Grant Awards 2017


The VIRGINIA J. WILKINS FOUNDATION, a private, not-for-profit Foundation incorporated in the State of Kansas, acting through its Board of Trustees recently awarded Grant Applications for  2017.

The Foundation’s Mission is to maximize the value of its finances so that it may assist the community of Arkansas City in providing a quality cultural environment of Arts, Music, language and other endeavors, which many times are shadowed by the importance placed upon athletic achievements.   

 Grant recipients must be in keeping with the Mission of the Foundation which is to financially assist organizations within the community having an IRS 501c(3) designation or organizations affiliated under an umbrella of an organization having charitable or philanthropic IRS designation or educational institutions.  

The Foundation prefers projects where matching funds are contributed by the applicant.  If the Grant applicant is unable to provide financial assistance, the applicant must be willing to participate with in-kind services and to be a willing partner in all forms of communication read by the public such as press releases, banners, newsletters or advertising.

In 2014, the Foundation awarded $450,000 in the community. In 2015, the Foundation awarded $416,777.00 to the community.  In 2016, the Foundation awarded $337,098.66 in the community.  For 2017, the potential target is $439,741.00 as a couple of the financial awards are in the form of Challenge Grants to the recipient organizations. Since the initial awards in 2014 the Foundation has conferred gifts in the community to enhance the cultural environment of Arts, Music and language totaling $1,643,616.00!

Recipients for 2017 include: the Arkansas City Area Arts Council in participating in three (3) initiatives in bringing Art and Cultural experiences to people of all ages in the community.  The Theater at the Burford is seeking to complete its balcony and has secured financing to complete the flooring, railing, painting of the back wall and lighting with the Foundation to assist in the acquisition and installation of a balcony fire escape to satisfy Life Safety Codes.  This particular award is subject to conditions imposed upon the Theater, which the Foundation is confident will be satisfied. A Challenge Grant has been issued to Camp Horizon to assist in the overall financing of a performance arts space in the form of an aquatic recreation area to become the camps social hub at a total project cost of $601,875.00.  The Foundation has agreed to fund $50,000.00 of the project at such time as the camp verifies the remaining revenue has been received or financing has been arranged.  A $20,000.00 Challenge Grant has been issued to the Chaplain Nature Center to assist in its Bee-Bus Project, which is primarily educating school children as to the importance of the honey-bee in pollinating one-third (1/3) of the world crops and to raise awareness of mans’ impact on nature. Without confirmation that sufficient revenues have been generated to match this Challenge Grant, it will expire July 1, 2018.  The Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum has been allocated $16,500.00 to assist in financing an Early Photographer Indian Territory Program depicting the transformation from Indian territory to settlement of the West; providing an outdoor classroom for children and adults creating the time period of 1870-1910; offering a bi-annual school day event of how school was conducted in a one-room school house; and sponsoring exhibits dedicated to the Etzanoa Project.  The Foundation is funding $5,000.00 of a Feasibility Study requested by Cowley County College Early Learning Center in their quest to meet the tremendous need for programs that focus on Early Childhood Education, particularly kindergarten readiness attached to parental education and support services. $43,000.00 is allocated to Unified School District #470 to continue in providing clinical performance opportunities by bringing renowned professionals and clinicians to the schools; providing travel and off-campus training to students; providing opportunities for student performances on the National Stage, matching the Foundation donation from fund raising events; improving conservancy and inventory of instruments, music libraries and resources; providing professional development/training at events such as the Midwest Bank and Orchestra Clinic, the KMEA Music Conference and the National conference in vocal and instrumental music; and assisting in financing lighting and sound equipment in the auditoriums at the High School and Middle School.       

Otis W. Morrow, local Attorney, assisted Ms. Wilkins in creating the Foundation and is serving as a Member of its initial Board of Trustees.  Ms. Wilkins cousins, C. Grant Wilkins and James M. Wilkins, both prominent business men of Denver, Colorado, also serve as Trustees by appointment of Ms. Wilkins.  Karen E. Zeller, a local business woman is serving as the fourth Trustee.

A benefit of this type of Foundation is that a minimum of 5% of the account value of the Foundation must be expended yearly and therefore each year provides an opportunity to renew funding for projects in the community satisfying its Mission Statement.