Since its inception in 2012, Giving Tuesday has kicked off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. It is celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday has become a global movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy, fueled by social media and local efforts.
To build endowments for local non-profits, the Parsons Area Community Foundation hosted its first Match Day on Giving Tuesday, November 29th. The doors of the Wall Family Center were open all day for the public to stop by, enjoy a refreshment, give to one or more of the participating organizations, and have their “UNselfie” picture taken showing why they were giving. Each organization had a display table and representatives to tell about their mission and the significant activities and programs they offer the community.
The Parsons Area Community Foundation committed $25,000 for a match pool to increase all donations. This was augmented by a $5000 gift from Tank Connection for a total of $30,000. To participate, an organization needed to establish an endowed fund with the community foundation by the end of September, 2016. The following organizations have funds and were options for giving: Celebrate Parsons for Katy Days Festival, Curious Minds Discovery Zone, Labette Assistance Center, Labette Community College Athletics, Labette Health Foundation, Parsons Arboretum, Parsons Educational Foundation, Parsons State Hospital Endowment, Proud Animal Lovers Shelter, and Southeast Kansas Respite Services. The $30,000 was divided proportionately among the organizations, based on the percentage of the total receipts each organization raised. The Parsons Area Community Foundation Touch the Future Fund was a further option, but was not included in the $30,000 match pool. Contributions to this fund do, however, receive a 50% match from the GROW II grant provided by the Kansas Health Foundation.
When all donations were verified for the correct amounts to each designated organization, the results were announced, along with the PACF matching funds earned. The Virginia Wommack Fund for Labette Community College Athletics received $13,757.50 in gifts and earned both incentive prize grants of $500 for the greatest number of donations and the most dollars raised. Their percentage of the match pool came to $5,522 for a total increase in their fund of $20,279.50. Totals with match and prizes for all other organizations:
- Celebrate Parsons for Katy Days Festival – $5295
- Curious Minds Discovery Zone – $14,851
- Labette Assistance Center – $11,398
- Labette Health Foundation – $14,542
- Parsons Arboretum Foundation – $13,088
- Parsons Educational Foundation – $10,917
- Parsons State Hospital Endowment – $5,101
- Virginia Wommack Fund for PALS – $13,982
- Southeast Kansas Respite Services – $3,055
- Parsons Area Touch the Future Fund – $12,715
With total receipts of $92,952 from the event, the response from the community was nothing short of astounding. Well over a hundred people from all walks of life came to the center to give to their favorite cause. Particularly heartwarming were LCC students digging into their pockets for ones, fives, tens, or twenties to give in cash. The presence of the LCC cardinal mascot was an energizing force, and Giving Tuesday imprinted helium balloons, provided by Clemens Insurance, set a festive mood. Adding to the fun were hourly drawings for $20 in PK cash, and at noon and 6 pm drawings for two $250 grants, provided by Hugh Charles in honor of Fred Braun. The Katy Days Festival and Labette Assistance Center were the winners of those. Throughout the day various businesses provided food: Wall Funeral Home catered cinnamon rolls and fruit, Upscale Country brought scones by later in the morning, the Parsons Chamber of Commerce provided sandwiches for lunch, Kitchen Pass and Ernestos provided afternoon snacks of buffalo wings, queso, salsa, and chips; and later in the day Horton’s Pizza gave PACF a good deal for pizzas to be delivered. KLKC donated their time to provide broadcasting live from the center giving updates on the running total of donations as well as interviewing participants. A number of people, either from out of town or unable to come in person, mailed in donations or gave online through the Parsons Area Community Foundation website.
The Giving Tuesday event proved our community is filled with generous folks. The Parsons Area Community Foundation board thanks everyone who participated and helped with this event. They would add giving need not be limited to one day! These funds can receive contributions throughout the year either by mailing to PO Box 894 in Parsons, or by credit card online.
Below are a few photos of “UNselfie” pictures taken that day. All were uploaded to Facebook and may be viewed by visiting Parsons Area Community Foundation on Facebook.
The Parsons Area Community Foundation has served the Parsons area since 1996. This video shows just a few of the organizations and community projects the foundation has been able to support.
Over the past eight years the Labette County Fair has received a total of $55,000 in grants from PACF. These were used to help enlarge the arena, pour concrete pads, and add additional bleachers. This year their grant also purchased a new sound system. Finally, because of its size and capacity, the arena was chosen for the second year in a row to host the high school rodeo this September.
“We had approximately 2,510 at the demo derby Saturday night of the fair. It is the largest night we have ever had in history and it is because of the wonderful support of the PACF over the past few years.” -Rod Landrum
Three conservation rain barrels were purchased in 2014 with a $500 grant to Parsons Community Garden. Filled after about three inches of rain, these barrels not only align with the garden’s mission for use of green practices in the garden, but due to the close proximity to the garden plots, they have also eased the chore of watering by those with walking, balance, or respiratory issues.
In 1995 the wheels were set in motion to establish the Parsons Area Community Foundation for the purpose of providing improvements and enrichments to the community beyond what tax dollars supplied. It would be funded through contributions of those wanting to give back to the community.
Prior to the establishment of the Foundation, a long time resident of Parsons died leaving a sizable estate. She would have been thrilled to have left the money for the betterment of Parsons if there had been such a vehicle as a city foundation in existence. As it was, the money was left to a distant cousin who was independently wealthy and over 80 years old. This was the catalyst for creating the Parsons Community Foundation.
Mary and I have a donor-advised fund at the Foundation. We are able to direct income from the investments of this fund to support the projects we value for the community. We can do this for our lifetimes and, if we choose, our children and grandchildren may continue with their direction. Since this fund is endowed, the principal always remains, and the income from the fund may be used to benefit generations to come. What a perfect way to support our local community. And all gifts are tax deductible! (Pete Hughes)
In July 2014, for the fourth time, Parsons Paint Project brought Work Camp mission youth volunteers to Parsons for one week of work. These dedicated young people painted or made repairs to 43 homes in Parsons.
Local homeowners who were unable physically or financially to make these improvements to their homes submitted applications for acceptance in this program. In total, the Parsons Paint Project has now made improvements to 183 homes in Parsons, and the Parsons Area Community Foundation has granted a total of $28,000 in 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014 to assist in purchasing paint and lumber.
The Parsons High School robotics team, directed by Bruce Rea, has received PACF grants each of the past nine years to help fund expenses for this great program. In the photo below, at the FIRST Robotics Regional Competition in Oklahoma City, 2013 team members Chris Thompson, Noah Taylor and Matt Walker are assisted by an arena official to get their robot down from the top of a tower after it had completed a three-point climb and dumped four frisbees in the goal during. The Vikings received the Excellence in Engineering Award.
Testimonial for Parsons Area Community Foundation:
“We don’t have food to eat so I drink water to fill my stomach so I am not hungry.” “I sometimes eat paper because we don’t have anything in our cabinets to eat.” These are statements made by children right here in our communities and in our state. Thanks to the support of the Parsons Area Community Foundation, children who experience hunger are able to receive a weekend packet of kid-friendly, nutritious food on the weekend via our Food 4 Kids program. Every Friday, school coordinators distribute the packet of food to children who might otherwise spend the entire weekend without food. This vital program provided by the Kansas Food Bank to over 7,000 children weekly ensure kids have access to food when it is not provided for them at home. In Labette County, 196 students benefit from the backpack program. Receiving the food allows children to come to school on Monday mornings prepared and ready to learn. Their first thought of the day is not “when is lunch”. Notable differences are seen in the students: grades improve, behavioral problems diminish and attitude towards school improves. We could not do what we do without the tremendous support of the PACF. — Brian Walker, President & CEO, Kansas Food Bank, June 21, 2013