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It didn’t take Amy Wescott long to rise in her new job. Less than 18 months after joining Philanthropy Missouri as its first employee outside of St. Louis, Wescott was promoted to vice president.
She joined Philanthropy Missouri in January 2021 as its director of services for southwest Missouri, a new position tasked with strategizing expansion of the organization’s reach. Formerly known as Gateway Center for Giving, Philanthropy Missouri helps its membership of foundations and various grant makers become more effective, strategic and collaborative.
Wescott tapped into her network, met with prospective members and hosted gatherings that highlighted the benefits to grant makers.
“So far, 12 new members from southwest Missouri have joined our network, which we consider a great success,” Wescott says.
In May, she was promoted to vice president, another new position. Wescott helped shape her job description based on her strengths and the group’s goals, which include extending into Kansas City.
“We have recently hired a staff person based in Kansas City, who I will help train and mentor,” she says. “I am excited to lead the organization in these new initiatives and will rely on what I believe is foundational for strong and effective leadership – a focus on relationships and service.”
The genesis of Wescott’s career path stretches back more than 20 years to her time as a stay-at-home mother who spent many hours as a community volunteer. Her dedication was such that people sometimes thought she was an employee at the places for which she volunteered, including at the Ozark Mountain Family YMCA, where she served as board chair.
“I have been told that my leadership during those years contributed greatly to the stability and effectiveness of the organization,” Wescott says.
She is proud to have championed a partnership between the YMCA and what became Faith Community Health, a low-cost clinic for the uninsured and underinsured in Taney and Stone counties that opened in 2010.
“I developed FCH’s patient-intake and wellness-services models, trained volunteers and ensured that FCH patients were receiving the ‘whole person’ care that we were founded on,” Westcott says. “I continued to serve on the FCH board for six more years, helping to navigate the inevitable obstacles that face nonprofit organizations.”
In 2011, she put her English degree to work when she began a writing-and-editing business, and she taught business communications for six years at College of the Ozarks.
Wescott says she looks forward to helping Philanthropy Missouri grow, and she’s especially interested in strengthening rural philanthropy, noting that, while 14%-20% of the U.S. population lives in rural areas, upwards of only 7% of philanthropic monies are invested there.
“I believe communities become better places to live and work when people are willing to invest, offering their own perspectives, gifts, resources and expertise and are resolved to work together to improve the quality of life for all in the community,” she says.
The first downtown Springfield branch for Arvest Bank opened; a longtime licensed massage therapist became a first-time business owner; and 7 Brew Coffee opened its fourth shop in Springfield.