community Foundation or the Boylan Foundation or sometimes the Steadley Trust, in order to help secure that funding and get them what they need for that project or trip. So we're kind of a go-between, a conduit, we're definitely a vehicle for them to do that.”
• It helps the district by managing naming rights campaigns for new buildings and facilities that have raised more than $1.5 million since the start of the naming rights program in 2013, according to Superintendent Mark Baker.
The naming rights campaigns involve everything from the $350,000 donation made by former Leggett & Platt CEO David Haffner in return for putting his name on the new football stadium, to donations of a few dollars to buy a brick paver or put a name plate on a locker in the new Tiger Field House.
Naming rights donations paid a significant share of the cost to build the new early childhood center, completed in 2015, Baker said at the last Carthage Board of Education meeting on Monday, Oct. 23.
“The naming rights campaign is very unique,” Brown said. “And it's extremely helpful to a town like Carthage that is so supportive of it's school system and the different businesses and the community as a whole because it gives people the opportunity to do something worthwhile with their money besides scholarships and grants and stuff like that. “It also gives the general public a chance to put their name on something that means something to them.”
Grimes said the new foundation website will be live in the next few weeks.