West Central Expands Portfolio to Focus on Region’s Economic Development

New Community Development Corporation and Staff to Coordinate Initiatives

Date: May 17, 2017

Appleton City, MO- West Central Missouri Community Action Agency (West Central) is pleased to announce recent efforts focused on regional economic development in its 9-county service region. West Central Community Development Corporation (WCCDC) has recently been established to focus on regional, community economic development issues, and has hired its first staff member to coordinate initiatives.   

In an effort to expand its ability to positively impact more of Missouri households facing economic hardship, WCCDC was formed and new staff positions have been created. Under the leadership of Chris Thompson, President and CEO, unexplored areas of opportunity within West Central’s service region have been identified, and due to those areas of opportunity, WCCDC will develop new programs to address such local needs and opportunities.

The first employment position filled within WCCDC was “Community Wealth Building Director” (CWBD). Patty Cantrell of Humansville, Missouri, assumed her duties on May 8th, 2017.   

In her new role, Cantrell will be focused on microenterprise and cooperative development, rural innovation, and small business expansion. 

Chris Thompson, President and CEO, said, “We are fortunate to have Patty join our agency to assist in the coordination and implementation of initiatives to enhance local economies. Her extensive knowledge and experience in collaborative development work will be tremendous assets to our region.”

Cantrell has done extensive work in the field of local food solutions to enhance rural, community economic development.  She serves currently as the Economic Developer for Bates County, and has worked as a consultant, journalist, community organizer, and advocate for local, healthy food initiatives. She has an MBA from Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, and a Bachelors of Arts in Economics and Political Science.

Cantrell has been a keynote speaker for the Florida Small Farm Conference and the Kansas Healthy Communities Initiative. In addition, Cantrell is a Fulbright Scholar, studying labor economics and economic development in Cologne, Germany, and was a National Food and Society Policy Fellow with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. She has been a featured speaker for TEDx Manhattan and the Missouri Farm to School Conference, among others. She brings to WCCDC a wealth of knowledge in local development.

More information will be released at a later date regarding new initiatives and programs through West Central Community Development Corporation.

West Central Community Development Corporation’s mission is: “To enhance the socio-economic well-being of individuals, families and communities in West Central Missouri through local, participatory wealth-building initiatives intended to engage all community members in the collective pursuit of resilient, sustainable rural communities.”

West Central Missouri Community Action Agency is dedicated to empowering people to make a positive change by coordinating and administering resources.  West Central’s service region includes the counties of Cedar, Vernon, Hickory, St. Clair, Bates, Henry, Benton, Morgan, and Cass.  West Central Missouri Community Action Agency strives to be the voice in our communities and our governments for those most in need.

Assistance units within the organization include the following: Community Services, Employment and Training, Energy Conservation, Health Services, Housing, and Early Childhood Education (Headstart). 

 

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If you’d like more information about West Central Community Action Agency or West Central Community Development Corporation, please visit www.wcmcaa.org or you may call Gina Ensor at 660-476-2185 ext. 1117.

 

West Central Hires Grant Research and Development Manager

Newly Formed Position Will Expand Organizational Capacity

Date: May 18, 2017

Appleton City, MO- West Central Missouri Community Action Agency is pleased to announce that it has hired a Grant Research and Development Manager. Through a new strategy to secure additional funding opportunities for West Central Missouri Community Action Agency and its newly formed West Central Community Development Corporation, the hiring of a Grant Research and Development Manager, will increase the two organizations’ ability to expand services and programs by seeking new funding opportunities. 

Deborah Vickers, of El Dorado Springs, started working as Grant Research and Development Manager on May 8th, 2017.

Vickers, who has an extensive background in education, has written and received many grants for schools and other non-profit organizations throughout her career. She has served as a grant-writing mentor and reader for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and wrote a successful proposal which secured funding for the El Dorado Springs Youth Center in 2009.

Chris Thompson, President and CEO of West Central said, “We are pleased to have Debbie join our office as she is a wonderful addition to our agency given her experience, knowledge and commitment to community service and development.”

West Central Missouri Community Action Agency is dedicated to empowering people to make a positive change by coordinating and administering resources.  West Central’s service region includes the counties of Cedar, Vernon, Hickory, St. Clair, Bates, Henry, Benton, Morgan, and Cass.  West Central Missouri Community Action Agency strives to be the voice in our communities and our governments for those most in need.

Assistance units within the organization include the following: Community Services, Employment and Training, Energy Conservation, Health Services, Housing, and Early Childhood Education (Head Start). 

West Central Community Development Corporation’s mission is to enhance the socio-economic well-being of individuals, families and communities in West Central Missouri through participatory wealth-building initiatives intended to engage all community members in the collective pursuit of resilient, sustainable rural communities.

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If you’d like more information about West Central Community Action Agency or West Central Community Development Corporation, please visit www.wcmcaa.org or you may call Gina Ensor at 660-476-2185 ext. 1117.

 

West Central Selected for “Local Foods, Local Places” Partnership

Revitalizing Communities by Growing Local Food Economies

Date: May 3, 2017

Appleton City, MO- West Central Missouri Community Action Agency is pleased to announce that it has been selected to participate in the “Local Foods, Local Places” program. West Central’s application for Appleton City is one of 24 other partner communities from across the nation participating in this program.

“Local Foods, Local Places”, established in 2013, helps cities and towns across the country protect the environment and human health by engaging with local partners to reinvest in existing neighborhoods using local food enterprise. Seven federal agencies—the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Delta Regional Authority—selected 24 communities to participate in Local Foods, Local Places in 2017. In each partner community, a team of experts will help community members set goals and plan projects that can boost local economies and drive downtown and neighborhood revitalization. Projects might include farmers markets, local food cooperatives, community gardens, and other food-related enterprises. By promoting better health, a cleaner environment, and stronger economies, Local Foods, Local Places also supports efforts to alleviate poverty and boost wellness among children. In 2017, federal partners are investing $810,000 in Local Foods, Local Places.

Through this program, Appleton City residents will have an opportunity to develop a plan of action dedicated to boosting the local agricultural economy, promote healthy living, and continue the work of revitalizing downtown Appleton City.  The “Local Foods, Local Places” program has worked with over 50 communities across the United States, since 2015.  From this work, small rural towns similar to Appleton City have been able to implement parts of their “Local Foods, Local Places” plan, resulting in projects like:

  • A beginning farmer training program
  • A new Farmers Market
  • Creating a community kitchen to incubate new food businesses
  • Working with local schools to grow their own food
  • Planting a community farm

Chris Thompson, President and CEO of West Central stated, “As one of twenty-four (chosen) applicants, we feel privileged and excited to be part of this collaborative opportunity for Appleton City. It speaks to the work of our dedicated staff members and the engagement of our community leaders.”  

A two-day workshop will be held in Appleton City on May 24th and 25th. West Central is inviting community members to participate in the planning process. The workshop will bring together many key stakeholders from throughout our region to develop an action plan primarily around, but not limited to, these goal areas:

  • Keep people engaged and connected with food related projects and opportunities
  • Further develop the success of the community farm and food bank projects, including additional gardens and farm-to-school projects
  • Build support and define the purpose of the Food and Agriculture Regional Enterprise (FARE) Center
  • Develop a food system plan for the local area, building on assessments that have already been made

The times and locations are as follows: Wednesday, May 24th, 5:30 to 8:00 PM at the First Christian Church located at 100 S Chestnut St in Appleton City, Missouri and Thursday, May 25th from 9:00 AM to Noon, and 1:00 to 5:00 PM at West Central Missouri Community Action Agency located at 106 w. 4th St. in Appleton City, Missouri.

If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Katie Nixon, knixon@wcmcaa.org or 660-476-2185 Ex. 1303.

West Central Missouri Community Action Agency is dedicated to empowering people to make a positive change by coordinating and administering resources.  West Central’s service region includes the counties of Cedar, Vernon, Hickory, St. Clair, Bates, Henry, Benton, Morgan, and Cass.  West Central Missouri Community Action Agency strives to be the voice in our communities and our governments for those most in need.

Assistance units within the organization include the following: Community Services, Employment and Training, Energy Conservation, Health Services, Housing, and Early Childhood Education (Head Start). 

 

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If you’d like more information about West Central Community Action Agency, please visit www.wcmcaa.org or you may call Gina Ensor at 660-476-2185 ext. 1117.

 

WEST CENTRAL CREATING NEW OPPORTUNITIES TO INCREASE ASSISTANCE CAPABILITIES

Strategic Development and Communications Director Is Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 2, 2015

Contact: Gina Ensor

Tel: 660-476-2185 ext. 1117

Cell: 417-684-0987

Email: gensor@wcmcaa.org


West Central Missouri Community Action Agency (“West Central”), in Appleton City, Missouri, is proud to announce a new addition to its Senior Administration team– Gina Ensor. Ensor is West Central’s new Strategic Development and Communications Director and she began her duties on May 27, 2015.

In an effort to expand West Central’s ability to positively impact more of Missouri households facing economic hardship, new positions have been created within the organization. Under the leadership of Chris Thompson, President and CEO, unexplored areas of opportunity within West Central’s service region have been identified, including strategic development, transition services for homeless individuals and families, local and regional food systems enhancement, and community wealth building.

The role of the Strategic Development and Communications Director is to work collaboratively with West Central’s senior leadership and with community partners to develop new resources and strategies that will broaden and deepen the impact of the Agency’s programs and increase community awareness of its programs.

Chris Thompson, President and CEO, said of the hire, “I am very excited to welcome Gina to the West Central team as her enthusiasm and experience will serve to greatly enhance West Central’s efforts in serving individuals, families and communities facing difficult times.”

Ensor, who resides in Schell City, along with her husband James, moved to Vernon County in 2009 from the well-known tourist destination of Branson, Mo. Gina is originally from Oklahoma and James is originally from Vernon County. The couple moved to the area with the intentions of rearing their family in the same community in which his family has lived for many generations.

Ensor has worked in the marketing industry for almost two decades and brings to West Central a vast knowledge of public relations, sales, marketing, business, fundraising and promotional implementation experience. She has held titles such as executive director, general manager, director of sales and regional sales manager in major markets for corporations out of Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.

Through her travels, Ensor has worked extensively with various non-profit entities and veterans’ organizations, including the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, and says she “truly feels like a servant at heart.”

Ensor has a great passion for this region because, as she put it, this is where her children will grow up and simply just wants to help make a difference in people’s lives.

“I’m truly humbled to be a small part of such a wonderful organization that has helped many people in so many ways throughout the years. There are multiple ways West Central helps our communities, and I’m thrilled that I get to help tell those stories. I’m very proud to be a part of their team.”

West Central Missouri Community Action Agency is dedicated to empowering people to make a positive change by coordinating and administering resources.  West Central’ service region includes the counties of Cedar, Vernon, Hickory, St. Clair, Bates, Henry, Benton, Morgan, and Cass.  West Central Missouri Community Action Agency strives to be the voice in our communities and our governments for those most in need.

Assistance units within the organization include the following: Community Services, Employment and Training, Energy Conservation, Health Services, Housing, and Early Childhood Education (Headstart).

 

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If you’d like more information about West Central Community Action Agency, please visit www.wcmcaa.org or you may call Gina Ensor at 660-476-2185 ext. 1117.