May 7, 2015 Meeting

Meeting Agenda – May 7, 2015   3:30-5:00

Location: CFO


Welcome – Gail Smart

Approval of 4-2-15 Meeting Minutes

Update on Poverty Simulations

Community Survey Results – Mike Stout  

Use of Infographics – Cora Scott

Connect the Dots Proposal – Gail Smart



Gail Smart, City Center Christian Outreach

Nate Bibens, The Network

Cheryl Clay, NAACP Board of Directors

Rob Fulp, Springfield First Community Bank

John Horton, Rotary Clubs of Springfield

Sandy Howard, Springfield Chamber of Commerce

David Jayne, Central Assembly of God

Chris Jones, City Utilities

Mary Kromrey, Healthy Living Alliance

Christian Mechlin, Springfield Public Schools

Morey Mechlin, Care to Learn

Marty Moore, Springfield Public Schools

Mary Ann Rojas, City of Springfield

Carl Rosenkranz, OACAC

Winter Skelton, CFO

Dr. Mike Stout, Missouri State University

Mark Struckhoff, Council of Churches

Asher Allman, Center for Community Engagement

Emily Kiehne, City for Community Engagement


Jennifer Olson, OACAC

Larry Petersen, Habitat for Humanity


Janet Dankert, CPO

Trent Sims, CPO

Myra Massey, CPO

Welcome & Approval of April 2 2015 Minutes

Gail Smart welcomed members to the meeting and thanked them for attending. She called their attention to the minutes from the April 2, 2015 meeting and asked if there were any corrections or revisions. There being none, she called for a motion to accept the minutes as presented.

ACTION: Winter Skelton made a motion to accept the April 2, 2015 minutes as presented. Marty Moore seconded the motion; motion carried.

Update on Poverty Simulations

Carl Rosenkranz reviewed the status of the poverty simulations. Four simulations are upcoming, one of which is a result of the Commission’s efforts, on July 14th with Greene County COAD.   Council of Churches is working with several area churches to combine their groups into a simulation. SPS hosted a simulation May 5th and will soon be planning another. A suggestion was made to connect with individuals who have taken part in a simulation, asking them to talk about the impact the experiment had on them. Another suggestion was to have the business community challenge local churches. A complete report was provided in the meeting packet.

Inventory of Local Resources

Trent Sims reviewed local resource guides and found that, although there are many agencies in the area, the resource guides do not have adequate descriptions of the services provided, nor of the requirements to access the assistance. Trent created an access survey that went out to approximately 200 resources, and 20 were returned. His purpose is to create a spreadsheet with needs, income requirements, etc. to determine where the resource gaps are. He plans to include the training and educational benefits of MO Career Center and other workforce training programs, as well. The MO Career Center is drafting a workforce resource guide, and Mary Ann said she would work with Trent on the project.

Community Survey Results

The results for the community survey have been compiled; Mike emphasized, however, that this is not a random sample as it was not systematically collected and instructions were not always followed. The responses came from about 15 zip codes, but the majority of respondents lived in 3.

The average age of respondents was slightly over 41 years old, about 3.5 people per home, with an average monthly income of $858.32. The majority of the respondents were female with a high school diploma or GED, 69% were unemployed, and 76% were renters. 41% were single, but only12% reported being homeless in the past 6 months. The top 4 health barriers were stress, not enough food to feed their families, depression/mental health issues, and access to health care. The top 4 economic barriers were the need for rent or utility assistance, rising cost of living, bad credit or no credit, and lack of reliable transportation and affordable or no cost family activities tied at fourth. Little or no family support ranked highest at 34% in family conditions, with a large number of dependent family members close behind, finding affordable quality childcare was third, and 17% of the families reported having family members in prison.

The high number of families reporting family members in prison generated additional discussion. Mike suggested that the number was probably higher than average because of the population surveyed. According to the City heat maps, poverty and crime overlap, and most completed surveys came from those high poverty areas. These families are also struggling because felons have a difficult time finding jobs. Most job applications have a check box asking if the applicant has had a felony conviction, and those applications are quickly rejected. A movement, “Ban the Box”, is underway to remove that question, and several states have passed a law to that affect. Cheryl Clay said the local NAACP chapter has received permission from City Council to present to the Community Engagement Committee for the City of Springfield to discuss this issue.

The data can be broken down in various ways; however, it appears that the survey echoes and supports what IPC has been hearing. Mike was asked to break down the statistics relative to zip codes, breakdown the overall top 5, and top 5 by employment. Please contact Mike with additional requests.

(Additional information from Mike was sent to the Commission members Thursday, May 14th.)

Janet committed CPO to reach out to the individuals who indicated they would be interested in serving on a focus group. Contact Janet if you are interested in assisting to craft questions for the focus groups. Feedback from the City’s “Community Listens” initiative will be shared as well.

Group Discussions

Commission members were asked to divide into four groups to discuss “Connect the Dots” proposal for 20 minutes, after which each small group shared its discussion with the others.

Part A

Group I:         

Less time would be required to engage leadership and media

  • Needs to be action oriented
  • Assign responsibility to participants


  • No more meetings
  • Need to engage business community
  • What are tangibles?
  • Select goals, narrow focus, 2-3 issues
  • Take action


Group II:

  • Focus on an area
  • Customize action to specific sectors


Group III:

  • Start committing to action
  • We have internal resources in place (IPC)
  • Engage neighborhood


Group IV:

  • Advocacy for existing projects
  • Engage Collaboratives for implementation of recommendations

Part B:

  • We are ready for the next step
  • Engage community
  • Produce report
  • Data driven
  • Caring community – how do we get there?
  • Priorities
  • Evaluate existing access lines (211)
  • Evaluate projects that work or show promise and provide support, advocacy, resources

General Discussion:

  • Find partners in neighborhoods to promote changes – businesses & faith-based located within that neighborhood;
  • Educate and encourage but take action at the same time
  • Bring Robert Putnam to Springfield to speak
  • Legislative pieces to address
  • Commission members want to produce the report with indicators that have the needs prioritized
  • Don’t think it is critical to bring the “elders” of the community to get them to buy in
  • Do something that will make them want to come to us; get them behind something and help them become part of the solution
  • Persuade the community to care by showing how not caring affects everyone in the community


An effort is being made to bring Robert Putnam, an internationally-know author and professor of social sciences at Harvard University, to Springfield to speak about his current project, the growing equality and opportunity for American young people and its implications. His most current publication is Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. If you are interested in helping to fund this effort, please talk with Morey Mechlin.

The next meeting will be May 21, 2015, 3:30 p.m. at KY3, 999 W. Sunshine.