Category Archives: Education

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.” 

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:

NLNE The Partners: West Texas A&M Univesity

No Limits No Excuses: How did WTAMU get involved with No Limits, No Excuses?

West Texas A&M University: My understanding is that James Hallmark – who was the Provost at the time – had been involved with Amarillo Area Foundation and Panhandle 2020 and he was the first to hook in to what is now No Limits, No Excuses. I think they called it PPS at the time. So, he was the Provost and I was the Associate Provost, and he knew that I had been involved in  P16 initiatives for a while as a faculty member and so he asked me to start attending the meetings, and shortly after that, he left the university to go to College Station and I became the Provost.

But by that time, I think I knew enough about it that we had to be involved and  it’s something I feel strongly and passionate about, so rather than delegate it to someone else, I tried to maintain my role there. We’ve had several other people who have been involved in it as well.

 

NLNE:  What’s kept WT’s involvement during the five-plus years since No Limits, No Excuses has started?

WT: Well, I think you have to step back and look at the big picture. First of all, we’re an educational institution and so, educational attainment and providing people with high quality higher education, that’s the core mission of what we are. No Limits, No Excuses, even though it moves in lots of different directions, it looks at poverty, it looks at job training and all these other things, at its core it’s still about increasing the educational attainment of the region that we’re located in.

 

We can only thrive, we can only grow if the area that we’re located in is thriving and growing as well, and so in a sense, that’s maybe self-serving because a strong Panhandle means a strong WT. But more importantly, it’s what we’re put here to do. It’s our goal. It’s our mission. It’s to reach as many people in the area as we can and provide them with educational opportunities, and I think to partner with Amarillo College, to partner with AISD, to partner with business and to integrate ourselves into the community even more strongly than we already are.

 

NLNE: How has the partnership increased your relationship with other institutions?

WT: I guess I’ll answer that in two parts. Personally, I have gained such a broader understanding of how Amarillo College operates, the leadership there, their mission and certainly, the same is true of AISD. For a lot of people at the university, we don’t have to think very much or very hard about the independent school districts that are in the region.

I always joke about college professors who think that their students drop from the heavens on the first day of class, and don’t have any prior experience or knowledge. So, to learn about the issues facing them, to learn for instance, about the level of poverty, the number of children who are on free and reduced lunches, to learn about the breadth of programming that Amarillo College has.

All that is knowledge that I carry to meetings that I have on campus when we talk about, what’s our goal, what’s our vision, how do we connect with these people? It just provides me with the breadth of knowledge I didn’t have, and then connections, quite honestly, to important people like Russell Lowery-Hart and Dana West. I would probably not move in those circles otherwise if I didn’t have this connection.

As an institution, I think that the answer is also very similar. I try to share that information as I said, in meetings when I’m with the deans, when I’m with the President, when I’m with other people, to either clarify things or to point out chances for us to partner, or chances for us to work on a common initiative. Dr. Wendler is very open and very interested in those sorts of things, so I think that will pick up some steam now that he’s assumed his leadership role here on campus. Continue reading

Sybil Harrington Day, October 13th

Early Life

A native of Amarillo, Sybil Harrington was the granddaughter of Amarillo pioneers Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Hughes and the daughter of the late Frank and Roxy Buckingham.

In 1935, she married Donald D. Harrington, a legend in the booming Texas oil and gas industry.

The Arts

In their travels, the Harringtons enjoyed collecting art. They sought out works by Matisse, Renoir, Chagall, Pissarro, Monet and Cassatt before most collectors recognized their value.

Mrs. Harrington donated a portion of the collection to the Phoenix Museum of Art. Her historic home at 1600 S. Polk now operates as a house museum with a collection of decorative arts and furnishings.

Her devotion to the arts continued with her gifts to the Metropolitan Opera in New York City and the Juilliard School of Music.

She supported all facets of the visual and performing arts with her gifts, including support for the Amarillo Symphony and Lone Star Ballet production of “The Nutcracker” every Christmas and production of the musical drama “Texas” in Palo Duro Canyon.

She funded $1.2 million in scholarships at West Texas A&M University. The school’s board of regents dedicated the Sybil B. Harrington School of Arts and Humanities on the Canyon campus in 1989 to honor her.

The school also bestowed its first honorary doctorate on her in 1994.

Charity

The Harrington name became synonymous with every successful charitable and cultural endeavor throughout the Texas Panhandle. It appears on the regional medical center, numerous medical facilities and several of the headquarters of non-profit agencies in honor of gifts Mrs. Harrington made personally or through the Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation. After her husband’s death in 1974, she became president of the foundation. The foundation continues to make grants to organizations throughout the Panhandle as part of the Amarillo Area Foundation.

The Boy Scouts honored her with the council’s first James E. West award in 1994 to recognize her support.

Legacy

In 1983, Amarillo declared Oct. 13 as Sybil Harrington Day to honor her on her birthday. The Amarillo Globe-News listed contributions from her and the foundation to 89 Amarillo organizations and agencies.

The Harrington Library Consortium links academic and public libraries throughout the Panhandle.

Mrs. Harrington’s gifts of almost $17.5 million made the Don and Sybil Harrington Cancer Center possible. The medical center became the Harrington Regional Medical Center in 1990 to recognize her personal contributions and grants.

To support higher education, she established the Sybil B. Harrington Scholarship Fund of the Amarillo College Foundation.

The University of Texas received a gift of oil and gas properties from the Harrington Foundation worth $4.35 million, plus a gift of $1.5 million in 1992.

Mrs. Harrington died Sept. 17, 1998.

Foundations Invest Over $8.7 Million in the Health of Panhandle Communities

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Honoring its mission to improve quality of life for Texas Panhandle residents, the Amarillo Area Foundation announces annual distributions totaling $8.7 million for 2016. With more than 450 grants, the Foundation is helping to continue the important work of nonprofit organizations in the 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle. The Harrington Regional Medical Campus had its first-ever grant cycle after joining the Amarillo Area Foundation in 2015.  Because of the collaborative and meaningful work of various community stakeholders, the Foundation and its public supporting organization – the Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation – will invest:

$4.6 million into area communities through community fund, agency fund, and donor advised distributions;

$2 million in discretionary grants;

$1.2 million in scholarship distributions from the ACE and General Scholarship programs;

$676,000 in competitive grant programs including, CNS Pantex, Pattern Panhandle Wind, the Women’s Philanthropy Fund, the AAF Catalyst grant program, and the Kathy Ryan Memorial Fund;

$83,000 in grants from the Harrington Regional Medical Campus.

“The Amarillo Area Foundation and its supporting organizations are proud of what was accomplished by our staff and partners in 2016,” Clay Stribling, AAF CEO said. “We look forward to building on these accomplishments moving forward.”

In 2017, the Amarillo Area Foundation begins its 60th year and will continue supporting efforts that improve quality of life for Texas Panhandle residents. The strength and health of area communities continues to be the benchmark of success, and together with community support, this mission will be realized annually.

Toolbox for Fundraisers Class Recognized as an Asset by Local Nonprofits and Foundations

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For more than 20 years the Foundation has provided a platform for local fundraising professionals to share their expertise through a course originally titled “The Art of Fundraising”.  This year our 2016 “Toolbox for Fundraiser’s” cohort consists of 26 students from nonprofits across the Panhandle, six of which are sponsored to attend the 11-week course because of its dynamism and quality.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals Texas Plains Chapter sponsored two students representing Habit for Humanity and Word at Work. Teresa Hillman, current AFP President believes sponsoring professionals to take the class “is a natural fit” for AFP’s mission.  “Most of us in the nonprofit world understand that a fee for a class of this caliber is not always in our budget, especially if it is a small organization.  To help alleviate that cost, AFP is glad to help with scholarships. The Toolbox for Fundraisers class provides top quality fundraising advice and an upholds standards we adhere to as a profession,” says Hillman.

The Mary E. Bivins Foundation also sponsored Toolbox training for staff members from the Wesley Community Center as a component of a capacity building grant. Susan Severn, the Grants and Scholarships Program Officer at the Bivins Foundation says, “There are several ways to help a nonprofit move forward and make long-term sustainability plans. Whether that be board and staff training, or identifying and diversifying new sources of fundraising.” She states the reason they specifically provided funding for the Wesley Community Center is so that they can think creatively about how to cover the costs for their senior citizens’ program expenses. “The Wesley actually has quite a solid revenue model,” says Severn, “the challenge is that the population the Wesley serves through their senior program is often limited in terms of financial resources which makes covering those program costs more difficult.”

Students in this year’s Toolbox class are the recipients of over 88 years of combined fundraising knowledge from veteran fundraisers Charlotte Rhodes, Patricia A. Ward, and Katharyn Wiegand. Topics covered include: essential tools to be an effective fundraiser; establishing a development office; creating a case for support; constructing a development plan; marketing your organization; making the ask; stewarding donors; and preparing for the CFRE certification.

Participants who successfully complete the 33 hour course will receive 3.30 continuing education credits (CEUs) through Amarillo College.  This course also meets the requirements for those seeking credit hours for the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation. Upon successful completion of the course, each participant will have developed a case for support and a development plan for the organization of his/her choice.

The course fee is $250 for members of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and $295 for all others.

Fundraising can be a daunting task if you are not sure where to start or how to stay on track, especially as the number of nonprofit organizations competing for funding increases each year. Let us help put you on the track.

Contact Roxann Ball by phone at 806-376-4521 or by email at roxann@aaf-hf.org to ask about enrollment for next year’s course.

The New Face of ACE

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ACE students have completed more than 1,374 certificates and degrees and are a projected to return $2.6 billion in lifetime earnings to Amarillo’s economy.

One of the most powerful features of the ACE Scholarship Program is its ability to leverage outside sources of financial aid.  Since ACE assists students in obtaining federal, state, and local grants and scholarships, we are able to send students to college for an average cost of $1,200 per year. The ability to leverage outside aid makes ACE an excellent educational investment in Amarillo students.

As we look forward to another 20 years of assisting ACE scholars, we are asking for your help in supporting the educational aspirations of our students.  Your $100 a month actually sends a child to college through the ACE program. Will you be a face of ACE?

Meet our current ACE supporters.

Meet Christopher, an ACE student.

Visit https://www.amarilloareafoundation.org/face-of-ace to become a face of ACE today.

 

In honor of Charlotte’s Retirement

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Charlotte Rhodes, ACFRE

With much regret but the warmest of wishes we announced Charlotte’s decision to retire a few weeks ago. Given the breadth of the work Charlotte has done for the Foundation and the enormous void that will be present in her absence, we would like to take this time to highlight Charlotte’s greatest accomplishments as Vice President of Resource Development and Sustainability.

In her 11-year tenure at the Foundation, Charlotte cultivated an annual average of $10 million per year, and over $100 million total. She established countless programs and committees, the most notable of which being the Foundation’s External Relations Committee which focuses on the engagement of the Foundation with local and area leaders; the Women’s Philanthropy Program, a donor driven fund designed to meet the needs of children and women in the Texas Panhandle; a Professional Advisor Council, a group of lawyers, accountants and other professionals who provide recommendations and review the Foundation’s fundraising and legal strategies; and the Texas Convening Conferences for Postsecondary Education which gather key educators and legislators from across the state to discuss issues faced by high school and collegiate students across the state.

Charlotte has also lead or donated her expertise to make many programs and initiatives successful. Most notably she led the $5 million ACE Scholarship Expansion Campaign and oversaw the development of a $3.5 million grant from the Belinda and Melinda Gates Foundation to begin the No Limits No Excuses program. She also expanded the Nonprofit Service Center’s consulting program and fundraising classes and facilitated the development of the Citadelle Art Foundation and its conversion as a supporting organization of the Amarillo Area Foundation.

In addition to raising over $100 million for the Foundation, Charlotte has raised over $1 billion in her 40-year career as a fundraiser. An assortment of her most notable campaigns being the Don and Sybil Harrington Cancer Center Capital Campaign, Baylor College of Medicine $500 million Capital Campaign, National Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Amarillo Globe News Center for the Performing Arts, Oklahoma City Symphony Orchestra, Charles Goodnight Historical Home, Hereford Sports Plex, and most recently the Texas Panhandle War Memorial Education Center.

Charlotte is truly a big city fundraiser with West Texas roots. In 1999, Big Spring Texas High School awarded her with the Outstanding Alumni Award. She received the Outstanding Fundraising Executive Award for Houston, Texas in 2002 before she even received the Outstanding Fundraising Executive Award for Amarillo, Texas in 2005 and Amarillo Junior League Outstanding Sustaining Member. Charlotte was honored by the Amarillo Soroptimists as a “Woman Making and Difference” and by the Business and Professional Women as “Texas Women to Watch.” She currently serves as the Committee Chairman for the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Coalition and was co-chairman for the 2016 Texas Women for the Arts State Meeting.

In addition to her impressive contributions to healthcare, the arts, education and public affairs Charlotte is a published writer and has served as a regional and national consultant for over 50 institutions, organizations, and corporations. We adore Charlotte and know she is equally adored by our community. Please help us in the coming months by celebrating her and thanking her for her service to our community.

We will miss you Charlotte!

Amarillo Area Foundation Announces Completion of ACE Expansion Campaign

Blog_headerWednesday, August 31, 2016

AMARILLO, TX – In 2009, the Amarillo Area Foundation made a commitment to grow the ACE Endowment by $5 million. Growing the endowment allowed the ACE program to expand its outreach to three elementary schools in the Tasocsa High School cluster. Fifth graders attending Bivins, Margaret Wills, and San Jacinto elementary schools are now eligible for ACE scholarship funds if they enter Tascosa in their freshman year and maintain the program requirements for grades, attendance, and behavior.

This past May, 39 Tascosa seniors graduated ACE eligible, joining 154 of their ACE colleagues from Palo Duro and 192 ACE graduates from Caprock High School. Roya and Sheida Jaberiandoraji were the first two Tascosa ACE graduates.  Both girls completed high school in two years and began their college career at Amarillo College in 2014.  They are currently studying at West Texas A&M University this fall.

Since the first graduating class of ACE students in 1998, more than 4,800 students have graduated ACE eligible, 3,267 have attended college on an ACE scholarship, and 1,374 have earned a college degree or postsecondary certificate. Almost $6.5 million has been awarded in ACE scholarships and the Amarillo Area Foundation has helped students obtain more than $16 million in federal funding and other scholarship funds. ACE students have a wealth of resources to assist them in their postsecondary pursuits because of the dedication of ACE donors.

More than 2,000 donors have made gifts to ACE totaling over $9.9 million since the inception of the program in 1994. Individuals, corporations, and foundations made diligent efforts to provide lasting impact in the lives of ACE students and their families and also in the social and economic prosperity of the Amarillo community.

A special gift was made in honor of Robin Gilliland Weir by her husband, David Weir, to finalize the expansion. Gilliland Weir was Co-Chair of the ACE Campaign with Allen Durrett. Gilliland Weir commented, “I am so proud of our community for creating and funding ACE for 22 years. I have always loved this program because of how many lives it has touched.  To educate the youth of our community is a win/win for all of us!”

For Gilliland Weir, giving to ACE was also a familial legacy. “My parents have been donors to ACE since it began at Palo Duro and set an example of the importance of helping others to break down the barriers to a college education.  My husband is also a donor and is so understanding and supportive of the students who face challenges to postsecondary education.”

Continue reading

Toolbox for Fundraisers

tookbox_graphic As the number of nonprofit organizations increases each year, the ability to create and nurture relationships with donors is critical.  Fundraising can be a daunting task if you are not sure where to start or how to stay on track.

For more than 20 years, local fundraising professionals have shared their expertise through a course originally titled “The Art of Fundraising”.  The course is updated each year to include current trends and information and is now known as “Toolbox for Fundraisers”.

The 2016 Toolbox for Fundraisers course will provide detailed materials and instruction from fundraising professionals with more than 88 years of combined fundraising experience:

Charlotte Rhodes, ACFRE     Patricia A. Ward, CFRE     Katharyn Wiegand, CFRE

Presented  the Amarillo Area Foundation’s Nonprofit Service Center, Toolbox for Fundraisers course topics include:

*                Essential Tools to be an Effective Fundraiser

*                Establishing a Development Office

*                Creating a Case for Support

*                Constructing a Development Plan

*                Marketing Your Organization

*                Making the Ask

*                Stewarding Donors

*                Preparing for Your CFRE Certification

Upon successful completion of the course, each participant will have developed a case for support and a development plan for the organization of his/her choice.

The course is presented in weekly sessions from 9:00 AM to noon on Wednesdays from September 7, 2016 through November 16, 2016.  Sessions are held at the Amarillo Area Foundation – 801 S. Fillmore, 7th floor.

Participants who successfully complete the 33 hour course will receive 3.30 continuing education credits (CEUs) through Amarillo College.  This course also meets the requirements for those seeking credit hours for the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation.

The course fee is $250 for members of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and $295 for all others.

To reserve a spot for the fall 2016 course, contact Roxann Ball by phone (806.376.4521) or e-mail (roxann@aaf-hf.org) by September 2, 2016.toolbox_topics