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 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
The Oswego Public Library is one step closer to restoring its windows with a generous grant from the Parsons Area Community Foundation. Gifted through the Hughes Family Donor Advised Fund, the $3,200 will help the library meet the 20% required funds needed to complete the window project which is scheduled to begin this spring.
“We are glad to make this contribution to Oswego and the library,” said Pete Hughes of Parsons. “My sister, Janet Carpenter, was librarian in Oswego for many years. She and her husband, Bob, worked to see the library enlarged during the 1990’s and our entire family feels a strong connection to Oswego and the library through them. I’m sure Janet would be smiling, knowing funding is available to help with the restoration of these windows.”
Earlier this year, the library received a grant from the Kansas Heritage Trust Fund for $15,531 to restore the forty three original windows in the building which was built over 100 years ago with a grant from the Carnegie Foundation. The Heritage Trust Funds will cover 80% of the cost of the project. The library is responsible for raising the other 20% and the generous donation from the Parsons Area Community Foundation will put the library near that goal.
“Donor advised funds with the Parsons Area Community Foundation allow a donor the ability to retain a say in how those funds will be utilized to benefit the community. While every contribution to a donor-advised fund reaps an immediate tax benefit, donors may then recommend grants to worthwhile causes on their own flexible timetable. Meantime investments in a donor-advised fund grow tax free to support more giving in the future. We are so pleased to facilitate grants such as this most recent one from the Hughes Family Fund,” said Anne Allen, Executive Director of the Foundation.
The Parsons Area Community Foundation has donated approximately 1.8 million dollars to organizations in Southeast Kansas since its inception in 1996. During the past, they have funded improvements for the Oswego Historical Society, the Oswego Schools and Riverside Park.
To learn how you can help the Oswego Public Library, contact Liz Turner at 795.4921.
To learn more about the Parsons Area Community foundation, contact Anne Allen at 421.0723.
(Labette Avenue News article from the March 20, 2013 issue)
The Parsons Community Garden (PCG) started in 2010 and occupies two residential lots of FEMA buyout land. Before the 2003 tornado, this centrally located land had residential homes but after the tornado it was discovered that the land was in a 100 year flood plain even though the area had not flooded in anyone’s memory. The City of Parsons has given the PCG a long term lease for the property. Additional space is available if more land is needed.
PCG was founded with the goal of providing people the opportunity to grow healthy food, be physically active, and interact with others while also reducing their food costs. The PCG promotes accessible, inclusive gardening to people of all ages, health conditions, and disabilities. With an average annual membership of 80 members, PCG offers membership dues on a sliding scale based on need. Approximately 65% of its members participate at no cost. This increases the need for private donations since the paying members cannot support all the costs of needed garden improvements.
To make improvements for individuals with mobility issues, problems with strength or fatigue, and other disabilities, the grant received from the Parsons Area Community Foundation provided funds to purchase raised hose reels, adapted tools, and soil improvement for four-foot square totes. These improvements have allowed gardeners of all abilities and ages to join. The PCG has 87 active members this year – some individuals admitted they joined because the easy use of the hose reels and adapted tools removed a barrier for them. We are very grateful for the support of the community foundation. —Sheila Simmons, Volunteer Founding Member, Parsons Community Garden
PACF made two grants to the Oswego Parks and Community Foundation for renovations to Riverside Park in Oswego.
The first photo shows the new lights installed at the park. A PACF grant purchased one light pole. The others were funded through donations to the Oswego Parks and Community Foundation. The next photo shows one of the two frost-free water fountains that were the result of an earlier grant. PACF thanks Karyn Carpenter for the use of these photos.
In 2012 and 2013, the Parsons Fire Department, on behalf of the County of Labette Emergency Management, was awarded a total of $11,400 to purchase Automated External Defibrillators (AED’s) for all county responder locations: Chetopa First Responders, Bartlett/Hackberry Township Fire Department, Edna Fire Department, Mound Valley Fire Department, Oswego Fire Department, Neosho Township Fire Department, Chetopa Fire Department, and Osage Township Fire Department. These AEDs coordinate with those used by Labette Health, and when used even once to save a life, are priceless in value.