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Katelyn Egger | SBJ

2023 Economic Impact Awards Community Involvement Champion: Janet Dankert, Community Partnerships of the Ozarks Inc.

Partner of the Community

Posted online

Janet Dankert has spent her entire professional life in the nonprofit sector, and over 20 years of that at Community Partnership of the Ozarks Inc.

As a nontraditional college student, Dankert used her political science and English degree to pursue a community organizing track, which she said was a precursor to nonprofit degrees.

“I caught fire with that and knew that’s what I wanted and needed to do,” Dankert says.

Dankert found fulfilling work with a community action agency in southwest Virginia called People Inc. and has devoted her life to building better communities ever since.

“When I moved to Springfield more than 20 years ago, I was looking for a leadership position and thought CPO looked like a place I’d like to work,” Dankert says.

After being accepted for an entry-level role, Dankert says she took promotion after promotion until her current position, president and CEO.

In the role, Dankert works to support the nonprofit’s mission of building resilient children, healthy families and strong neighborhoods and communities by encouraging the 88 staff members to be active volunteers.

“We’ve had significant growth in the last 10 years,” Dankert says. “I think we have a good reputation for doing excellent work and making a positive impact on the community.

“When we say we are doing something, we do it and we do it well. We’re all working together at the same table to make the same change.”

This includes engaging more than 150 partner organizations in addressing communitywide red flag issues and working together to solve critical issues such as child abuse and neglect, homelessness prevention, lack of affordable housing, child care, transportation, violence prevention and substance misuse prevention. In addition, CPO has organized multiple volunteer days to support its partners, including Habitat for Humanity of Springfield, Missouri Inc. and Boys and Girls Clubs of Springfield Inc.

The CPO team tackles this work, and Dankert says their involvement doesn’t stop at the office.

“A lot of people on our staff want to see that they make a difference in and out of the nonprofit,” Dankert says.

CPO provides paid time off each quarter for staff to volunteer at an organization of their choosing.

Dankert says many of the staff also serve on boards and organizations throughout the state, including Missouri Safe and Sober, Crime Stoppers and Springfield Sertoma Club.

Dankert herself is no exception. She is a graduate of Leadership Springfield Class 27 and currently serves on boards or volunteers with multiple organizations, including Rotary Club of Springfield, Greene County Family Justice Center and United Way of the Ozarks.

“I have a passion for helping others while working to make our community the best it can be,” she says.

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