The Silver Dollar City Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families grow closer together in the communities of Stone and Taney counties. The Silver Dollar City Foundation was incorporated as a 501c(3) private foundation in December of 1996, providing grants to support youth and adult ministry programs and projects strengthening families.
The Foundation provides leadership, financial and mentoring support, and coordination to programs community wide. A major project is Care For Kids, the Foundation’s program to meet the physical needs of area kids in partnership with 14 school districts. The Silver Dollar City Foundation is coordinated by President John Baltes. Foundation projects are supported by the Silver Dollar City Attractions in Branson, Missouri: Silver Dollar City, the Showboat Branson Belle and White Water, all part of Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation.
We would love for you to learn more about the Foundation. Please enjoy the Foundation’s videos, radio broadcasts and program updates.
"I have been a teacher, coach, principal and Superintendent of schools and have seen how much teachers and other adults can influence students. Sometimes all a child needs to blossom is a few words of encouragement from a friend, parent or other adult. I enjoy working with students in the capacity of mentor because it is non-threatening to them and they will ask for help in that situation."
— Blue Eye Schools Mentor
"One girl came to where I work, not even knowing to look for me. When we both recognized each other it was a wonderful reunion. As we filled her mother in as to how we knew each other she shared how much my help meant to the two of them. She said her daughter had struggled with math and had prayed for someone to help her. How indescribable to know that I was an answer to her prayer! What other confirmation did I need that what I was doing was exactly what God wanted me doing?"
— Branson Schools Mentor
"It makes me happy when she comes because mom can’t come here and I might be the only one sometimes whose parents aren’t at school. She always brightens my day."
— Fourth Grade Student, Branson Elementary School
"I have seen dramatic improvements in students in reading comprehension and mathematics from having a mentor. One of my below-grade-level students improved in reading to grade level and exceeded in math to above grade level. The one-on-one also builds bonds of trust and friendship between the student and mentor. The examples that the mentors set of selfless devotion to the students gives the students a feeling that the community cares about them and their education."
— Fourth Grade Teacher, Blue Eye Elementary School
"I wanted to let you know that I had one of my students who has faced MANY hardships in his young life show up to school wearing a shoe on his left foot different than the style he was wearing on his right foot so obvious as one was black/grey and the other white. Please know that Care for Kids saves me from being overwhelmed with the difficulties my students have to overcome. I was able to go get the boy a pair of shoes. Why should not matching shoes break my heart? I guess it symbolizes all that I want to spare students from, a life of chaos and obvious need. Thank you…"
— Grant Boyer, Forsyth Assistant Superintendent
"So many of the children don’t have the ability to thank you for the compassion that has been showered upon them during the past four years through the Silver Dollar City Foundation and the Care For Kids program. I wanted to share with you the heartfelt thanks they demonstrate through smiles, increased attention spans, better grades and improved attitudes. The biggest demonstration of their gratefulness comes when they just get to act like children without the weight of worry and frustration resulting from unmet physical needs."
— Josh Phillips, Hurley Principal
"What do you think it means to a kid with tumors growing all over her hands who was able to go to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital to have them removed? What does it means to a boy who came to school covered with the stench of cat urine to have clean clothes provided? Or to a family whose rental home leaked so badly that rainwater poured in through the electrical outlets, shocking a child inside, to be able to move to a new place? The need is great, but I’m so thankful I live in this area with such compassionate people and a foundation and a company that put it all together."
— L. West, Kirbyville Counselor
"I wanted to be a mentor because I am grateful. In looking back across the years I can easily see that the best decisions I made were influenced by adults who cared and helped. My faith encourages me not to be selfish, so I volunteered to do what I thought would be noble and share time with a Lunch Buddy. The reason I want to be a mentor now is that I know (this kid). He is a great kid with all the potential in the world. I want to encourage him and enable him to reach that potential. If he can believe now that he can excel, then I believe he is more likely to succeed. So I am grateful for the introduction and hopeful that I will have the opportunity to watch him as he matures."
— Lunch Buddy volunteer, Branson Elementary
"I have been a Lunch Buddy for three years now and I can’t tell you how satisfying it is. The first year, one little boy would come to the table with his head hung low and hardly talk. Now, the minute he spots us he starts waving and always gives us a hug when he leaves. He invites us to his programs and even wants us to come on his field trips. Sometimes I feel guilty because I get just as much satisfaction as he does. My grandchildren are scattered all over the U.S., so this is so satisfying. I tell people to try it just one hour and they’ll be hooked. Yes, I have their pictures on my refrigerator too!"
— Lunch Buddy volunteer, Cedar Ridge Elementary
"Who wouldn’t want to be with a bright-faced child who runs to give you a hug and holds your hand as you walk down the hall at school, sharing their joys and problems, who misses you if you have to miss a week? I hope to be in this little girl’s life to see her be all she can be!"
— Mentor, Forsyth Elementary
"I have met with K, now in 2nd grade, the past 4 Thursdays, just as I met with her each Thursday that she made it to school, in 1st grade and Kindergarten. What a huge change I’ve seen in her over the years. From a little girl who hid under the table and got to spend some time in “time out” for not following the rules in the lunch room, to a girl who now literally runs down the school hallway to meet me."
— Reeds Spring Lunch Buddy
"Grown-ups should be lunch buddies because kids like me wouldn’t feel lonely at lunch when they don’t have friends."
— Third Grade Student, Branson Elementary School
"My mentor helped students with their work and got to know them on a very personal level. By the middle of the year, my kids were begging our mentor to go to lunch and sit with them, simply because they loved being around her. Not only was this a great idea for the kids, it also let me help the kids who really need it."
— Third Grade Teacher, Blue Eye Elementary School
"My mentor, Mr. Ken, is a lifesaver in my classroom. Not only is it helpful to have another set of hands, he is great with my students. Mr. Ken helps the students who are behind in their school work catch up with the class. He also helps the students who are defiant and won’t do their school work. Mr. Ken has a way with students in getting them to do what is needed even if they don’t want to. Finally, Mr. Ken helps the students who need that extra time reading or working on items that are difficult for them. Overall, the mentoring program is really helpful and such a blessing to have."
— Third Grade Teacher, Blue Eye Elementary School