The Amarillo Area Foundation was founded by a remarkable group of far-sighted individuals who knew that Amarillo working together brought a strength that any one of them working separately could not.
in scholarships given
in grants awarded
made to the Foundation
served in the Texas Panhandle
Thrive Scholarship Program
In early 2018, we started discussions with potential partners on a project that would expand the opportunities for credentials to be obtained after high school for all AISD students. Through much discussion and collaboration, the Amarillo Area Foundation, Amarillo Economic Development Corporation, Amarillo College and Amarillo Independent School District Boards approved the plan for the THRIVE Scholarship Program in a way that would benefit the most students attending AISD High Schools. The existing relationships established through the ACE Program and No Limits No Excuses helped with the collaboration and by the end of the 2018 Fall semester, there were 683 students who were THRIVE scholars attending Amarillo College.
With 1 out of 4 residents living below the poverty line in Amarillo and the labor force trailing the national average on post-secondary degree and certificate attainment, THRIVE Amarillo strives to address both issues. Research shows that communities with fewer higher education credentials have a hard time attracting new industries due to an untrained labor force. This data can determine if companies and industries believe they can be successful in a move to our community. Currently, 70% of Amarilloans have no higher education.
THRIVE covers all costs, including tuition, fees, and book expenses, for eligible students to attend up to 60-credit hours at Amarillo College. To be eligible, students must graduate from an AISD high school, earn a GPA of 80 or higher, meet the State of Texas compulsory attendance requirements, exhibit good behavior, and be eligible to receive federal financial aide. Education has been part of the Foundation’s mission to improve quality of life since our first scholarship fund was started in 1970. Since that time, we have worked to help students and institutions make higher education easier to obtain.
The ACE Program started with helping Palo Duro Students graduate from high school as a way for many to break the cycle of poverty. As we sunset ACE, it should be noted that the scholarship program has helped students in Perryton through the Pathways Program and students in Dumas through the QUEST program, both of which were modeled after ACE. In Gruver, a group of leaders saw potential for students in an open field. That field now produces a yield, and the proceeds are used in the Gruver Farm Scholarship to help students pay for college. As you can see, innovation and the pioneering spirit of collaboration are what make the Panhandle an incredible place to live, work, and go to college!
Learn More at ThriveAmarillo.org
The Panhandle Gives
The Panhandle Gives is an annual event hosted and coordinated by the Amarillo Area Foundation as a part of the global day of giving known as Giving Tuesday, which falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
The focused period of giving is extended to include the Monday before Thanksgiving and continues through the week to culminate on the traditional Giving Tuesday the following week. Any nonprofit eligible to receive a grant from AAF qualifies to register for participation.
The program began in 2017 where sixty organizations participated and were able to raise $156, 335. In 2018, The Panhandle Gives was remarkably bigger and beat everyone’s expectations. The goal of raising $500,000 was shattered within the first few days of the campaign by the 108 participating organizations as they ended up raising a grand total of $865,120. This total is comprised of over 1,300 gifts from donors in 22 states.
In order to bolster support of participating organizations and assist them in meeting their fundraising goals, AAF established the “Amplification Fund” comprised of money given from foundations, corporate sponsors, and individual donors. The Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation contributed $100,000 to start the fund.
After 15 corporate sponsors joined the Harrington Foundation in sponsoring the campaign, the Amplification Fund grew to over $200,000. One hundred percent of that money was distributed in the form of a percentage match to each participating organization that raised at least $250 during the campaign.
The Panhandle Gives continues to be a focused effort of the Amarillo Area Foundation to support, empower, and encourage collaboration among nonprofits across the twenty-six counties of the Texas Panhandle. In 2019, the goal is to raise $1,000,000 to further enable the growing number of participating nonprofits to serve their communities with innovative programs and services.
Featured Grant Recipient
King’s Manor has been an integral part of the Hereford Community since its inception in 1962. KM is a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) providing a continuum of services including retirement living, assisted living, 24-hour-nursing care, skilled nursing care, home health, hospice, and child care. King’s Manor meets important needs in the Hereford community because it is one of the few organizations that accepts Medicare patients in addition to private pay clients.
King’s Manor was awarded a grant in 2018 to complete a renovation of a wing inside the facility. As a Continuing Care Retirement Community, King’s Manor provides a continuum of services to meet the needs of aging seniors at various stages of need. As one of the only facilities that accepts Medicare, King’s Manor is an integral part to help aging seniors. The grant provided a much-needed facelift that increases the quality of life and safety or the residents. The updated break rooms help families be more comfortable as they visit their families in the facility.
The finished product included: a painted hallway with protective covering below the handrails, new vinyl plank flooring in resident rooms, tile 3.5 feet high around the walls in resident rooms for protection, new ceiling tile, new drawer/closet units (millwork), new cubical/divider curtains, drapery, bedspreads, and a chair for guests. Additionally, a break room in this wing was updated and furnished to be used for family and staff meetings. These updates greatly increased the quality of life for those living in the wing as well as family members visiting.
Last year was a year of new beginnings for The Amarillo Area Foundation (AAF). While we continue to celebrate the success of the on-going programs and philanthropic opportunities at AAF, we are excited about several new initiatives. These include 1) the launch of the Thrive Scholarship program that will benefit AISD students at all four high schools, 2) the huge success of “The Panhandle Gives” event that raised over $800,000 for nonprofits throughout the panhandle, 3) The Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation’s gift of $1,000,000 to establish an endowed scholarship fund to benefit Texas Tech’s School of Veterinary Medicine students and 4) the approval of $250,000 to be given as matching grants, encouraging area 501(c)3 nonprofits to start an endowed fund or add-to an existing endowed fund through the Future Focus initiative.
At our annual meeting in January, we celebrated the kindness that has been shown in 2018 and over the past 61 years by everyone who has helped the Amarillo Area Foundation help others. It has truly been an honor and a privilege for me to serve this organization and to work with people from all walks of life. Please join us as we continue to seek new and creative ways to reach out and improve the quality of life for residents of the 26 counties of the Panhandle.