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Hutchinson Community Foundation Awards $71K in Grants

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HUTCHINSON, Kan. – Hutchinson Community Foundation awarded Fund for Reno County grants totaling $71,075 to eight nonprofit organizations in March. Established in 1990, the Fund for Reno County serves as a permanent resource for the changing needs of Reno County. Grants represent an innovative approach or collaboration, a new efficiency, a critical need that requires funding or an opportunity that needs a bit of local support to leverage resources for the community. Proposals for the grants are accepted year-round, with awards decided in January, March, May, July, September and November.

The following organizations received grants:

Partridge Community Church, “Gathering to Grow,” $6,500: With the loss of a public school and a local café, the Partridge community is without two critical places where people once gathered. Grant funds will be used to create a gathering place in a vacant lot using trees, native plants and educational features. Community organizers and volunteers are creating a place where people can share experiences and learn from one another. They see the potential for a community garden, building appreciation for native plants and animals and a beautiful setting for musical events, shared meals and quiet contemplation in this community space.

Grace Dental Day Inc., “Grace Dental Day,” $20,000 ($10,000 per year for two years): A high number of people in Reno County are unable to afford dental care. Grant funding will support Grant Dental Day, an annual event where community members can receive free dental services, education on the importance of proper oral hygiene and the impact it can have on overall health, and oral care products for personal use. This event represents the collaboration of many local dental professionals, support team members and volunteers, all working together to provide free dental care to those who need it.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Hutchinson Inc., “Growing Capacity at the Club,” $2,100: In the past 18 months, four of seven senior staff positions have seen turnover. Maintaining high-quality programming and operations at the club is essential for the organization and the youth who benefit from those programs. Grant funding will support the club’s upcoming steps to build capacity and clearly define roles for new leaders and senior staff members through position-specific trainings, leadership development courses, and coaching opportunities, helping ensure the club’s continued success and positive impact on local youth and families.

Arlington Community PRIDE Association, “The Ball is in Our Court,” $3,725: The Arlington Community PRIDE Association works to make Arlington a place that residents are proud to call home and a town that Reno County is proud to hold. They want shared community spaces to be welcoming and safe for residents and visitors. Grant funding will support repairing the community court at the highway park, so it is useful for the whole community to enjoy tennis, pickleball and basketball.

Hutchinson Theatre Guild (Stage 9), “Façade Facelift,” $5,000: The brickwork behind the sign at Stage 9, the home for Hutchinson Theatre Guild productions, is deteriorating, allowing rainwater to penetrate the building’s façade and leading to water damage inside the building. Grant funds will be used for repairs, which will include removing the sign, masonry contract work and replacement of the sign. This necessary upkeep will allow the Stage 9 venue to remain a safe and appealing spot for the group’s productions and other community concerts and events.

Fairfield Schools-USD 310, “Rachel’s Challenge at Fairfield Schools: Hope and Connections Fostering a Culture of Acceptance,” $7,300: Results from the most recent Kansas Communities That Care survey indicated Fairfield schools’ areas of concern are bullying, social/emotional health, depression, suicide, and student engagement and connectivity. Grant funding will be used to engage Rachel’s Challenge, an evidence-based program that addresses prevention of school violence, bullying and suicide among students. In addition to the time students and parents can engage in activity with the Rachel’s Challenge staff, follow-up curriculum will be accessed designed to help students and staff develop plans that promote a culture of respect and kindness.

Arlington United Methodist Church, “ADA Entry and Elevator Project,” $15,000: Arlington United Methodist Church is a hub of community activity, including worship, children’s activities, community meals, annual events and community outreach. The building includes three floors, and the design of the current stairway limits access for those with mobility issues and those moving supplies and equipment between floors for events. Grant funding, combined with contributions from the church’s building fund and a regional grant, will allow for construction of an ADA-compliant entry and installation of an elevator, making this community gathering place accessible to all.

Hutchinson Municipal Band, “Helping Hutchinson Municipal Band Play On: Improving Performance Space,” $11,450: While the performance/placemaking space built in Carey Park during the pandemic through the support of a Changemakers at Work grant has proved to be popular, audience members have cited safety and accessibility concerns. Grant funds represent partial funding in support of suggested improvements to the performance space, which may include more sidewalks, permanent landscaping elements that double as seating, and/or park benches.

Hutchinson Community Foundation’s mission is to inspire philanthropy, collaboration and innovative leadership to strengthen Reno County communities. Since 1989, the foundation has granted more than $93 million to organizations.

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