Lyle Foster Tapped to Administer CARES Act Funds in Greene County

When Greene County was allotted $34 million in federal CARES Act funds to meet the area's COVID-19 needs, they tapped Lyle Foster to administer the funds. We spoke with Foster about why he's the man for the job.

By Susan Atteberry Smith

Sep 2020

Lyle Foster's Newest Role
By Brandon AlmsLyle Foster has deep roots in the Springfield community as an assistant professor, human rights activist, newspaper columnist and small business owner. Purchase Photo

Lyle Foster is a Missouri State University assistant professor of sociology, member of the Mayor’s Commission on Human Rights and Community Relations, a newspaper columnist, and the owner of Big Momma’s Coffee & Espresso Bar. Now he’s on to a new role: administering $34 million in federal CARES Act funds to meet Greene County COVID-19 needs.

On his vision for the role: “Part of my vision would be that it’s done in a way that’s transparent, that addresses community priorities. We’re trying to make sure that some of those pockets of our community that get overlooked can get assisted.” 

On why the job was a good fit: “I’ve been heavily involved in the community, and I think I understand community impact as a sociologist. I anticipate looking at the individual requests. It gives you an even clearer look at what the impact [of COVID-19] has been.”

On where he goes for inspiration: “That I still feel healthy—that’s inspiration enough. Each morning I wake up, I’m inspired because that means I’ve got another day. To be honest, I probably appreciate life differently because of the pandemic.” 

On the first thing he put in his office to help with his new position: “I’m much more the kind of person that ‘This is where I work, not where I live.’ I’ve just got a couple of little piles of the Treasury Act (the U.S. CARES Act) and the application forms and the notes of all the people that are calling, wanting to be notified when the (grant) application is going to be available.” 

On what keeps him up at night: “I have actually gone to sleep a few nights thinking about the application. I want it to be a smooth application process. I don’t want people to be frustrated.” 

On the advice he would give his younger self: “Cast a bigger vision. It’s kind of the idea, maybe if you aim for the stars you’ll land at the moon. If your vision doesn’t scare anybody, then it’s not big enough.”