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Our Work


In an effort to improve quality of life for current and future generations of Texas Panhandle residents, Amarillo Area Foundation is using a data-informed approach to address early childhood literacy using 2-generation solutions and college enrollment/workforce alignment. What are “two-generation solutions”? This means impacting the current generation to then affect the course of the immediate generation that follows.

Below is a summary of some of the data that assisted in identifying these needs and that will be used to inform what strategies we deploy in addressing them.


Student Population

The Texas Panhandle is home to nearly 82,000 public schools, K-12 students. These students attend public schools in 61 different school districts across 26 counties, making the Texas Panhandle a diverse and vibrant place for education. 




School Districts



By Race/Ethnicity

Like our school districts, the Texas Panhandle is home to a diverse student population. The majority of students in the area are considered students of color. 

Black Asian Hispanic Two or More Races White
% of Student Population 5.2% 2.6% 48.4% 2.3% 40.9%
# of Students 2,170 4,263 39,631 1,899 33,535

Approximately 58% of students in the Texas Panhandle are considered economically disadvantaged.

3rd Grade


AAF is committed to supporting education in the region and is focused on early literacy and ensuring more students are accessing and enrolling in higher education after high school. Quality learning environments – whether at home with caregivers or in classroom settings – significantly improve kindergarten readiness, 3rd-grade reading mastery, high school graduation rates, post-high school education/​credentialing and workforce readiness. As a strategic focus for the Amarillo Area Foundation, we are committed to helping improve literacy rates in the region alongside nonprofits, partners, and school districts. As of the 2021-22 school year,  53% of third-grade students in the Texas Panhandle are reading on grade level. compared to the State of Texas’ rate of 50%. We see an opportunity to improve literacy in the region and support better education outcomes for students.

3rd-Grade Reading/ELA, Meets Grade Level

Region 16 vs. State of Texas

Region 16


State of Texas

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As our work continues to evolve and grow, we would love to keep you updated on our progress.

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3rd Grade Literacy

By Race/Ethnicity

Literacy proficiency looks different across student populations in the Texas Panhandle. As the demographics of the region change, AAF is committed to investing in all students to ensure a strong future and workforce for the Texas Panhandle.

2019 White


2021 White


2022 White


2019 Asian


2021 Asian


2022 Asian


2019 Hispanic


2021 Hispanic


2022 Hispanic


2019 Black


2021 Black


2022 Black


College Enrollment

To ensure a robust economy and future workforce, its important to ensure more of our students are accessing the necessary education and training after high school to transition into jobs and careers that provide a living and family sustaining wage. To build on existing legacy programs at the Amarillo Area Foundation such as ACE, THRIVE, and our Scholarships program, we are invested in creating supports so that more Texas Panhandle students have the opportunity to enroll in higher education.

The greatest likelihood of a student enrolling in college is immediately after high school and the likelihood of a student enrolling in college diminishes each year after that. As an organization, we’re focused on increasing the area’s immediate college enrollment rate and ensuring Texas Panhandle high school seniors have the support necessary to access and enroll in post-secondary education.

Who are Opportunity Youth?

Texas Panhandle 2019

Texas Panhandle 2020

Where We’re Investing


3 unique programs designed with the future of the Panhandle in mind.

Year ACE Thrive Traditional Scholarships Total
2019  $               765,768  $               341,488  $                            1,014,152  $            2,121,408
2020  $              844,343  $            1,182,700  $                          1,120,400  $            3,147,443
2021  $               922,827  $           1,250,080  $                         1,079,300  $            3,252,207
 Grand Total   $            8,521,058

Education Focused Grants

Book Warehouse Expansion
Stepping Stones Learning Center
Quality of Care Initiative
Don Harrington Discovery Center
Life & Earth Science Exhibit
Refugee Language Project
Heritage Language Storybook Project
Ogallala Commons
Homecoming Career Education in Southwest Texas Panhandle
Window On a Wider World
Education Beyond the Classroom
Youth Success Project
Expansion of Youth Program
Maverick Boys & Girls Club of Amarillo
Youth Development Education Program
Maverick Boys & Girls Club of Amarillo
Youth Development Education Program
Maverick Boys & Girls Club of Amarillo
Education Program Expansion
Texas Panhandle War Memorial
Interactive Educational Exhibits
Friends of the Amarillo Library
Amarillo Public Library Makerspace
Frank Phillips College
Rural Nursing Education
Panhandle Plains Historical Museum
STEAM Lab Renovation


Granted since 2019

What We’re Doing

Working for nonprofit organizations that focus on literacy.  StoryBridge’s story.

Learn More

Listen to our interview with Jim Whitton.  Jim talks about being jolted by early childhood statistics which motivated him to act.

Listen Here

You can help our efforts by giving to the Education Fund.

Listen Here

Strategy Leads

Keralee Clay

Senior Vice President

Leading our early childhood strategy.

Beth Cameron

Scholarship Program Officer

Leading our higher education strategy.