The Monett Area Community Foundation awarded a $6,000 grant to the local Monett Mighty Mites organization.
The program has been in existence since the early 1960s, and was started with the help of former banker and local civic leader Jack Fox. The program has grown from the original 40 participants in fourth through sixth grade to its current level of 195 players in third through sixth grade.
Fox started Mighty Mites with the hope of teaching kids to respect and love the game of football.
"Today we still try to instill that, along with sportsmanship and teamwork," said Sean Kelley, current board member of the group. "We want kids to understand what Monett football is about, and that, win-or-lose, we do it with dignity and respect of our teammates and coaches along with respecting and treating the opposing team the same way.
"Football may be just a game, however life lessons can come out of it," Kelly said. "We hope we give kids something to look forward to every Saturday morning during the season and that they have fun playing the game."
The grant will be used to help support the overall programming for the Monett Mighty Mites. Equipment and insurance costs run over $100 per child. A board of directors comprised of six volunteers governs the program, and each team has two volunteer coaches. Parents are charged $50 annually per player, which covers the costs of the jersey as well as jackets for the cheerleading squads.
The Monett Area Community Foundation (MACF) was started in 1999 to help develop philanthropic assets for the Monett area and currently holds 35 separate funds totaling more than $1.2 million. The Foundation has made nearly $70,000 in grants available to the Monett area in 2009 alone.
MACF is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, which has 41 community affiliates and nearly 1,700 funds totaling more than $140 million in assets.