WKCF Women of Purpose awards grants

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram
Lucretia Holterman, with the Western Kansas Child Advocacy Center, talks about the organization after receiving a grant Wednesday by the Western Kansas Community Foundation's Women of Purpose group at its annual luncheon.

Three community organizations were awarded grants by the Western Kansas Community Foundation at the annual Women of Purpose Award Luncheon hosted by WKCF Wednesday.

Women of Purpose is a group within by the WKCF that focuses on giving funds to women's causes in the area.

Conny Bogaard, executive director of WKCF, said this year the organization was able to give out three grants rather than their typical one because they had a bit more money to give away.

"That money goes specifically to a program that benefits women and it can be women's health, or women's educations opportunities, or helping them with finding finances or anything," she said.

The third place recipient received $1,000, the second place recipient received $2,000 and the first place recipient received $5,000. 

First place went to the Western Kansas Child Advocacy Center, second place was Family Crisis Services and third place was Miles of Smiles.

Stacie Hahn, WKCF Program & Marketing director, said the winners are selected from an initial pool of applicants which is then whittled down to the top three or so organizations by the Women of Purpose's executive committee.

Those three are then voted on by the entire voting membership, anybody who's paid their voting due for that year, Hahn said.

"We really do it based on the membership's perspective and votes," she said.

Hahn said the organization has been fortunate to have been able to give funds to their top three applicants for the past two years and she's excited for this year's winners.

"I think that they're all going to take it and do really well with the grant and serving the community in the ways that they currently do but hopefully with a little bit more help," she said.

Lucretia Holterman accepted the award for the Western Kansas Child Advocacy Center, she said the funds will be used to purchase items that will go into bags for young girls and teens who come to the center on allegations of physical or sexual abuse. The items include a blanket, backpack, personal hygiene items. 

"We do that so they know that someone cares for them, especially with the hard things they're going through," she said. "So thank you so much, we really appreciate (the help)."

Hailey Knoll accepted the award for Family Crisis Services, who was also the 2020 first place recipient.

The funds were incredibly helpful last year as they allowed the organization to fill gaps Knoll said while they were trying to help get Oasis of Peace, who they merged with in 2019, set up to receive federal funding.

There were a lot of assurances and requirements to be able to receive federal funds, Knoll said, they to revamp the entire program so they could receive the funding. It took a lot of time time and money to fit those requirements.

"They didn't give us very much money to do it, you know how that works, so you guys really filled in additional gaps that we didn't have to begin with," she said.

Oasis of Peace will now be strictly for human trafficking clients and women and children, Knoll said.

Some of the funds were also used to help set their clients up with access to computers so they could Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic, they increased their internet and made workstations where children could do their schoolwork.

In the coming year, one area Family Crisis will focus on is creating a teen support group that will be doing art therapy.

Carrie Anne Ellison accepted the grant for Miles of Smiles, a therapeutic riding program.

She said the organization will be using the funds this year to team up with Family Crisis Services on a trial program they ran together the prior year where Miles of Smiles used their therapy horses with Family Crisis' members.

"We did a trial run last year, it went beautifully, so these funds are actually going to be used for scholarships for the Family Crisis clients and they pay our counselors and for our instructors," she said. "Thank you guys very much, this is so exciting."