County foundation presents awards to local schools and service organizations

Presenting and receiving grant awards at a June 26 Osage County Community Foundation event were, from left, Joe Humerickhouse, OCCF board member, Andy Lohmeyer, USD 420 technology director, Ken Foth, Osage County Fair Association, Casey Mussatto, OCCF board member, Jim Lohmeyer, Osage City Chamber of Commerce, Bill Persinger, Mental Health Center of East Central Kansas director, Troy Hutton, USD 420 superintendent, Perry Thompson, OCCF president, and Dave Azwell, Osage City Arts Council.

The Osage County Community Foundation presented its largest grant to date on June 26, giving $3,000 to Osage City Elementary School for gear and software for new iPads at the school. USD 420 had received a $118,590 grant from the Jones Foundation for nearly 300 iPads for pre-kindergarten to fifth-grade students. The Jones’ grant will only fund the purchase of the iPads, and no funds were available to provide protective cases or software for the iPads.

The application was for $3,000 and OCCF’s policy is for a $500 maximum grant. The donor of an advised fund that is held by the foundation agreed to give the additional $2,500 so the elementary school could receive the amount needed.

Other grants awarded during a reception held at the Osage City Santa Fe Depot included one for the Osage County Fair Association. The fair association was founded in 1947 and promotes and manages the Osage County Fair held at Osage City each year.

A grant of $500 was awarded to assist with the remodeling of the fair pavilion located on the Osage City Fairgrounds. The cost of the project is estimated at $12,000. The building will be remodeled into a one-room facility with a meeting room and kitchen. The building will be available to other community groups also.

The Osage City Chamber of Commerce was also a grant recipient; $450 was given toward the purchase of 18 more “welcome” flags to help cover the downtown business district that currently does not have enough flags. The Lohmeyer family puts the flags up during holidays or special events in Osage City.

Osage City Middle School’s garden group also received funds in the current round of grants. Under the guidance of teacher Mary Williams the students developed a plan for creating a small community garden. Six students were joined by other community members to help research, plan, plant and nurture the bedding plants of vegetables and flowers. The community needs that were met by this project were community involvement by middle school students, inter-generation collaboration, and promotion of the value of life-long learning. The foundation awarded the garden group $365.50 for the project.

Two other grant recipients were also recognized, with those grants given in December to the Mental Health Center of East Central Kansas and The Osage City Arts Council.

Mental Health Center of East Central Kansas has its main office in Emporia and has branch offices in Osage County. The organization was founded in 1961 to help serve the mental health needs of a seven-county area including Osage County.

The grant request was for an art therapy project to help children heal from psychological wounds. The grant of $500 was used to purchase art supplies.

The Osage City Arts Council also received $500 in December for a presentation at Osage City Elementary School by Jay and Leslie Cady about numbers. The remaining funds were used by the art teacher to purchase books about art for the elementary school library. The library had no books in it about art before this grant.

The Osage City Area Community Foundation was formed in 2002 and changed its name in 2010 to Osage County Community Foundation to serve the countywide community. It now holds $618,032 in assets and has awarded $12,000 to 17 organizations throughout Osage County since 2002. The organization’s mission is to “provide a method of giving that represents the ideas and the interest of people who want to increase the impact of their philanthropy.”

For more information about donating to or applying for a grant from the foundation, contact Perry Thompson at 785-528-3006. Grant applications are available at the document center on Osage City’s website, www.osagecity.org. Completed applications should be mailed to the foundation at P.O. Box 24, Osage City, KS 66523.

Photo thanks to Alison Thompson.

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