HCF grants to aid six local causes


Janet Whisenhunt, sponsor of the Hillsboro High School Chess Guild, accepts a $500 check from Jayson Hanschu, a member of the Hillsboro Community Foundation Board, during the reception for Impact Fund grant winners on Friday evening. Six local charities and programs received checks totaling $6,000.

The Hillsboro Community Foundation announced the recipients of its second annual Impact Fund grants Friday, Jan. 9. Six applicants were approved with a total of $6,000 awarded.

Following are the 2009 recipients, plus their application statements.

n Hillsboro High School Chess Guild ($500). ?The award will provide patrons of all ages, particularly Hills?boro students, chess lessons by a Kansas Scholastic Chess Association approved coach. Private chess lessons provide necessary advanced skills and game strategies, enhancing the success in a tournament setting for students representing Hillsboro schools. The HHS Chess Guild, through fundraising, will supplement additional costs beyond the HCF award.?

n Main Street Ministries Inc. ($1,000). ?The food bank serves those less fortunate in the community and surrounding area. It is open every Saturday morning from 9 to noon. It is staffed and operated by volunteers. Food is provided by donations and from monthly purchases made at the Kansas Food Bank Warehouse in Wichita, as well as local grocery stores. Usage of the food bank and requests for food have risen steadily for the past two years. We anticipate increasing requests for food as the economy slows.?

n Kids Connection ($500). ?We have an existing playground that does not contain any large play equipment or swings. We plan to extend the length of our playground and purchase a large outdoor playset that would include slides, swings, sandbox, climbing wall and a clubhouse. This would also provide the needed shade required by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.?

Kids Connection is a day-care and preschool program sponsored by Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church. It is in its first year of operation.

n Hillsboro Elementary After-School Program ($1,000). ?Over the past 16 years we have been able to provide after-school programs to our students, and to help fund other activities through the Hillsboro Recreation Commission and other community offerings and summer camps. For the past six years we have depended solely on community support through service clubs and individuals to fund our activities. This past year we were able to use our grant monies from the Hillsboro Community Foundation to fund most of our projects.?

n Hillsboro Senior Center ($1,000). ?The Hillsboro Senior Center employs people for five positions. Due to a decrease in revenue, the current level of services provided is in jeopardy. The Senior Center board insists that available funds not be allowed to decline into the danger zone where services would need to be sharply curtailed. The granting of this request will avoid this kind of event.?

n Big Brothers Big Sisters of Marion County ($1,000). ?Bigs in Schools through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Marion County is a one-on-one, site-based mentoring program that matches at-risk children, referred into the program by parents and teachers, with carefully screened volunteer mentors. Independent research shows children in Bigs in Schools demonstrate marked improvement in their level of caring, competence and confidence. The volunteer mentors meet with the children weekly only at the child?s school. These matches may eat lunch together, do homework or just talk. Steady growth in this program is requiring additional funding to meet the needs of the children.?

The HHS Chess Guild and the Hillsboro Elementary After-School Program also received grants last year.

The Hillsboro Community Foundation was created to help provide resources for charitable needs in Hillsboro and surrounding communities. HCF established the Impact Fund as an undesignated endowment intended to enhance the quality of life in the Hillsboro area.

After raising more than $266,000 in donations and pledges during the inaugural 2007 campaign, HCF awarded its first grants a year ago.

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