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A couple of blocks to the west and one to the south seems like a simple move, but our new building will change the trajectory of our organization for generations to come. If you look at our move as just a place to house our staff, you miss all the other community benefits that Amarillo Area Foundation can now facilitate.

In 2018, our Board of Directors started considering a possible move for the organization. They were adamant that the presence should be downtown, and those opportunities were becoming less and less available by the month. When the space at 919 S. Polk became available, it was the perfect spot on a historic corner of Amarillo’s downtown.

We aspired to secure a space that not only pays homage to Don and Sybil Harrington’s legacy but also serves as a catalyst for collaboration, innovation, integrity, and respect. These are not just words on a plaque; they are the guiding principles of the Amarillo Area Foundation and are now engraved on the facade of our new building.

Like every construction project, we broke ground after some stops and starts. We began to build a future that would benefit not only the Amarillo Area Foundation but also nonprofit organizations across the Texas Panhandle. The plan included multiple meeting spaces that nonprofit organizations could utilize for little to no charge for meetings, events, and convenings.

Visually, the move puts the organization on the ground level, making it more accessible and visible. We have been very intentional about “humanizing” the Foundation over the last few years and hope this physical change will make us more approachable to all constituents.

Looking forward, Amarillo Area Foundation is poised to continue improving the quality of life for Texas Panhandle residents, and now we have space for our staff and community to gather. Together, we will see even brighter days, on the corner of history and innovation!

Panhandle Disaster Relief Fund

The spring and summer of 2023 brought destructive weather patterns to the Texas Panhandle. A monsoon-like weather pattern set in across the High Plains, causing historic flooding. Hereford and Amarillo saw significant impacts from flooding as numerous businesses were forced to close, 150 families were displaced in the San Jose community, and 4,000 cattle died. On June 15, an EF-3 tornado tore through the heart of Perryton, killing three people, injuring 100 people, and decimating homes and businesses throughout town.

In the weeks and months that followed, Texas Panhandle residents chipped in nearly $850,000 for disaster relief efforts, including through generous partnerships with FirstBank Southwest and the Amarillo Sod Poodles. FirstBank Southwest collected monetary gifts at all its locations in Amarillo, Booker, Pampa, Perryton, and Hereford.  The philanthropic response by Texas Panhandle residents was beyond incredible.

Fans of the Amarillo Sod Poodles responded with gifts totaling $38,035 for the Panhandle Disaster Relief Fund – all to help the communities affected by these disasters.

“The Sod Poodles are very fortunate to have the best fans in Minor League Baseball and partners who care deeply about the people of the Panhandle and stepped up to help our community,” said Sod Poodles President and General Manager Tony Ensor in June 2023. “Neighbors helping neighbors is what the Panhandle is all about and we could not be prouder to be a part of a community with such loyal fans and partners.”

Residents of the Texas Panhandle have learned to live with these destructive weather conditions, resilient when faced with loss, because of the strength of the Panhandle community that surrounds them. Communities helping communities is a way of life in the Panhandle and has been all along. Through its partnerships with local governments, nonprofits, businesses, and civic agencies, AAF has been able to deliver much-needed financial support through emergency grants and long-term strategic planning to assist our neighbors in these times of disaster and recovery.

One of the great things about living in the Panhandle, is that the people genuinely care about one another. In times of disaster and uncertainty, the Panhandle of Texas comes together like no other to help make sure that our communities are taken care of, and at FirstBank Southwest, we are proud that we were able to be a part.”


Bowden Jones,

Executive Vice President/Chief Consumer Officer and Amarillo Area Foundation Board Member

The Hereford floods were a devastating site… Folks from Hereford were already buying essential supplies and hand-delivering them to the affected area, but with immediate needs growing in the area, more funding was needed for anything from baby formula to building supplies. Donations garnered by Amarillo Area Foundation helped with all of the above and much more. Being a part of such a small effort which grew into a great effort by all, will forever be a hallmark of my life.”


Laura Schulze,

Community Volunteer

The response of AAF to our people’s immediate needs was beyond remarkable. Perryton would not be where it is today in recovery from the devastating June 15 tornado without the efforts of AAF and its wonderful staff. We are forever grateful.”


Kerry Symons,

Mayor, City of Perryton

Lead’em is probably the best professional development I’ve attended at AAF. It provided me with a systematic way to take an in-depth look at my organization backed by data and research based practices.”

Amy Lovell

Executive Director, Turn Center

With my background, I considered myself a seasoned nonprofit manager and fundraiser. However, I learned so much from this course. Not only was I able to apply many of the logics to advisory board applications, it also helped me with another nonprofit I was involved with in their start-up. Dr. Angela Seaworth provides a wealth of knowledge that she eagerly shares in order to make us all better and more prosperous. This was definitely well worth our time!”

Angela Knapp Eggers

Senior Director, Laura W. Bush Institute Amarillo

“The Lead’em cohort far exceeded my expectations. As a small but established nonprofit, we were able to make beneficial changes to our organization, grow as leaders, and have the tools to develop our organization as we grow in the future. I am grateful for Amarillo Area Foundation and Dr. Seaworth for this invaluable opportunity.”

Donna Dorman Madison

Director, Square Mile Community Development

Champions Childcare Solutions

Amarillo Area Foundation Champions Childcare Solutions in Friona, TX

In 2023, the Amarillo Area Foundation, in partnership with the City of Friona, proudly supported the Happy Tribe Academy daycare, a milestone in addressing the childcare desert that has long challenged this vibrant community. This partnership signifies a proactive approach to resolving the crucial lack of childcare options that had constrained local economic development and employment.

Historically, Friona’s workforce has bolstered industries like meatpacking. However, the lack of local daycare facilities forced many to decline in-person jobs, impacting both family stability and business operations. The Amarillo Area Foundation facilitated this transformative project by providing over $114,000 in grant funding, demonstrating a commitment to both economic and social revitalization.

Located in a renovated Girl Scout building, Happy Tribe Academy began with the capacity to care for 11 children, with ambitions to expand up to 42. The response from the community has been overwhelming, illustrating the dire need for such services far beyond Friona’s borders.

This initiative not only supports local families but also empowers the broader community by allowing more parents to engage fully in the workforce. The partnership between the Amarillo Area Foundation and the City of Friona exemplifies a successful collaborative effort to foster community growth and enhance the quality of life for all residents.

Food Insecurity

Beyond the food

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life, and also points out that, “It is important to know that hunger and food insecurity are closely related, but distinct, concepts. Hunger refers to a personal, physical sensation of discomfort, while food insecurity refers to a lack of available financial resources for food at the level of the household.

“Food insecurity describes a household’s inability to provide enough food for every person to live an active, healthy life. Food insecurity is one way we can measure and assess the risk of hunger.”
-Feeding America

Primary cause of food insecurity is low income

Poverty and food insecurity are social determinates of health and are associated with some of the most serious and costly health problems in the nation.

Food insecure and low income are vulnerable to poor nutrition and obesity due to additional risk factors:

  • Lack of access to healthy affordable foods
  • Cycles of food deprivation and overeating
  • High levels of stress, anxiety, depression
  • Fewer opportunities of physical activity
  • Greater marketing of obesity-promoting products
  • Limited access to health care

Household food insecurity is a strong predictor of higher healthcare utilization and increased healthcare cost

  • This translates to $77.5 billion in excess annual healthcare expenses nationally.
Seniors on a fixed income often must make difficult decisions between paying for food and critical healthcare.
Seniors with Food Insecurity may experience a number of challenges:

    • Food running out
    • Skipping meals
    • Choosing between food and medicine
    • Postponing medical care
    • Poor health outcomes
    • Higher health care use and costs
      Source: FRACS Hunger and Health series
Food insecurity increases the risk for chronic health conditions:

  • Increased risk for negative mental health impacts
  • Inadequate intake of nutrients
  • Total healthcare costs increase steadily with increased severity of household food insecurity

1 in 7 Texans in the Panhandle are food insecure


The food insecurity rate for children in the Texas Panhandle


In 2022, we continued to assess the food insecurity landscape in our communities by reviewing demographic data and engaging with community partners. This assessment provided us with valuable insights into the unique challenges faced by our communities, enabling us to work towards developing targeted strategies for intervention. Collaboration remains at the core of our strategy. We have continued to strengthen our relationships with community organizations, government agencies, and nonprofit partners. By fostering collaboration, we hope to move towards streamlined service delivery, avoided duplication of efforts, and leveraging additional resources.

Shared definition: The uncertainty of access to enough quality food.

While there is still much work to be done, we remain resolute in our commitment to finding sustainable solutions and making a lasting impact on the lives of individuals and families in need.

Together, we can create a future where everyone has access to nutritious food and the opportunity to thrive.


Developing a resource database/asset map

Acquiring quality data to allow us all to work from the same information
Raising awareness in the community and among businesses of the issue of food insecurity
Communication and collaboration to empower agencies to refer clients to other resources
Cooperative buying agreement



to organizations that address

food insecurity in 2022.

Grantee: Tri-County Meals

Impact: AAF (Amarillo Area Foundation) provided a grant for $47,646 to help build a new 3,000 sq ft building to house a food pantry serving Silverton, Quitaque, Turkey, and Flomot. Founded in 2004, Tri-County Meals has emerged as a heartwarming testament to the remarkable strength of community collaboration. This small yet vibrant nonprofit organization has been creating profound positive ripples within the surrounding communities, exemplifying the extraordinary results that can be achieved when dedicated hearts and hands unite for a common purpose.

Tri-County Meals has been able to reach more people, have better quality and quantity of food with the ability to control temperatures, and have room to store shelf-stable food items.   

The addition of the new space has also allowed for a 2nd delivery from High Plains Food Bank, a regional partner.

As we reflect on the journey of Tri-County Meals, we celebrate the triumphs of a community that unites for the greater good. Their story is a reminder that even the smallest efforts, when nurtured by shared purpose, can yield monumental outcomes.