- Associated Press - Sunday, September 20, 2015

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - Another $750,000 has been raised to help establish a medical school in Joplin.

The money comes from the Joplin Tomorrow fund, which was established in 2011 to help businesses recover from a massive tornado that killed 161 people and destroyed thousands of buildings, The Joplin Globe (https://bit.ly/1V0eLwv ) reported. Plans call for the osteopathic medical school to open in 2017 as a campus of the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.

“We thought the best way to continue to help the business community is to contribute to KCU Joplin’s capital campaign,” said Dwight Douglas, president of Joplin Tomorrow.

In the years following the tornado, Joplin Tomorrow raised approximately $1.6 million from 230 donors across the country. Douglas said the group then solicited applications from businesses looking to rebuild and expand in Joplin, granting a total of $1.2 million in 24 separate loans for that purpose.

As the loans have been repaid and the applications have dwindled, the board of directors for Joplin Tomorrow began to discuss options for the donations remaining in the fund, Douglas said. With approval from former U.S. Sen. John Danforth, who was heavily involved in the group’s founding, and other major donors, the board decided to grant the $750,000 gift to the KCU Joplin campus, which its members said would spur job growth and improve local health care.

With the addition of that gift, which was announced last week, about $24 million of a previously established $30 million goal has been raised locally for the medical school, said Rudy Farber, chairman of the Regional Medical School Alliance’s fundraising board.

Danforth praised Joplin for its resilience and ability to rebuild following the 2011 tornado.

“What I see is this spirit that I saw four years ago of people who were future-looking,” he said.

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Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, https://www.joplinglobe.com


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