The Impacting Poverty Commission (Commission) developed the Call to Action Plan that focused on the following high-level action items:

  • Inventory the various initiatives that operate within Springfield to support families and determine overlaps or gaps in service.
  • Educate the Commission on services open to the community by learning from service providers and Impacting Poverty Collaborative members.
  • Identify root causes and symptoms of poverty.
  • Identify best practices from other communities that address the needs of families with limited resources.
  • Set a vision, measurable goals, and strategies to increase access to resources and services with a focus on:
    • Employment and Job Skill Development for Mid-Level Paying Jobs
    • Early Child Development and Education
    • Effective Transportation
    • Affordable and Quality Child Care
    • Affordable and Safe Housing
    • Quality Foods
    • Healthcare and Healthy Lifestyle Options

The Commission’s Call to Action Report (Report) included action items and endorsements to address immediate needs of the community. The Commission recommended the creation of a collective impact model named Prosper Springfield to follow through on recommendations. The Prosper Springfield initiative focused on a common agenda to inform the public of action item progress. Phase I of the Prosper Springfield focus was to:

  • Educate and update the community on the status of the action items & endorsements.
  • Develop a central communication platform to share resources and learn about status of the action items. 
  • Identify duplication and gaps in resources and services.
  • Develop clearer systematic pathways by changing deficits in systems that impact access and inclusion to programs that address historical inequities to improve lives and the workforce.
Community Partnership of the Ozarks and United Way of the Ozarks serve as the backbone agencies. CPO provides administrative and financial support. UWO provides financial support. 
Community leaders identified underemployment as the common agenda. Reduce underemployment for all major populations in Springfield (i.e. Euro American, African American, Hispanic/Latinx and Asian American) by creating equity goals that address historical iniquities to develop streamlined pathways to job training and employment opportunities. 
  1. Increase retention and on-time graduation rates at OTC and MSU by reducing the educational attainment gap for students of color and Pell Grant eligible students.
  2. Reduce poverty with a focus on closing the racial/ethnic gap for people living at or below the poverty level in Springfield/Greene County.
  3. Increase postsecondary educational attainment with a focus on individuals with no or some college age 25 and older.
Shared Measurements
Examples of Mutually Reinforcing Activities Using Data Driven Approaches 
to Change Inequities in Systems
1. Increase On-Time graduation rates    at OTC and MSU by reducing the educational attainment gap for students of color and Pell Grant eligible students.
  • OTC moved toward self-place eliminating English and Math assessment tests for placement
  • MSU made college more affordable by:
    • Reducing hours needed to complete a bachelor’s degree
    • Expanding equity-focused scholarships
    • Freezing housing rates
    • Lowering the increase in meal prices
    • Providing less expensive textbook options
    • Dropping application fees
  • MSU’s TRiO Program and Bears LEAD has programs to promote retention and on-time graduation
  • MO Job Center has programs to promote certification completion and continuing education and moved their North area office to locate within the Drew Lewis Foundation community center
2. Reduce poverty with a focus on closing the equity gap for individuals of color.
  • Implement and follow through on action items and endorsements from the Call to Action Plan such as the Zone One Blitz and Northwest Project (83% of the action items have been completed).
  • Springfield Public Schools partners with OTC Middle College and the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Professional Studies to provide a pathway for students to graduate from high school with an Associates degree and/or advanced certification.
  • MO Job Center has a series of employability and short-term job training programs that lead to certificate and degree programs in partnership with OTC and MSU.
3. Increase postsecondary educational attainment with a focus on individuals with no or some college age 25 and older.
  • Springfield Project 2025 – Higher Education Attainment workgroup activities focus on students of color and individuals who are Pell Grant eligible.
  • MO Job Center Change 1000 program develops employability skills to enter Springfield top industries.
  • Goodwill Adult High School program helps adult learners complete high school diploma requirements while earning college credits and completing certification programs.
  • Increase outreach and access to resources and services to populations of color and rural area populations.
  • Conduct community wide information presentations to educate the community on the two goals and equity disparities.
  • Launch a community portal for one place for community members to “Get Help” with reliable and sustainable community resources/services or to “Get Informed” about ways the community is redesigning systems with clearer pathways to reach the community goals.

crowd of people at a breakfast meeting Prosper Springfield’s first annual meeting to educate the public on the status of the community’s two goals.

two large graphics of brainstorming session about attainmentThe Commission’s Call to Action Report includes a section devoted to higher educational attainment. This intentional focus closes the racial-equity gap for 6-year graduation rates for students of color. Springfield Project 2025 – Higher Education Attainment Work Group (Project 2025) meets continuously to close the gap. 

Project 2025 established racial/ethnic equity goals to close the educational attainment gap at Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC) and Missouri State University (MSU) that continue to be part of both institution’s long-range plans.

Prosper Springfield and Project 2025 works with members who have backgrounds and experiences that represent private, public and social sectors to develop community wide pathways through a redesigned eco-system. The ecosystem’s focus changes policies and practices that create disadvantages for members of our community to further access and inclusion to higher education attainment.