Carthage residents will see a push for a healthier lifestyle over then next three years thanks to a $300,000 initiative funded by three different area foundations.

Carthage residents will see a push for a healthier lifestyle over then next three years thanks to a $300,000 initiative funded by three different area foundations.
The Rural Ozarks Health Initiative announced this week that Carthage will be the site of a “collaborative project to reshape the way Carthage addresses the health and fitness of its residents.”
The Missouri Foundation for Health will provide the city with $150,000 over the next three years to fund the project. That money will be matched by $50,000 over the next two years each from the Kent D. and Mary L Steadley Memorial Trust and $75,000 over three years from the McCune-Brooks Regional Hospital Trust.
Heather Collier, with the Carthage Community Foundation, said the final $25,000 will likely come from in-kind donations of time from volunteers.
The Community Foundation will administer the grant.
The McCune-Brooks Trust award is pending final approval by the Carthage City Council, which was to have happened at the regular meeting on Dec. 26, but that meeting was cancelled and the council will next meet at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 9.
According to a written release from the Carthage Community Foundation, the CCF will “seek to lower obesity rates and redesign Carthage into a healthier city through the hiring of a Community Health Coordinator, who will seek to engage school-age children through educational programming, improve local dining and food options and increase opportunities to lead a healthy lifestyle.”
“Carthage Community Foundation was pleased to be able to collaborate with our local health-related partners to bring this important grant to our community,” said CCF Board President Chuck Bryant. “CCF is grateful to Community Foundation of the Ozarks and Missouri Foundation for Health for the opportunity and funding, as well as our local match funders. Working together to redesign Carthage into a healthier city, for our citizens today and generations to come, is an exciting opportunity."
Mercy Carthage Hospital is one of the partners in this project.
Mercy Carthage Administrator Scott Watson said the hospital will provide expertise, especially in the area of nutritian, with the hospital's dietician and some doctors providing assistance when called.
“Educating the young about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, as well as providing new opportunities for healthy eating and movement in Carthage, are the first steps in changing the culture of our community's health,” Watson said.
The CCF said other groups joining the initiative include the Fair Acres Family YMCA, Carthage R-9 School District, Jasper County Health Department and Jasper & Newton County Community Health Collaborative.
A volunteer grant committee selected the proposals based on collaboration among partners; commitment by the community or region to address the identified issue(s); demonstrated need; and ability to sustain the initiative beyond the three-year grant.
“Rural Missouri has consistently shown worse health outcomes and less accessibility to quality healthcare than our urban areas. We are grateful that the Missouri Foundation for Health is partnering with us to help address those disparities,” said CFO President Brian Fogle.

About Missouri Foundation for Health: Missouri Foundation for Health is a resource for the region, working with communities and nonprofits to generate and accelerate positive changes in health. As a catalyst for change, the Foundation improves the health of Missourians through partnership, experience, knowledge, and funding.
About the Community Foundation of the Ozarks: The CFO is a regional public charitable foundation that holds about 3,000 funds for donors, nonprofit partners and 49 affiliate foundations. Founded in 1973, the CFO has made grants and distributions of more $300 million and currently holds assets of more than $283 million as of Sept. 30, 2017.