ACE Scholarship Program to Wind Down 

The current Achievement through Commitment to Education (ACE) scholarship program will wind down over the coming years as the Amarillo Area Foundation begins work with community partners to create a sustainable new program to help students gain an education beyond high school.  The Amarillo Area Foundation has operated the ACE program for more than 24 years. 

“The success of the ACE program will be felt in the Panhandle region for decades,” said Clay Stribling, President and CEO of the Amarillo Area Foundation. “We are proud of the success of the program and the scholars who were inspired to greater achievement through ACE.” 

The ACE program will continue supporting students who have signed an ACE pledge, including students who were classified as freshmen through seniors in high school during the last academic year and those pursuing higher education now. However, no new high school students will be enrolled in the program. 

“ACE will pay scholarships as long as funding remains, and the Amarillo Area Foundation is dedicated to the task of finding community partners to meet the commitment to existing scholars in the program,” Stribling said. 

ACE began in 1994 at Palo Duro High School and later expanded to Caprock High School and to qualifying students at Tascosa High School.  The program provided participants with college tuition, books, and fees if they met certain criteria. Since its inception, ACE scholars have earned 2,319 certificates and degrees, including 14 doctoral degrees. Approximately $8.3 million in ACE scholarships have benefited students over the life of the program.  

“Funding for higher education is a need for many families in our region, and we recognize it is critical to our future,” Stribling said. “As we continue our work with community partners on a scholarship program to address the needs of all AISD students, I encourage parents and others with questions, concerns, or ideas to contact the foundation.” 

Heroes in the air

In the early morning of April 28, 2017, a plane crashed just south of the Rick Husband International Airport.  Aboard the Rico aviation air ambulance was Melissa Riola’s best friend, her husband, Scott, who was a flight nurse.

Scott and Melissa Riola

Scott and Melissa were high school sweethearts who had been together for 14 years, but Scott was not initially in nursing.  It was Melissa who encouraged him to move into that career.   It was his second career, but one he thrived in as a flight nurse. Melissa got a job offer to come to Amarillo right after graduating from nurse anesthetist school.  Scott received his nursing degree from Amarillo College earlier, so the two had a connection and knew the medical community well.    Working for RICO was Scott’s dream job.

Scott in his flight suit.

Melissa looked for a way to honor Scott’s heroic legacy and approached the Amarillo Area Foundation to set up a scholarship fund for students who were studying to be a flight nurse in the Panhandle of Texas.  There are 4 flight crews in the Panhandle, so there is quite a bit of opportunity in the area.

Melissa wearing the medal that honored Scott and holding the flag presented to her during the memorial ceremony.

In October of 2017, Melissa received a phone call from the National EMS memorial service that happens every year in Washington DC.  They explained that a component of the event was a 500-mile bike ride to honor those who had fallen in the line of duty in the prior year.  The gentleman on the phone was calling to make her aware that he would be riding to honor Scott and would be wearing Scott’s dog tags.  Melissa, an athlete, said, “Thank you for the honor, but I am going to ride for my husband, that’s how I will honor him.”  The challenge was Melissa had never been a road biker. She again drew on the medical community seeking out those who could help her prepare for this enormous undertaking.

“I am a spiritual person, and I know I am supposed to do this because I feel close to Scott,” Melissa said. “The ride is going through my hometown of Yonkers, New York and it’s a healing journey for me.”

Melissa got a bike and began her training and on May 11th, she flew to the beginning of the pilgrimage.

 

If you would like to donate to the Scott Riola Memorial Scholarship Fund, please CLICK HERE (select the Scott Riola fund in the drop-down menu)

May Grant Cycle Recap

 

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

Amarillo Area Foundation Latest Grant Cycle Provides Majority of Funds to Rural Grants 

Amarillo- TX – The service area for the Foundation is the top 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle. The Amarillo Area Foundation’s (AAF) latest grant cycle provides $574,000 in grants to rural communities.  This is aligned with a concerted effort by AAF to enhance communities outside of Potter and Randall counties.   

“It is the mission of the Amarillo Area Foundation to improve quality of life for residents in the top 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle. For 2018, one of our goals is to focus on improving our connection with the rural communities in the Panhandle,” said Jackie Pearson, AAF Board Chair, and Spearman resident. 

59% of grants were allocated to the rural communities of: Childress, Clarendon, Cactus, Dalhart, Hereford, and Vega.  These grants represented 54% of all dollars granted in the May grant cycle.  

“While our discretionary grant cycle is only one way AAF serves the Texas Panhandle, it is perhaps the most familiar.  We recently approved 11 discretionary grants and 6 of those grants were awarded to nonprofits in rural communities,” said Pearson. 

Below is the complete list of grants awarded: 

 

The next discretionary grant deadline is June 29th at noon.  Organizations interested in applying can check eligibility here: CLICK HERE 

Farewell Katharyn

In the fall of 2006, I received a call from Charlotte Rhodes asking if I might be interested in a position at the Amarillo Area Foundation.  I did not know much about the Foundation, but the opportunity to work with and learn from Charlotte was appealing.  Eleven years later, I am preparing to leave this amazing organization which has changed my life forever.

How often does one have an opportunity to engage in work that can improve the lives of others?  While my title and duties at the Foundation have changed many times, the fulfillment of knowing I was helping in a small way to make a difference has been constant.  This job has allowed me to interact with nonprofit staff and volunteers from across the Panhandle, seeing first-hand the change that can be created by a compassionate and determined group of people.

The people with whom I have worked at the Foundation are a second family.  We have shared joys and sorrows, achievements and a few embarrassing moments.  From Phil the spider and Christmas decorating to road trips and “Minute to Win It” competitions, I will take hundreds of special memories with me.

What a blessing it has been to work with such caring and dedicated Foundation board members.  I have learned so much from your examples of leadership, empathy, and respect.  Thanks for all that you do to improve quality of life for residents of the Texas Panhandle.

I am excited to begin a new chapter of my career as President and CEO for the Mary E. Bivins Foundation.  To all of those mentioned above, thanks for making the last eleven years such a memorable experience.

The Heroic Legacy of Kathy Ryan


In the 2006 wildfires a hero, Kathy Ryan, lost her life.  As a tribute to their mother, Kathy’s children set up a fund at the Amarillo Area Foundation.  The goal of the fund is to provide grants to rural fire and rescue entities to increase fire education, allow for important equipment to be purchased or to expand work that is already taking place.  The Fund, established by the family of Kathy Ryan and the law firm of Lovell, Lovell, Isern, & Farabough and managed by the Amarillo Area Foundation, has given more than $50,000 in grants to deserving first responder organizations in the Texas Panhandle – excluding Potter and Randall counties.

Pamela Ayers and Tonya Griffin award a $10,000 grant to Chief Curtis Brown from the Dalhart Volunteer Fire Department.

2018 Grant Recipient

Today at the Amarillo Area Foundation offices, Kathy’s children were able to give a $10,000 grant to the Dalhart Volunteer Fire Department to help build a training facility for fire and rescue operations in Dallam, Hartley, and Sherman Counties.

How You Can Help!

If you would like to donate to the Kathy Ryan Fund, please CLICK HERE
(Choose Kathy Ryan Fund from the drop-down menu)         

More About Kathy Ryan

Here’s a look at the live video from this morning’s announcement and grant recipient.

 

Disaster Relief Fund in Texas Panhandle

For a number of years, the Amarillo Area Foundation has maintained the Panhandle Natural Disaster Fund to help residents in the top 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle during times of disaster.  The purpose of this fund is to have a venue in which donations can easily be made to support and bring relief to Texas Panhandle Residents.

Our work in 2017

In 2017, wildfires brought pain and destruction to the Texas Panhandle with loss of life, livestock, and property.  The AAF Panhandle Disaster Relief Fund was used to support the efforts of the Working Ranch Cowboy Association to mitigate the loss to the cowboys and ranchers impacted by the fires.  Generous donors, some from outside the 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle, gave to bring relief.

How the fund works

The Foundation is not legally allowed to make distributions directly to individuals, but will make the distributions to the non-profit organizations on the frontlines of those affected. Our goal is long-term disaster relief as funds allow, because when the disaster is over it’s just the beginning of getting things back to normal.

Whether it is wildfires, tornados, hail or any other natural disaster, the Amarillo Area Foundation stands ready to receive donations to supply the needed assistance.

You do not have to wait for a disaster — consider supporting before the storm. Gifts of any size will help those in their time of need.

Here’s the link to donate, now: CLICK HERE

If you would like more information regarding the Panhandle Disaster Relief Fund, please contact Trent Hill, 806.376.4521.

 

Panhandle Disaster Relief Fund to help the top 26 counties as the drought conditions continue

Amarillo, TX – The Panhandle Disaster Relief Fund, established to help those affected by natural disasters in the Texas Panhandle, is seeking donations as a devastating drought continues to worsen in the area.  As disasters happen across the area, the Amarillo Area Foundation works with local and regional organizations to help offset the burdens left in the wake of the incidents.

In 2017, the fund helped cattle ranchers who were devastated by the March fires that spread across the Panhandle and High Plains. Those fires devastated hundreds of thousands of acres of ranch land and thousands of miles of fence, killed and maimed livestock and, worst of all, caused the loss of four lives. After the fires were contained, help was needed as quickly as possible.

100% of donations will be sent directly to those impacted by disasters and can be made on Amarillo Area Foundation’s website (amarilloareafoundation.org).  Donations are needed immediately as the region heads into the spring season and the extended forecast doesn’t include rain. It’s a critical time to receive donations in order to be able to meet any needs effectively should a disaster arise.

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 Power of a Grant

The Panhandle of Texas is a beautiful place full of open spaces and the best sunsets you’ve ever seen.  The 26-county area is also known to have more head of cattle than people.  The mostly rural landscape presents challenges when you begin to talk about student access to training for careers.  School districts in our rural communities have limited resources available for students to pursue studies in the area of healthcare.

The costs of implementing programs in healthcare are often too much for a rural school district to facilitate.  Lack of funding creates a problem for students to get clinical experience and familiarity in healthcare.  These issues persist while shortages of healthcare workers exist nation-wide.

There has to be a better way!  Thanks to the Coalition of Health Services, Amarillo ISD’s AACAL campus, and SimCentral there is a solution to these challenges.  Using technology to give students access to the training needed for in-demand careers is exactly the type of project that the Amarillo Area Foundation funds.

Here’s a look at the impact of this grant:

CNS Pantex 2018 Grant Cycle

 

 

Amarillo Area Foundation Request for Grant Proposals

March 1, 2018

On behalf of Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC, responsible for the management and operations of the Pantex Plant, the Amarillo Area Foundation (AAF) announces a Request for Proposals (RFP).  The Advisory Committee for the CNS Pantex Community Investment Fund, a component fund of the Amarillo Area Foundation, will entertain proposals from nonprofit and charitable institutions throughout the twenty-six northernmost counties in the Texas Panhandle (individuals and non-charitable organizations are not eligible). Grant amounts will range from $2,500 to $10,000. The application process will be competitive. Organizations who fit the eligibility requirements and whose work is in line with the priorities are encouraged to apply.  Only one application per organization will be accepted.  General operating support is a low priority.

The priorities for funding are:

  • Basic Needs (Food, Clothing, and Shelter)
  • Children, Youth, and Family
  • Community Development
  • Education
  • Health and Wellness

2017 Grant Recipient

Priority will be given to proposals from organizations located and operating in one of the twelve contiguous counties surrounding the Pantex Plant with preference given to projects that serve multiple priority counties. These counties are Armstrong, Carson, Deaf Smith, Donley, Gray, Hall, Hutchison, Moore, Oldham, Potter, Randall, and Swisher.

Applications are available online at aaf.spectrumportal.net and are due April 27, 2018 by 12:00 noon.  Please note this will be the only CNS Pantex competitive grant cycle in 2018.  See www.amarilloareafoundation.org/application-2016 for instructions on how to register in the Spectrum portal. If you have any questions, please contact grant staff at 806.376.4521 or grants@aaf-hf.org.  The anticipated timeline is below.

The Panhandle Gives 2018 Registration is NOW OPEN!

It’s TIME!  Time for what you ask?  It’s time to register your organization for the 2018 Panhandle Gives campaign!  You can help spread the word by making sure your favorite nonprofit is participating.

Exciting News

Two years ago, the Amarillo Area Foundation started a giving day that coincided with #GivingTuesday, an international day of philanthropy on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. This year we’re going bigger.  We are excited to announce that the Amarillo Area Foundation has contributed $100,000 to enhance your organization’s fundraising efforts during this campaign. This means your favorite organization could qualify for a portion of this contribution by participating in The Panhandle Gives 2018.

What You Can Do

Encourage your favorite nonprofit to register to learn how their organization can benefit from the $100,000 contribution from the Amarillo Area Foundation.

Here’s where to register: bit.ly/panhandlegives. Complete the online registration and return the agreement via email: thepanhandlegives@aaf-hf.org or mail to Amarillo Area Foundation, 801 S. Fillmore, STE 700, Amarillo, TX 79101 by 3/30/18.  The $75 registration fee is due by 4-25-18

Send this information to your favorite organizations and make sure they don’t miss out on the fun and funds!

Got questions? Click HERE for FAQ’s.