Our Work

Education

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 (with a 2-generation approach) and college enrollment/workforce alignment.

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.

Total

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. 

82

Students

61

School Districts

26

Counties
Population

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

Literacy

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. Literacy is a foundational skill necessary for success later in life. Literacy is important for students as they progress through school, and is also foundational to a student’s future and career, including living a healthy and vibrant life. 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. Only 43% of third-grade students in the Texas Panhandle are reading on grade level which lags the State of Texas’ rate of 45%. We see an opportunity to improve literacy in the region towards supporting better education outcomes for students.

3rd-Grade Reading/ELA, Meets Grade Level

Region 16 vs. State of Texas

Region 16

43%

State of Texas

45%
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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.

2018 White

54%

2019 White

52%

2018 Asian

49%

2019 Asian

46%

2018 Hispanic

34%

2019 Hispanic

37%

2018 Black

27%

2019 Black

27%
Immediate

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.

Texas Panhandle 2019

Texas Panhandle 2020

Where We’re Investing

Scholarships

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

StoryBridge
Book Warehouse Expansion
$165,000
Stepping Stones Learning Center
Quality of Care Initiative
$123,800
Don Harrington Discovery Center
Life & Earth Science Exhibit
$100,000
Refugee Language Project
Heritage Language Storybook Project
$60,000
Ogallala Commons
Homecoming Career Education in Southwest Texas Panhandle
$30,000
Window On a Wider World
Education Beyond the Classroom
$30,000
Youth Success Project
Expansion of Youth Program
$30,000
Maverick Boys & Girls Club of Amarillo
Youth Development Education Program
$70,870
Maverick Boys & Girls Club of Amarillo
Youth Development Education Program
$70,870
Maverick Boys & Girls Club of Amarillo
Education Program Expansion
$50,000
Texas Panhandle War Memorial
Interactive Educational Exhibits
$125,000
Friends of the Amarillo Library
Amarillo Public Library Makerspace
$26,275
Frank Phillips College
Rural Nursing Education
$250,000
Panhandle Plains Historical Museum
STEAM Lab Renovation
$175,000

 $1,235,945

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