Missouri Community Betterment: 

"Rural Progress & Pride"

 The 2017 MCB Annual Conference was held October 15 & 16th
Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center, Columbia


October 16, 2017

Twenty-three communities, 11 youth groups and 8 community leaders were honored at the Missouri Community Betterment (MCB) conference in Columbia. The 54th annual conference included speakers from the Missouri Department of Economic Development, University of Missouri Extension, as well as keynote speakers Deb Brown with Saveyour.town; Jeff & Carolina Neal, pioneers in the revitalization of Joplin’s downtown; Dr. Sean Siebert, innovation consultant from Cuba, MO; Kyle Scheele, motivational speaker, and Mark Kempker, “Bringing the HEET” a multi-pronged approach to addressing heroine usage. Missouri Community Betterment assists communities in their efforts to improve their quality of life through community and economic development efforts. Nearly 200 volunteers, community leaders and youth from across the state were in attendance.

Houston won the Gene Speichinger Community of the year award. This award recognizes the outstanding community amongst the 23 communities entered in this year's Awards program. MCB judges and Board members were impressed with Houston’s outstanding ability to utilize various community members’ strengths to accomplish their goals through strategic planning and attention to detail as well as a combined vision. The project’s impact will be longstanding and benefit all ages within the community as well as those visiting Houston.

“The Missouri Community Betterment Board congratulates all the volunteers from our communities all throughout the state,” MCB President Louis Riggs said. “These dedicated individuals and their collaborative community and economic development efforts continue to make Missouri’s rural communities a place people want to call home.”

The Monday evening Awards Banquet is an integral part of the MCB program, which is administered by the Missouri Community Betterment Educational Fund. MCBEF is a not-for-profit organization made up of businesses, public utilities, community representatives, federal and state agencies and individuals. From 2008-2017 MCB communities poured more than $431,889,085 back into their local economies through their community development projects.

Following is a list of the community and individual award winners:    Click here to see more photos...

Gene Speichinger
Community of the Year Award: Houston

J.C. Smith
Youth Group of the Year Award: 

Community Awards Youth Groups
Category I

First Place: Galena

Second Place: Howardville

Third Place: Caledonia

Fourth Place: Allendale

Fifth Place: Cainsville

Category II

First Place: Hopkins

Second Place: Lowry City

Third Place: Urich

Fourth Place: Annapolis

Fifth Place: Green City

Category III

First Place: Albany

Second Place: Reeds Spring

Third Place: Mansfield

Fourth Place: Steelville

Category IV

First Place: Houston

Second Place: Lathrop

Third Place: St. James

Fourth Place: Fayette

Fifth Place: Buffalo

Category V

First Place: Lamar

Second Place: Perryville

Third Place: Salem

Fourth Place: Cameron

Category I

First Place: Galena

Second Place: Caledonia

Category III

First Place: Steelville

Second Place: Mansfield

Certificate of Merit: Reeds Spring

Category IV

First Place: Fayette

Second Place: Houston

Certificate of Merit: St. James

Category V

First Place: Lamar

Second Place: Cameron

Third Place: Perryville

Ambassador Award

Judy Apperson - Salem
Leadership Awards

Adult Leadership Award

Mary Jo Eiberger – Cameron
Paulette Orahood – Lamar
Anna Narramore – Louisiana
Marilyn Sweitzer – Salem

Youth Leadership Award

Kelsie Morgan – Lamar
Michelle Watts – Louisiana
Jacob Stotler – Salem

For photos contact:
Lloyd Grotjan
Full Spectrum Photo
218 East High Street Jefferson City MO 65101
(573) 635-0250


“The Missouri Partnership frequently works with companies looking in Missouri for potential locations to set up new operations.  We firmly believe that communities that invest in continuous improvement and ‘quality of place’ enjoy a competitive advantage in their efforts to attract new jobs and investment.  Companies searching for a new home will always favor a community that takes pride in itself and strives to better itself every day, and the Missouri Community Betterment program helps communities across the state to do just that.” Christopher Chung, CEO, Missouri Partnership

“Missouri Community Betterment is a tremendous association that recognizes the efforts and achievements of our state’s rural communities. As a former youth member, community member and State Board Member I am a product of the leadership development promoted by the association.” - US Congressman Jason Smith

“The MFA Oil Foundation’s mission is to support and invest in communities where we do business, to assure their continued prosperity. MCB’s mission is to provide assistance to many of those same communities to help them with improvement projects. With similar missions it seems only fitting that our Foundation should support MCB with the work that they do. As a MCB board member I have been very impressed with the dedication of many of the local community leaders as they attempt to make their town the best it can be”.  - Ken Caspall, MFA Foundation

The MCB conference provides networking for youth groups to learn what other communities have done and an opportunity to develop new plans for projects in their own home towns.  Developing leadership capacity and confidence in their abilities to work with adults gives the MCB youth participants great preparation for college and beyond. - Dave Garnett, Hawthorn Bancshares

MCB has helped me develop skills to be a leader in my school and community. Through my involvement in the youth program I have gained confidence and communication skills. The three MCB conferences I attended were fun and motivating. Having the opportunity to hear what others were doing to help their community has helped me bring new ideas to my town. Community Betterment has motivated my entire youth team to improve our community throughout the year. - Kenna Roland, Senior 2014, Lamar (2013 MCB Youth Leadership Award Winner)

“As a MCB board member I have had a chance to observe first hand, how enthusiastically some of the MCB participating community’s youth become engaged in the projects they initiate in their communities.  These youth are the leaders of tomorrow and the leadership skills demonstrated in the local projects they under take can be exemplary.   Youth leadership recognition and civic engagement  is just another reason why the MFA Oil Foundation is a willing MCB Sponsor”. - Ken Caspall, MFA Oil Foundation

"Missouri Community Betterment and the Missouri Community Betterment Conferences have been a blessing to the youth in Steelville. The sessions and guidance given during the MCB conferences has allowed us to improve our community in many various ways." - Libby Wynn, Steelville Youth Group 

"The Missouri Community Betterment Program is one of the best values a rural community can invest in to access professional assistance in community planning, development and technical expertise." - Kelly Smith, Missouri Farm Bureau

"MCB has provided our rural community with resources and opportunities to implement projects and help grow community support.  MCB allows our youth an avenue to be involved on a much larger scale in the growth and development of our community.  I have been involved with MCB for 25 years and the experiences I have been able to share with the youth of our community have truly been priceless.  Being involved with MCB, has opened many doors for our community, but the greatest reward for me has been the positive impact on our youth and the leadership opportunities provided to them." - Jodie Cottrell, youth group leader , Steelville

“We invest in Missouri Community Betterment because we see firsthand the success the program is having in rural communities throughout the state. While across the Midwest we are seeing Main Streets close up shop, MCB communities continue to grow and provide a better quality of life for Missourians.” - Mark Woodson, Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc.

“Founded by the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Missouri Community Betterment has provided outstanding technical assistance to Missouri’s rural communities for more than 50 years.  The support, energy, and success of the MCB program has continued to give participating communities the opportunity to thrive in today’s economy and make Missouri feel like home to growing businesses.” - Mike Downing, Director of Missouri Department of Economic Development

"Our Youth are just in awe of everything they did at conference and are ready to undertake all sorts of new challenges.  I was so proud or Kirk, who spoke at at a grant acceptance ceremony on Wednesday (week after the 2015 conference).  He spoke to 30 adults and stayed calm as a cucumber  and was the hit of the show.  Without the leadership skills he learned at the conference, I don’t know if he would have been so sure of himself.  Thanks is not enough, but the only word in English we have available." - Connie Johnson, Galena

In my opinion MCB has helped communities in our region by giving them a sense or organization/structure to go about improving their community on their own.  They have access to resources and a network to assist them in achieving their goals and it keeps community development in front of them all the time by having this nucleus active in the community.
Jackie Soptic, Assistant Director, Green Hills Regional Planning Commission

Missouri Community Betterment Educational Fund Inc.,
P.O. Box 105997, Jefferson City, MO 65110
Phone:660.383.1034 Fax:660.383.1202