The Amarillo Area Foundation Awards over $475,000 in Scholarships

7/18/17

Contact: Broc Carter | 806.376.4521 | broc@aaf-hf.org

AMARILLO – The Amarillo Area Foundation has awarded 312 scholarships totaling $479,400 to Panhandle area students for the 2017-2018 school year.

Of the 312 scholarship awarded, 180 are for new scholarship recipients and 132 are for recipients that are continuing to receive previously awarded scholarships.  The Foundation received 3,136 applications from high school students and 108 applications from college students.  The scholarship recipients represent 23 Panhandle counties and will attend 32 different universities.

The Foundation administers 101 scholarship funds in addition to the Achievement through Commitment to Education (ACE) Scholarship program.  The Foundation’s Scholarship Selection Committee recommends recipients for 58 of the 101 non-ACE funds and local selection committees outside the Foundation recommend recipients for the remaining funds.  The Foundation manages many unique scholarships that are not only for graduating high school seniors but are also for individuals who are already college students.

”Now that the application is online, more students from the Panhandle area are accessing and applying for scholarships that are managed by the Foundation. We are proud to be investing in the future of many young Panhandle residents, both local and rural,” said Amarillo Area Foundation Vice President of Community Investment, Katharyn Wiegand.

For more information on Amarillo Area Foundation Scholarships contact scholarships@aaf-hf.org or 806-376-4521. You can also visit amarilloareafoundation.org/scholarships.

To donate or to establish a scholarship fund contact Amy Lovell, Director of Development at amy@aaf-hf.org or 806-376-4521.

The Amarillo Area Foundation is a community foundation that serves the northernmost 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle.  The mission of the Foundation is to improve the quality of life for Texas Panhandle residents.  Since its inception in 1957, the Foundation has provided grants and a variety of other services to strengthen nonprofit organizations and the services they deliver.

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About the Amarillo Area Foundation

The Amarillo Area Foundation is a community foundation that serves the northernmost 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle.  The mission of the Foundation is to improve the quality of life for Texas Panhandle residents.  Since its inception in 1957, the Foundation has provided grants and a variety of other services to strengthen nonprofit organizations and the services they deliver

The Executive Director Leader Circle a Service of the Amarillo Area Foundation Nonprofit Service Center

Working in the world of nonprofit often means that Executive Directors are pulled in different directions and need to utilize many skills and talents. They are required to accomplish great things with limited funding and personnel.  Additionally, many nonprofit Executive Directors work in environments that are often isolated and stressful, straddling the space between staff, board members, donors, and the constituents they serve.  They need a support group that can provide honest assessments and ideas regarding challenges, opportunities, and frustrations.  They also need a group that can speak to unique topics of current interest that require special expertise that may be expensive and difficult to find.  In support of its goal to equip nonprofits for success through consulting, education, networking, and resources, the Amarillo Area Foundation Nonprofit Service Center provides this service to Executive Directors of nonprofit organizations.

In 2006, the Nonprofit Service Center launched a series of Leader Circles designed to benefit nonprofit professionals in the Panhandle. The Executive Director Leader Circle provides a confidential environment where nonprofit leaders can freely learn and interact with their peers.

Circle members meet mont

hly to discuss management and communications issues, board relations, fundraising, marketing, and other topics. Each meeting offers a roundtable discussion or a featured guest speaker. A vast variety of community leaders, professionals such as attorneys and accountants, business and nonprofit consultants, and business leaders and owners have shared their considerable knowledge with the circle. Annually, local attendees of the Association of Fundraising Professionals international conference are invited to address the group to share highlights from their favorite session, key takeaways, and identified trends. An experienced facilitator helps participants use the Leader Circle to identify and meet their specific needs. Participation is encouraged and each meeting is open to everything from sharing best practices to asking specific advice.

Networking time is provided before and after each meeting allowing the members to make contacts, form collaborations, and exc

hange ideas. Additionally, every month a different member is asked to provide a brief profile of their agency and the important work that they do.

The Amarillo Area Foundation Nonprofit Service Center’s goal is to provide an interactive topical experience for participants, address the hot-button issues they are facing, and collectively take advantage of and share their knowledge and experience. In a recent survey, 100% of Executive Director Leader Circle participants indicated that each month they learn something that helps them in their work at their organization.

Below are testimonials from ED Leader Circle members:

“The Executive Director Leaders Circle is a very useful tool for nonprofit executives. Boards should be aware of the value of the meetings and strongly persuade EDs to attend. The Amarillo Area Foundation does a great job in offering this resource to the community.”

“I am so happy to be involved in the group. Being the only staff person, it’s easy to feel isolated, but when I can come and network and learn with other directors I realize I have a larger support system.”

“I have been an executive director for 19 years and still learn so much during the Leader Circles from my peers. It is wonderful to find out that big or small, all of our organizations have some of the same problems.  It also brings me up to date on many of the issues facing nonprofit organizations today.”

“The Leader Circle is a meeting I look forward to attending each time. We are able to determine topics as a group that address current needs and issues. In addition to the excellent information presented, we are also able to share best practices, ideas, and peer-to-peer support.”

“It’s a lot like a unique club that meets once a month. I find it really supportive to meet other people who have similar problems and experiences and see how they handle these issues.  It also helps to understand how their boards deal with different situations.  Fundraising is always a topic and it’s great to hear how my colleagues are doing in raising funds to support their missions.”

If you feel joining the circle would positively enhance your role as a nonprofit leader or for more information please contact Roxann Ball at 806.376.4521 or roxann@aaf-hf.org,

Or you can register HERE

NLNE The Partners: Amarillo College

In this edition of “The Partners,” we sit down with Amarillo College’s Presidents, Russell Lowery-Hart.  

No Limits No Excuses: How did Amarillo College originally get involved with No Limits No Excuses?

Amarillo College: When Partners for Postsecondary Success (PPS) first came out with the Gates Grant, the Foundation pulled people together, and Amarillo College was in that room. I remember vividly seeing all the organizations in the room, talking about educational attainment, and I’m thinking, this is the opportunity for Amarillo College to integrate itself into the community more fully. I felt like people supported the College but didn’t understand it because I wasn’t sure the college had been truly responsive to all of our partners. To have a unifying goal as a community gave me great clarity where I could come back to Amarillo College and immediately start linking things that we wanted to do to the goal or redesign things to fulfill that goal.

 

It was a natural fit, immediately, and it gave a framework for our work internally, not just for the partnership. Our PPS coaches gave us a framework that we started evaluating all of our interventions against. It gave us the context of a living wage. And now, we won’t entertain starting a program that doesn’t start with a living wage or won’t lead to a living wage and a pathway.

 

NLNE: What has kept AC’s involvement through this five-year process?

AC: Because it’s made us better. It helped us understand our students more fully so that we could serve the students we have, not the students we wish we had or thought we had. It’s integrated us with other partners like AISD, Workforce Solutions, and the ACE program.

I feel like we’re all unified because we’re all working toward the same goal.  Before No Limits, No Excuses, we all had individual goals that weren’t aligned. So, we keep coming back because the partnerships generate new approaches and more effective outcomes for our students.

 

NLNE: How has the partnership increased your relationships with other institutions, and what do those look like now?

AC: Well, in some really tangible ways. Workforce Solutions now has an employee that they pay that is housed in our career center and we share their software.  We can take someone that Workforce Solutions is serving, find them a job and put them in an academic or certificate program simultaneously. So, it’s integrating effort, and that’s the best example of what’s happened through this partnership.

NLNE: I always say this when I’m talking about NLNE, it’s obvious that Amarillo College, Amarillo ISD, and WT had a relationship prior to NLNE.  However, It seems like the intentionality of the relationships brought on by NLNE, and sitting in the same room and having conversations, is really the genesis of success and culture change for No Limits, No Excuses.

AC: We have a shared goal and have developed more trust.  We’re sharing data to support that shared goal, and when you have that, you don’t see yourselves as competitors. We’ve worked together before NLNE, but I don’t think we worked together as effectively. We saw each other as competition, and I think that has completely subsided.  NLNE partner employees are working at the same table to design programs and in NLNE work groups to better serve our community. You build relationships that build trust that build integrated services.  I love the partnership that we have, and I love the relationship that the three most important educational entities in our community have as a result of NLNE.

 

NLNE: What changes in culture in regards to universal achievement have you seen?

AC: One is a complete focus on data. We used to worship the anecdotal, and take the anecdotal as the gospel for every student. So, if we had one student from Palo Duro High School that came to AC and transferred to WT, and then got a job on Wall Street, then it proved how amazing we were when we had a whole swath of students that didn’t have that same experience.

Universal achievement forced us to focus on the “universal” part of achievement and not cherry-pick the stories we liked. We needed to own the stories we didn’t like, and then to put data to it and do system analysis of it – this process has truly been transformative for us. But if you want to take credit for that person’s success, you also have to take the blame for a student’s failure. Before the No Excuses approach to our work as an institution and as a community, we didn’t want to take ownership of our students’ failures.

Our big marketing push right now is “Success IS …” , and we’re trying to highlight students that have gone through Amarillo College, maybe went on to WT and then worked in this community. If we’re going to change the future of the community,

we have got to stop talking about success as getting out. Success is not defined by getting out. Success is defined by getting a degree and a job and staying in.

 

NLNE: What role does Amarillo College play in or serve as a partner?

AC: I’m probably not the person to ask that question. I think in a lot of ways, we can help the partnership glue things together. We are the glue between the ISD high school graduate and the bachelor’s degree. We’re the glue between the ISD and the workforce, and I feel that pressure, and I need my colleagues in Amarillo College to feel that pressure. We say Amarillo is only as strong as its college because if we can serve this partnership with this community successfully, everybody is going to be successful.  But if we can’t, then the whole community loses and that keeps me up at night.

NLNE: What does the future look like for education, post-secondary education in the workforce?

AC: It has to look different than it does now. It has to be… more seamless. There will be more focused on giving students pathways to options. But for a community college, we need to be a gateway for opportunity, and so, we need to give students a foundational understanding of what their options are, but they don’t necessarily have to define those options here. They need to find them at WT or at Tech, or wherever they go.

 

NLNE: What impact has NLNE had on your organization, culturally and physically?

AC: Culturally, I think it’s given us more confidence in our place in the community. We understand our role more fully and have embraced it and are excited about it. Structurally and philosophically, it’s had an enormous impact on Amarillo College. It gave us a no excuses philosophy; it connected us to the No Excuses University.

 

NLNE:    Define “no excuses”.

AC: For me, that means that at Amarillo College, every student has the opportunity to succeed because we’ve built systems for them to be successful. But when they’re not successful, we don’t have any excuses for that failure. It means we didn’t have the right person, the right policy, the right support or the right process in place to ensure that success. We have to give students opportunity without limits. But we can’t have excuses for lack of achievement, and we used to swim in those excuses: demographics, first-generation status, income level, test scores. Those are influences that are essential to understanding, but they’re not excuses anymore.

So, for us, that’s changed our philosophy but it’s structurally changed us as well.  Without No Limits, No Excuses, we wouldn’t have a Career Center, food pantries, clothing closets and an entire systemic approach to social services.  We wouldn’t have a coach’s champions program, a Money Management Center, the Texas Workforce Commission, and a Workforce Solutions office on our campus, jointly serving students.

We would just be a typical community college without the partnerships, and now we’re a place that’s really special.

 

NLNE: What impact have you seen No Limits, No Excuses have on the community?

AC: Here’s what I love – I think that it’s had a real impact on understanding what our education attainment levels are, and why everyone should care about them.  Why it affects everyone on a personal level, and that, instead of memorializing the demographic shifts that are happening, and the growth of poverty, we can make a collective impact and redefine and redirect the future of this community, and we can do it together, and only together.

 

NLNE: How would you characterize success for No Limits, No Excuses?

AC: I think success for No Limits, No Excuses is when Amarillo Colleges gets to a 70 percent completion rate, because it’ll take the community to make that happen. Success is when there is a more diversified economy because we have an educated workforce to support it. Success is when poverty rates go down and more of our citizens are in a living wage. Success is when our property values go up because there is a broader part of this community that’s supporting the infrastructure that we need to grow.

 

NLNE: What other thoughts do you have about No Limits, No Excuses?

AC: The shift for me in NLNE from 2009 when we started talking about this collective impact to 2017 is that, when I think about the organizations that are a part of the partnership, before I just thought about them as organizations in our community that we either had to work through or work around, and now, I see friends that are trying to help me fulfil my mission

 

 

Alone We Can Do Little, Together We Can Do Much!

It is no secret that when women choose to work together, great feats can be accomplished. The Women’s Philanthropy Fund is a shining example of this. In 2008, the Amarillo Area Foundation and a group of highly motivated women established the Women’s Philanthropy Fund to demonstrate that by combining their contributions, they could provide solutions to ongoing challenges. Since 2009, 168 women have provided contributions totaling more than $475,000 and have granted $290,000 to 31 nonprofit organizations for the benefit of women, children, and families.

“The Women’s Philanthropy Fund is unique in its use of pooled funds to empower organizations to make new programs possible and take existing programs to the next level. Grants from the fund make real and lasting differences in the lives of women and children the Texas Panhandle,” states Carolina Walden, Women’s Philanthropy Fund Advisory Board member. And there are no signs of slowing down. Women’s Philanthropy Fund members hold a firm belief that women and children play a vital role in our community and empowering them is crucial to the wellbeing of the entire population of the Texas Panhandle. When one woman succeeds or one child prospers, everyone benefits.

Grant recipients are not the only people who benefit from the Women’s Philanthropy Fund. Each year, members of the Women’s Philanthropy Fund have the opportunity to come together and make the decision of which organizations will receive grants from the money these individual women have pooled together. Through this process, friendships are forged, experience is gained, and education about the needs in our area as well as the organizations that provide help is obtained. Lizzie Mason, Women’s Philanthropy Fund Advisory Board member, says it best, “The Women’s Philanthropy membership is made up of a dynamic group of women who want to do good in the Texas Panhandle. I love being a part of this group because we learn about so many different needs involving women and children in our community, and we actually help them!”

If you would like to make a difference and improve quality of life for women and children, we invite you to join us as a member in 2017 as we expand our voice throughout the Texas Panhandle. Women 39 and under can join with a Silver Membership for $500 annually. The Gold Membership is $1000 annually, and arrangements can be made for any membership to be paid out monthly. However, your charitable membership contribution is due by July 31, 2017, to allow voting on grants at the September 14th meeting. Please contact Amy Lovell, at 806-376-4521 or amy@aaf-hf.org with any questions. For further information, please visit our website at https://www.amarilloareafoundation.org/WPF.

If you would like to join now, CLICK HERE. After DESIGNATION, select Women’s Philanthropy Fund from the drop-down menu.

To view a list of organizations who have benefited from the Women’s Philanthropy Fund in the past, please Click Here.

NLNE The Partners: WORKFORCE SOLUTIONS

No Limits No Excuses: How was Workforce Solutions originally involved in NLNE?

Workforce Solutions: We became involved with the original Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant application.  There was an invitation to the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission, and then that invitation eventually came our way too.  We were also involved with Panhandle Twenty/20 which initiated a lot of the relationships. Gary Pitner thought that after the initial process for the Gates grant, Workforce would be a natural partner, and here we are.

NLNE: What has kept Workforce Solutions involved in this process for the 5+ years?

WS: We have been asked to play a very important role in this initiative, and that always brings us back to the table.  If you’re asked to just show up to meetings and occasionally participate, then you might just fade away, but we have been asked to be an important player.  We have been asked to build a lot of the structure and the documentation for the success plan.  We were very invested in that process.  NLNE fits what we’re trying to accomplish as an organization.  What we want for our employers and job seekers is to fit each other’s needs.   The idea to train students in a future workforce just dovetails into what we’re trying to accomplish already.  This work is what we would be doing, a lot smaller scale, but because of the players, resources, and relationships, it’s getting done faster and more effectively.  We also stay involved because we see progress. We see things happening.  We are seeing the needle move, and we are optimistic that we are going to continue to see this happen. We signed on to a project that had a 15-year lifespan, and we did that intentionally.

NLNE: How has the partnership increased your relationships with other institutions.

WS: We are part of the conversation a lot earlier in the lives of students than we have been previously.  We were having to deal with students however they came to us, now we are getting to influence the discussion earlier.  We have a stronger voice in the school district than we did a few years ago. We are getting to be the voice of the employer and speak for them to the educational system.  We have had a lot of events and the relationships within the partnership have made those events even more successful.  A good example is what we have put a lot of emphasis on which we call career fairs or career exploration events.  Those events are much easier to build with the relationships we have with AISD.  Amarillo College accomplishes outcomes with all of use working together.  Another great example is the Career Explorer videos that we created.  We already had intentions of creating videos to highlight in-demand occupations. Allowing No Limits No Excuses to be the marketing piece so thousands of students will view these videos, that has really allowed us to leverage our work to an even greater scale.   We have always had these relationships, but inside NLNE, it’s intensified and they trust us and value us because we are on the same page.

NLNE: What changes in culture in regard to universal achievement have you seen in our area?

WS: I receive tweets from my children’s high school all the time.  They are sending information about deadlines for scholarship and FAFSA.  About two months ago, the counselor sent a tweet about the apprenticeship opportunities for the electrical apprenticeship program.  I thought to myself, “we’ve made some progress.”  I am totally impressed that we are now acknowledging at the high school level that an apprenticeship program is equivalent to a college scholarship.  Educators are now understanding that career and technical education is just as valuable as a four-year degree, and we’ve come a long way when that’s the reality.  It was a milestone in my mind.

NLNE: What role does Workforce Solutions play inside the NLNE partnership

WS:  We understand that we have a long-term goal of investing in the success plan and we are looking at a 15-year project.  Our role is to continue the course and still accomplish the parts that need to happen.  There are a lot of specific activities that we need to continue accomplishing, like our career fairs and the continuation of the career spotlight videos.  We need to provide resources to continue those.

NLNE:  What does the future of postsecondary education and workforce look like for our area?

WS: I hope our future workforce looks at what jobs are going to pay, and what jobs are in demand and then decides on an educational pathway that gets them to a productive end.  A more informed educational pathway is the short answer.

NLNE: What impact has NLNE had on your organization physically or culturally?

WS: Postsecondary education is part of our culture at Workforce Solutions. Given the mix of federal and state programs, it already exists part of our organization.  I think the Career Explorer videos are really a quality product that we may not have invested as much time and energy into if we didn’t realize how they were going to be promoted and utilized with NLNE.  Our willingness to dedicate staff time and funds was based on the knowledge that it was going to be fully utilized with NLNE’s help.  We are also having bigger and better career fairs and we are looking for an even bigger event next year.

NLNE: What impact has NLNE had on the community?

WS: I value what AISD, Amarillo College, and the other partners do to really address the needs of the student.  When I shop at the grocery store and ask my sacker what his plan is, and I was sharing the story with friend and they had the same sacker because the stories matched up perfectly.  We were very impressed with what the young man shared in his very detailed plan.

NLNE: How would you characterize success for NLNE

WS: I think success looks like the very high-level financial aid and FAFSA applications we have seen.  That then must translate to attendance at your community colleges and universities.  For me I would characterize success when there is a waiting list to get into the career and technical programs in our area.  When there is more interest in those areas than we have capacity for, that is success in my mind.

NLNE:  Is there anything else you’d like to share about Workforce Solutions and NLNE?

We have asked the community to give a lot of resources to help this initiative over a long period of time.  I hope that when we get to 2025, this initiative is going to change the culture of our community.  We want to prove to those that invested in NLNE that it was a good investment.

New Blog Series Announced!

We will be starting a new blog series beginning next week.  One of the programs of the Amarillo Area Foundation is No Limits No Excuses.  This initiative is made up of over 25 partners who are working to create pathways for post-secondary success.

We think you’ll find this blog series extremely interesting as you see the complete picture of why NLNE is so impactful.  You will also learn how the partnership is shaped and how it’s working to create a community with increased education across all socioeconomic levels.

We begin the series with a look at Workforce Solutions.  We will share these posts across our social media platform, but you can always subscribe to get our blog updates in your inbox, browser, or wherever you choose. Here the link to subscribe: http://bit.ly/aaf_RSS

 

Harrington Regional Medical Campus: 2017 Request for Proposals

The mission of the AAF Community Health Foundation, otherwise known as the Harrington Regional Medical Campus (HRMC), is to promote quality of life in the Texas Panhandle through exceptional healthcare, education, and research. Applications are now being accepted for the 2017 HRMC Resident Grant Program and the HRMC Community Health Grant Program.  The goal of the grant programs is to improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare ultimately leading to an improved quality of life for residents of the top 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle.

Both grant programs are competitive and proposals will be accepted from eligible organizations.  Eligible organizations are those that hold a current tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and include a nonprofit organization, recognized government entity: state, county, or city agency, that are requesting funds exclusively for public purposes; a K-12 public school, community/junior college, state college or university; or a faith-based organization with a proposed project that benefits the community at large.

HRMC Resident Grant Program: The HRMC Board will accept grant applications from Medical Center campus resident organizations for projects and capital improvements.  Preference will be given to Ronald McDonald House, Turn Center, Amarillo Botanical Gardens, Don Harrington Discovery Center, and Coffee Memorial Blood Center.   $21,000 is available and proposals for up to $20,000 will be accepted. High priority will be given to specific project-related proposals.  Operational support is a low priority.

HRMC Community Health Grant Program: The HRMC Board will accept grant proposals for healthcare related projects from eligible organizations located throughout the 26-county region.  $42,000 is available and proposals for up to $20,000 will be accepted.  High priority will be given to specific project-related proposals as well as challenge and/or matching grants.  Proposals will be accepted for capital projects, capacity building, innovative projects, and research projects.  Operational support is a low priority.

Organizations may only submit one grant application per year; however, Medical Center campus residents may submit a grant application to both the HRMC Resident Grant Program and the HRMC Community Health Grant Program in the same year.

Go to www.amarilloareafoundation.org/hrmc-grant-programs to learn more about HRMC.

2017 Proposal Submission Deadlines

The Amarillo Area Foundation will accept applications for both the HRMC Resident Grant program and the HRMC Community Health Grant Program until noon on Friday, September 1, 2017.  Applications for both grant programs must be submitted through the Foundation’s online portal which can be accessed on the Internet at aaf.spectrumportal.net. Applications or parts of applications submitted in any other manner (paper, e-mail, etc.) will not be accepted.  For more information regarding the online application please see www.amarilloareafoundation.org/application-2016

Selection Process

Both grant programs are competitive.  Applications will be reviewed by AAF staff for eligibility and completeness.  The HRMC Board of Directors will review the applications in October and make funding decisions.  Organizations will be notified of funding decisions in late October.

Contact information

Contact grants@aaf-hf.org or call 806.376.4521 with any questions.

THREE AREA ORGANIZATIONS TEAM UP TO HELP THOSE AFFECTED BY THE WILDFIRES

Amarillo Area Contact: Broc Carter | Broc@aaf-hf.org

Texas, Panhandle – The Amarillo Area Foundation, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, and the Working Ranch Cowboys Foundation are teaming up to help ranchers impacted by the wildfires across the Panhandle region.  Monetary relief can be given to those affected by donating to the Amarillo Area Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund.

“The ranching community has been hit hard”, said Gary Morton, WRCA Foundation president. “The effects of the fires for most of the families will be felt for years to come, and without a turn in the weather conditions the threat of further wildfires grows with each passing day.  We are grateful to the Amarillo Area Foundation and Texas Cattle Feeders Association for their collaboration with the WRCA Foundation on this relief effort.”

The fires across the Panhandle and High Plains have devastated hundreds of thousands of acres of ranch land, thousands of miles of fence and killed and maimed livestock and worst of all four lives were lost.  Yet after the fires are contained the devastation continues in lost or damaged livelihoods.

Most ranch hands and some owners do not have the insurance to cover loss in equipment and working resources.  The WRCF is helping to meet that need through its Wildfire Relief Fund.  All funds will be distributed through WRCF’s relief distribution procedures and will be extended to ranchers to help them withstand the long-term effects of this disaster.

“The people of this area are no stranger to the devastation Mother Nature can bring, and it is truly encouraging to see our communities come together to take care of their friends and neighbors in this time of great need,” said Jim Lovell, TCFA Chairman.  “Many of our TCFA members have already contributed to this effort, but for any who may not yet have had the opportunity to give, I would like to encourage them to make a contribution to this important fund through the WRCA.”

Donations can be made HERE!

About the WRCA Foundation

The Working Ranch Cowboys Association is headquartered in Amarillo, TX.  The mission of WRCA is to promote ranching and to preserve the lifestyle of the working rancher and the working ranch cowboy.  In 2001, WRCA formed a foundation with the mission of providing financial assistance to ranchers, working ranch cowboys and their families through scholarship funding and crisis assistance.

About the Amarillo Area Foundation

The Amarillo Area Foundation is a community foundation that serves the northernmost 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle.  The mission of the Foundation is to improve the quality of life for Texas Panhandle residents.  Since its inception in 1957, the Foundation has provided grants and a variety of other services to strengthen nonprofit organizations and the services they deliver.

She Gives: Myrna Raffkind

In the fourth edition of She Gives we felt like we must address one of the “She Gives” pioneers in our community!  Myrna Raffkind’s legacy of community service will remain in our community forever.

The passion that Myrna Raffkind held for helping others was illustrated in many ways during her lifetime.  As an advocate for organizations such as Coalition for the Homeless, Martha’s Home, Los Barrios de Amarillo, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition, and Family Support Services, Myrna educated the public about those in need and what could be done to alleviate those needs.  She wrote numerous letters to the newspaper editor as a call to action for others to step up and make a difference.

At first glance, Myrna might not look the part of a super crusader.  Small in stature, she was feisty and fun, beloved by scores of family and friends.  Myrna enlisted the help of anyone who would listen as she worked tirelessly to help individuals and families who found themselves homeless due to addiction, mental illness, and domestic violence.  She was humble and compassionate, treating everyone as her equal.

In recent years, as head of the Amarillo Community Relations Committee, Myrna brought together leaders from across the community to discuss issues facing Amarillo.  Her goal was a community that worked together for the benefit of all residents.

Myrna was connected with many funds held at the Amarillo Area Foundation including the Benjamin Gimp Raffkind Memorial Scholarship Fund, established for her son who passed away in 1998.  Myrna was a firm believer in the value of education, seeing it as key for success in life.

Celebrated as the Amarillo Globe-News Woman of the Year in 2010, Myrna also received the Dr. R. W. Jones Freedom Fund Achievement Award in 2011 from the Amarillo NAACP.  Other honors include the Amarillo Women’s Network Lifetime Achievement Award and the National Association of Social Workers’ Public Citizen of the Year.

While Myrna was known for her ability to bring people together for a worthy cause, it is perhaps her ability to connect with others one-on-one that will be most remembered.  She would often send a personal note or make a call to let someone know she was thinking of them.  It is these personal connections to others that truly made Myrna special.

Myrna’s passing on January 30, 2017 caused many to pause and remember the many acts of kindness that she carried out daily.  Myrna exemplified the Mahatma Gandhi quote “be the change you wish to see in the world” and leaves behind a challenge for others to do the same.

Celebrating 60 years

We’ve hit quite a milestone this year – we turned 60!  We have been at work for six decades to improve quality of life in the Texas Panhandle.  This work is not accomplished without the incredible donors who provide the seeds, the board of directors who steward those seeds, the staff who nurture those seeds, and the hundreds of nonprofits who cultivate those seeds in our communities.

In the beginning, we were established to form strategies to address the healthcare needs of our area.  This work continues with the reacquisition of the Harrington Regional Medical Campus.  The development of the medical center greatly transformed healthcare in our area.  That was the intended goal and the advancements continue as the landscape of healthcare changes.

During the past 60 years, the early healthcare focus blossomed into what we are today and the philanthropic impact we make each year.  Through impactful grants, convening the community, and creating strategic partners, we are working to improve the breadth of the philanthropic investments and climate in the Panhandle.

Follow along this year as we celebrate the various milestones of those 60 years through our social media channels, blog posts, and quarterly newsletter.  Share your stories with Broc Carter via email (broc@aaf-hf.org).

Most importantly, find a charitable organization that you think is doing great work, and make a donation to them.  This seemingly small act has a huge impact!   You can even donate right here: https://www.amarilloareafoundation.org/GiveNow