Mark Long knows a lot about Rolla. He's lived here most of his life and can't go anywhere without seeing someone he knows.

Mark Long knows a lot about Rolla. He's lived here most of his life and can't go anywhere without seeing someone he knows.
That comes in handy in his job as development director for The Community Partnership, a local non-profit organization that relies on both grant support and financial contributions from individuals to run the programs it offers.
Long believes in the power of hard work, networking and relationships.
"I guess it all started for me before my sophomore year at Rolla High," explained Long. "Max Maupin and John Keller gave me my first job at Hillcrest Drug Store. Those two were great examples of hardworking businessmen. I learned about being dedicated, and how to be a team player. They also showed me that you can work hard and have a good time doing it."
Though his career took him to Tennessee, Arkansas and Springfield, Mo., for brief stints, he wanted to get back to Rolla.
"My family has lived in the Rolla area for so long," he shared. "It's always been nice to have that added support from parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles."
Long's parents are Kenny and Mary Lou Long. He and his brothers John and Paul grew up with a strong sense of family and a good work ethic.
"My dad is retired from the Rolla Public Schools, and my mom taught private piano lessons to students in the area for a very long time. They also operated Lenox Books, Gifts and Music on Pine Street in Rolla for years," he said. "I consider my parents' example and the guidance of John Keller and Max Maupin as the building blocks for how I conduct myself professionally. They were important mentors in my life."
Long says that living in Rolla is comfortable and motivating.
"We have easy access to the essentials," he explained. "You don't have to spend a lot of time getting where you need to go. We also have some incredible people, businesses and scenery around us that make Rolla a nice place to be," he said.
Long also worked in pharmaceutical sales and service for a while, but around Rolla he is most remembered for his work at Phelps County Regional Medical Center and at the medical office of Dr. James Bass in Rolla.
"I met some truly wonderful people at PCRMC and during my time at Dr. Bass' office," he said. "I learned a lot from everyone I came in contact with in those work situations, and I think it's helped me grow to be the person I am today – both personally and professionally."
His role at The Community Partnership is important to the organization's future.
"We only have one fundraiser each year," he said. "It's our big Ask Event that we hold each October at Missouri S&T's Havener Center. I understand how vital it is to reach out to as many people as I can and let them know about the work that is being done at the Partnership for the community.
"I know that there are people who have no clue who we are and what we do. We're trying to get the word out and let people know what we have to offer," he said.
The Community Partnership has been around more than 15 years, with its headquarters located at 1101 Hauck Drive in Rolla. Amy Beechner-McCarthy is the non-profit's executive director.
The programs The Community Partnership offers serve families with children with disabilities, youth aging out of the foster system, pregnant and parenting youth and child care providers working to obtain accreditation.
The Partnership also runs a resale shop, located on North Bishop Avenue in Rolla, and offers a health and wellness initiative called Fit Helps.
Each September, the Partnership holds the Linking Hearts Adoption Fair that seeks to match adoptable children in the 25th Circuit with potential adoptive parents.
"We are fortunate to have a tremendous board of directors, too," said Long. "These people are not just 'name-only' participants on our board. They work hard and feel a great responsibility for keeping the Partnership on track and making a positive impact on the communities we serve," Long said.
Board members include Kenny Barnes, Shad Becker, Michael S. Brooks, John Butz, John Denbo, Barbara Durnin, Marilyn Frederick, Sherry Ann Heavin, Mardy Leathers, Tom Manion, Dr. Deb McKee, Bill Morgan, Jeff Schrader, the Honorable Mary W. Sheffield, Tom Thomas, Jodi Waltman and Wendy Young. Mike Thompson serves as board chair.
Long explained that there are many ways to donate to The Community Partnership.
"One of these is to become a Community Builder," he said. "This is a person, family or business that commits to give $1,000 a year for five years. This can be done in installments or whatever is most convenient for the donor," Long said.
"This commitment helps the Partnership build plans for the future and helps us gauge the monies ahead of time. You don't have to be a Community Builder to make a difference. We sincerely appreciate all of our donors," Long said. "Over 80 percent of funds go directly into our programming, impacting the lives of those we serve. We strive to be good stewards of the funds with which we've been entrusted.
"The Partnership has helped me gain a lot of perspective about the roles that all of us can play in shaping the lives of young people," said Long. "The opportunity I have been given to work with this organization has involved me with incredible co-workers, all working for the same goals. I like the simplicity of the cause and the perplexity of all of the people that are involved ­­­­­— from the donors, volunteers and participants to the staff. I feel very privileged to be a part of a group like the Partnership and I look forward to seeing it become even stronger."
For more information about The Community Partnership, contact Mark Long at 573-368-2849 or email mark.long@thecommunitypartnership.org. You can find The Community Partnership on Facebook or at thecommunitypartnership.org.