President’s Letter

Moving Forward

with focus

As we work to emerge from the initial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear the effects of this crisis are not just a memory. In 2021, we made great strides in working to transition from crisis management to addressing the specific needs of our community moving forward.

The strategic priorities for the Amarillo Area Foundation were temporarily paused as we addressed the unique challenges our community faced while dealing with COVID-19. These priorities included addressing the Health, Education, and Economic needs of our region. In returning to these priorities, we were able to more carefully identify the areas of greatest need and greatest opportunity.

In Health, it was clear that both before and after the pandemic, mental health was a significant challenge. The loss of life and health, the stress of dealing with interruptions to our lives, and the absence of a sense of “normal” took a toll on our friends and neighbors throughout the Panhandle. In addition, food insecurity has similarly been identified as a significant need throughout our region and one that we are working diligently with our partners to address.

The Foundation has always had a strong presence in education, and we will continue to work on postsecondary achievement through our scholarship programs and our Panhandle Community Partnership (formerly No Limits, No Excuses) initiative. In addition, our data show a significant need to address literacy in our early childhood population. To do so, we are seeking to address this challenge for young children and parents alike through a variety of creative initiatives.

As many entities are working to bring high-speed broadband into Texas Panhandle communities, we will look for partnerships that will bring additional tools needed to make these initiatives truly successful. This can include access to digital devices such as laptops, digital literacy training, and technical support. Finally, we are working to address the critical needs of families and employers in our region by working to create childcare solutions for our residents that will allow parents to return to the workforce with a childcare plan that is convenient and affordable. To accomplish this, we will need to work closely with regional employers to research their needs and resources as more and more employees look to re-enter the workforce.

As we focus on all of these critical areas, we will continue to support many of those constituents that have long looked to the foundation for critical support. We will support Arts and Culture initiatives through a generous program funded by The Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation, and we will support nonprofits in crisis who need immediate assistance to continue their great work.

It is exciting to consider all the possibilities in our region as we move through 2022 and beyond. By focusing on these key challenges, we are confident that we can prepare our region for continued success and improve the quality of life for all our residents.

Clay Stribling
President and CEO