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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Missouri Municipal League announced this week (Local Government Week) that Springfield’s Give 5 program has won a 2019 Innovation Award in the Extra-Large City category. These awards are given to municipalities to honor great projects happening in communities across Missouri that enhance the quality of life for Missouri cities.
“We are pleased and honored that the Missouri Municipal League has recognized the importance of civic engagement programs,” said Mayor Ken McClure. “Our community benefits from Give 5 graduates who are doing great things.”
The Give 5 program was launched in late 2017 by the City of Springfield as a “civic matchmaking” program and is supported by the City of Springfield, the Greene County Senior Citizens’ Service Fund, and the United Way of the Ozarks, where it is now formally operating.
Give 5 has matched 140 participants with meaningful volunteer opportunities within nonprofits in need of talent and support. Nonprofits were selected in alignment with identified community priorities. The program has the following objectives: connect each program graduate with one or more strategic volunteer opportunities in the community that feeds his/her passion and provides a renewed sense of purpose and meaning (“civic matchmaking”); address social isolation; strengthen the community’s fabric by increasing “bridging” social capital in the community; help program graduates discover the community legacy he/she wants to leave; and re-engineer volunteer opportunities to make them more meaningful.
“The Give 5 program has been underway for more than one year and has been very successful in achieving our program goals,” says Give 5 Executive Director Greg Burris. “We are preparing to graduate our eighth class, and each of these objectives is being achieved to a greater degree as each class graduates and begins volunteering in our community.”
The official award will be presented at the MML Conference scheduled for September in St. Charles.
The program is also drawing attention from other cities across the country. Burris and program co-creator Cora Scott, the City’s director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, have discussed the program in an article featured in MML’s monthly magazine, in a national webinar hosted by the Alliance for Innovation, and in an international podcast hosted by the International City / County Manager’s Association.
“We are thrilled and humbled by the reception Give 5 is receiving nationally,” says Burris. "Realizing the demographic shifts that are occurring in our country and beyond, I believe those communities that are proactive in ‘civic matchmaking’ are going to have a significant competitive advantage over the next 20-30 years.”
Give 5 has recently received additional support from a Senior Mental Health Grant from Community Foundation of the Ozarks and sponsorship by BKD Wealth Advisors.
Participation is free for those living in Greene County who are ages 60 and older. A few spots remain and applications are currently being accepted for Class 9, which meets Thursday, May 16, 23, 30; June 6, 13, 2019; 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. The class will visit nearly two dozen nonprofits over the course of the program. Expect to have fun, make new friends and learn about volunteer opportunities that match your talents, passions and personality, Burris says. Visit sgfgive5.org for more information and to apply.
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For more information, contact Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, at 417-380-3352 or Cscott@springfieldmo.gov, or Greg Burris, Give 5 Executive Director, at 417-425-4653 or GBurris@UWOzarks.com.