• Last modified 3935 days ago (Sept. 17, 2008)


Local foundation helps communities

Applications now being accepted

Staff writer

What does a chess camp, audio books, a practice mannequin, training for an educator, and swimming pool passes have in common?

The Hillsboro Area Impact Fund provided grant money for these services or items.

Applications for the next round of giving will be accepted until Nov. 14 for non-profit organizations and entities.

In 2007, six grants were given to local and county entities.

Hillsboro Elementary School After School Program

With the $1,000 given to this program, $300 was used to purchase family passes to Hillsboro Family Aquatic Center.

“Without those passes, those families would not have been able to go to the pool,” said Mike Moran, HES counselor.

Funds also were used to pay for students’ registration fees to participate in recreational programs.

Moran said he has had to rely on donations from individuals and service organizations like the two Hillsboro Lions Clubs and Hillsboro Kiwanis Club to sustain the program.

“(Receiving this grant) has taken a little pressure off me to solicit funds,” he said. “It’s been greatly appreciated.”

Moran said he plans to apply for grant funds again this year.

Hillsboro High School Chess Guild

A chess guild member was able to attend a chess camp at Lindsborg with the $500 received from the foundation.

According to Janet Whisenhunt, sponsor of the chess guild, Michael Christian attended the camp with the grant money. The school provided a scholarship to Matt Richert who also attended.

“The players wouldn’t have been able to attend without the assistance,” Whisenhunt said. “They both enjoyed it very much and want to attend again next year.”

An application will be made again this year by the guild, Whisenhunt said.

Hillsboro Public Library

Nearly 50 audio books were purchased with the $1,000 grant received by the library. A variety of books are now available that include inspirational, fiction, non-fiction, and biographies.

“We wouldn’t have been able to purchase any of those books this year because our budget is so tight,” said library director Cathy Fish.

Twenty-one of those books are in circulation and have been checked out 99 times.

Fish said she may consider applying again for a grant to help fund the summer reading program.

Marion County Emergency Medical Services

The county-funded department relies heavily on grants and donations for training and equipment for volunteer EMTs, Steven Smith, EMS director, said.

The $1,000 granted to the department was used to purchase an airway mannequin which is used as a training device for the EMT class.

“Without that grant, we would not have been able to purchase the mannequin,” Smith said, which provides a better training method to students.

Marion County Parents As Teachers

A parent educator was trained with the funds provided by the foundation, said Lori Soo Hoo, coordinator/parent educator.

The educator visits 30 families in USD 410 each month to provide support to these families with children ages birth to three years old.

By receiving these funds and providing a parent educator in the Hillsboro school district, Soo Hoo said a waiting list for these services has nearly been eliminated.

“At the current time, we have only four families on the waiting list,” she said, where as before there were 30.

About the grants

The Hillsboro Area Impact Fund is an unrestricted grant fund for charitable uses which are determined by the foundation.

Projects that are given priority are based on need, feasibility, collaboration, effective organizations, measurable outcomes, and innovations.

For more information about the grant program, contact Jayson Hanschu at (620) 947-5686 or go to Applications are available online at

Last modified Sept. 17, 2008