The VIRGINIA J. WILKINS FOUNDATION, a private, not-for- profit Foundation incorporated in the State of Kansas, is seeking Grant Applications for calendar year 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 uponathletic achievements.

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

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

In 2014, the Foundation awarded $450,000 to the community; in 2015, the Foundation awarded $416,777.00 to the community; in 2016, the Foundation awarded $325,950.00 to the community. Recipients for 2016 included: the Arkansas City Area Arts Council to continue in its “seeds mentoring” program to facilitate local artists seeking growth in their discipline as well as growth of the Arts Program; payment to the City of Arkansas City for a master plan for Wilson Park and the additional 4.5 acre hospital parcel located North of Birch Avenue; a Challenge Grant was issued and met to the Arkalalah Executive Committee, to assist in a concert to be conducted under the Rotunda at the Wilson Park to initiate the annual Arkalalah celebration; a Challenge Grant was issued and met to the Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum to assist in the purchase of “past perfect software” to index its artifacts as well as the acquisition of labeling for exhibits and artifacts and the acquisition of audio/video active displays allowing Smart phone access to the Museum and to assist in the funding of Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit; a grant was awarded to the Arkansas City Public Library, to complete the conversion of the history of Arkansas City commemorated in the Arkansas City Traveler from microfilm to digital to allow off-premises, on-line access; a Challenge Grant was issued and met to the Chaplain Nature Center to replace the wooden bridge affording access across Spring Creek, a part of the “loop system” connecting other trails on the property; payment of the third installment to the Burford Renovation Project was completed; issuance of a Challenge Grant was issued to the Etzona Conservancy to finance a Feasibility Study for the Archeological finds of the Wichita Indian community known as Etzona located along the East bank of the Walnut River; and providing a Challenge Grant which was met to Unified School District #470, to provide professional development/training to teachers and providing clinical/performance opportunities to the schools to provide students with instruction and clinical evaluation.

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

Under IRS Regulations, the Foundation is required to expend a minimum of 5% of the Foundation’s account value annually and therefore each year provides an opportunity to renew funding for projects in the community satisfying its Mission Statement. Deadline for submitting applications is July 1, 2017 with Grant Awards to be determined by the end of summer and Grant disbursements completed before year end.