News Article Details

McCune-Brooks trust proposes second grant

Joplin Globe - 9/13/2017

Sept. 13--CARTHAGE, Mo. -- The stewards of roughly $20 million in city money are recommending that a second round of grants go to a single organization, Cerebral Palsy of the Tri-County Area, a nonprofit that provides therapy to developmentally disabled children in their first years of life.

The Carthage City Council on Thursday will vote on the proposed $30,000 grant, which would be used to provide scholarships to five children.

Ron Peterson Sr., president of the McCune-Brooks Regional Hospital Trust, said the trust only received one application for this round of funding. He emphasized that the grants can go to organizations located in areas around Carthage, including Oronogo, Diamond, Carterville, Sarcoxie, Avilla, Alba, Purcell, Neck City and Jasper.

"There (are) a lot of young people in need," he said. "The trustees felt we could help a lot of young people. We feel good about it being funding for individuals. We did mandate that it has to fund individuals from the Carthage Tri-County area."

The trusts will discuss new grants in December.

The organization provides a wide range of therapies to children with a range of developmental disabilities, not just cerebral palsy. It focuses on infants between 6 and 36 months old, but offers services to children up to 7 years old if they can't access services elsewhere.

The funds, drawn from proceeds of the city's sale of McCune-Brooks Hospital to Mercy Health Systems, would allow five children to attend the center for one year free of charge. The daily cost of services is $25, according to documents submitted to the McCune-Brooks Trust.

"If we don't do (therapy), they're never going to increase their skills," said Christy Graham, director of the organization, adding, "We have children to serve, but we need scholarship money to serve them."

The actual daily cost of providing children with developmental disabilities with therapy for speech, physical impairments, social development and vision, among other things, is $80, Graham said.

Much of the cost is covered by grants from numerous organizations, the largest coming from the Jasper County Sheltered Facilities board, United Way, and state and federal funds.

Enrolling children at the center also allows parents squeezed by high-intensity child care to find work. More than half of the 57 children served by the organization in 2016 arrived via provided transportation, and the organization estimates that 43 parents found work or went back to school as a result.

The center has served 48 children from Carthage since 2008, nearly all of them on full scholarships. Seven children from Carthage are currently enrolled. A bus staffed by a specially trained aide travels daily to Carthage, where it picks students up at their door, a service that will also be subsidized by the McCune-Brooks grant.

"Many times, children don't get consistent therapy because their parents can't get them to the appointment itself," Graham said.

It also accepts children from Joplin, Carl Junction, Carterville, Oronogo, Webb City, Seneca, Diamond and Neosho.

Founded in 1957, the center is located in Webb City at 1401 W. Austin St. A satellite center was previously located in Carthage.

About the trust

The $20 million from the city's sale of McCune-Brooks Hospital was placed into a trust to benefit the health and wellness of the Carthage area. It is managed by a group of mayoral appointees, but the City Council must sign off on the grants they propose. Applications are available at


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