Foundation rocks in community wellness | News

With barely a foothold since its organization during the spring of 2019, the Atchison Area Community Foundation has taken greater leaps forward to ensure wellness and enrichment for the Atchison area as a whole.

President and Chairman Jonathan Mize, AACF, said the Foundation was established as a way to keep a progressive momentum ongoing that past generations of community leaders had started to boost community spirit and development in effort to benefit the area through philanthropy. The initiative is modeled after the Kansas-based Greater Manhattan Community Foundation, a nonprofit 501 C-3 organization incorporated in the state of Kansas. Since its inception and subsequent affiliation with the Manhattan Foundation, AACF has reached the status of an associate member and obtained its own independent status as nonprofit 501 C-3 and $500,000. The AACF currently has 20 various funds under its umbrella as a funding source for a variety of endeavors for non-profit and public entities like scholarship funds such as The Kasten-Regan Memorial Scholarship, 2020 COVID-19 Recovery Fund, United Atchison and more.

The AACF Board members are Vice-chairman Ethan Hausmann, Treasurer Patsy Porter, Secretary Susan Myers, Kelly Vowels, Justin Pregont and Dr. Allen Reavis.

Interest in the AACF is growing, as board members have presented its mission to groups throughout the county and surrounding areas.

“The more we grow the more we can give back,” Mize said. “The growth is established and it continues to grow. “

After the pandemic hit in mid-March and the interruption of schools, businesses and ways of life in general was when some local business persons took it upon themselves to initiate a $1,000 of funds together toward creation of the 2020 COVID-19 Recovery Fund. Within a month, response to the fund and a $25,000 match from the Courtney S. Turner Charitable Trust swelled to more than $100,000 thousands of dollars. The Berger Company dedicated a sewing line for protective facial masks made available to the public at area businesses for a suggestion donation that generated more than $4,000 for the COVID Fund to aid area businesses impacted by the interruption. About $148,000 of funds were raised within two months to benefit 18 non-profits like food pantries, assistance for housing, and fulfillment of emotional, spiritual and healthcare, childcare and other needs.

Currently the AACF will match dollar for the dollar the first $5,000 worth of the recently launched Locally Atchison eGift Cards purchased through the Atchison Area Chamber of Commerce. The matched dollar amount will aid local charities.

Proceeds raised from Atchison Strong signs displayed throughout the community also benefitted the COVID-19 Recovery Fund and area first responders.