Category Archives: Scholarship

The power of endowment

The Alvin A. and Hattie Mae Bush Scholarship Fund, created by Mr. and Mrs. Bush in 1970 with an initial gift of $100,000, honors the career of accounting the couple enjoyed together for many years.  Significant in my ways, most notably as the first fund of the Amarillo Area Foundation, this fund seamlessly created a legacy for future accountants in the Texas Panhandle.  In the original press release, Mr. Bush said, “It has long been our desire to give financial assistance to area students that exhibit potential expertise in accounting.” Since this first scholarship was established, the Amarillo Area Foundation has grown their scholarship program exponentially, awarding over $1,000,000 in scholarships annually.    

The Bush scholarship has awarded $514,000 in scholarships since its inception.  By endowing the fund, the Bush’s guaranteed that the scholarship will be awarded in perpetuity and students that “exhibit potential expertise in accounting” will be ensured opportunities for secondary education.  

Though Mr. and Mrs. Bush both passed away in 1982, the scholarship continues their legacy for future generations of accounting professionals. That’s the power of endowment.   

 If you’re interested in setting up your legacy, contact our development team:  amy@aaf-hf.org, 806.376.4521  

 

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)

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.

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.

###

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

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.

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

Dugger Legacy Continues Through Scholarship Fund

Bus_and_freda_facebook_1

AMARILLO, TX – The Amarillo Area Foundation is the benefactor of a major gift from Bus and Freda Dugger in the amount of $1 million. The gift, finalized after Bus Dugger’s passing in April of this year, will establish an endowed scholarship fund for juniors and seniors attending West Texas A&M University. It is the largest principal scholarship gift designated specifically for high school students from the Texas Panhandle the Foundation has ever received.

Born, raised, and originally educated in Oklahoma, Dugger’s career in sales brought him to Amarillo where he met Cal Farley. Dugger and Farley formed Kids Inc., Amarillo’s youth sports organization, in 1945.  While garnering support for Kids Inc. from Glenwood Elementary’s PTA, Bus met his wife, Freda – an Amarillo native and music teacher. They married in March of the same year.

The Dugger’s were strongly connected to our local Panhandle postsecondary institutions. Freda began her education at Amarillo Junior College and finished with a Master’s in Education from West Texas State University. Bus completed his Bachelor’s and Masters at West Texas A&M University in 1955 and 1956, respectively.

Both Freda and Bus were educators themselves. Freda taught in Enid and Shallowater as well Humphrey’s Highland and Forest Hill once she and Bus returned to Amarillo. Bus was the Supervisor of Adult Education at Amarillo College from 1961-1966 until Cal Farley convinced Bus to take a position at Boy’s Ranch. Bus stayed at Boys Ranch until his retirement in 1982.

Bus was inducted as the 137th member to the Texas Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame for his work with Kids Inc. and his role as a basketball and football official for high school, college, and the NIBL for 33 years.

Kids Inc. President & CEO Jimmy Lackey, a close friend of the Duggers, had this to say about the intent behind their gift to AAF: “Mr. and Mrs. Dugger were unable to have children of their own. This scholarship endowment is their way of extending their genuine care for young people that will provide educational opportunities for students from the Texas Panhandle from now on. What a gift.”

College juniors and seniors with a 3.0 GPA attending or planning to attend West Texas A&M University who completed high school in the 26 northernmost counties of the Texas Panhandle are eligible to apply for the $2,000 annual scholarship. The scholarship is renewable for two consecutive semesters for college juniors.

To apply for the Dugger Scholarship please visit www.amarilloareafoundation.org/scholarships. Our general scholarship application for the 2017-2018 academic year will open on November 1, 2016 and close on February 10, 2017 at 12:00pm.

To donate to the CC “Bus” and Freda Dugger Endowed Scholarship Fund please contact Kasey Long, Director of Development, by email kasey@aaf-hf.org or phone 806-476-4521.