News and Events

Summer Programs Enlighten Local Youth with Future Fund Support

The future of Abilene indeed looks bright, if the impact of 2017 Future Fund grant-making is any indication of what’s to come!

Future Fund, a Community Foundation of Abilene fund that makes grants to organizations that help children and youth in Abilene, granted nearly $74,000 during the 2017 grant cycle, awarding funding to programs that help youth via the arts, education, mentorship, and more.

Below are just a few impact reports from programs that received funding from 2017 Future Fund grants.

Dream Night at the Zoo:

“More than 350 special-needs children and their families were treated to a private evening in the park, complete with hands-on animal encounters, keeper chats, train rides, snacks, this fabulous coloring mural, and keepsakes to take home.  A private outing at the zoo allows children who might not tolerate crowds, noises or other types of stimuli to relax and enjoy a family outing. It’s one of the zoo staff’s most-rewarding events to host,” says Abilene Zoo Marketing and Development Coordinator Kelly Thompson.
Hardin-Simmons University’s Dream Catchers Camp:
“[State Representative Stan Lambert, Col. David Benson, and Mr. Blake Woodall] presented fictitious countries and their governments after studying the US Constitution and the US government…Thank you so much for your help,” says Dr. Renee Collins, Chair of the HSU Irvin School of Education.
HSU description of Dream Camp:
For two weeks in the summer, 100+ diverse readers from a local Abilene elementary school participate in a science-based literacy enrichment program designed to help motivate, challenge and inspire.

Through the essential elements of critical thinking, encouraged ownership, and active learning, students create deeper and more complex responses.

Center for Contemporary Arts Summer Art Camps:

 “So far this summer, we have had 2 camps, The Lost Art of Table Manners, where campers learned that table manners were not only a show of respect for their fellow diners, but also evidence of respect for themselves.  As a group, we reviewed several videos explaining good table behavior and its importance, and one video of absurdly BAD table manners that made evident the need.  We partnered with Cypress Street Station, reserving a special area and a special server, so that our campers learned how a table should be set…and why…The Future Fund grant made this possible.

Our second summer ArtCamp was called Ultimate Upscale Adventure.  Campers led by Stacy Horton Sanchez, were taught environmental stewardship, and how one person can make a significant contribution to protecting earth, and how to turn “throwaways” into art. They learned to participate in city government by attending the June 22nd City Council meeting where they met the mayor, council…and presented samples of their work, emphasizing the need for this community to recycle.

We have 3 more camps:  Theater/Art Camp: Be Here Then, Beginning Digital Photography, and ArtHEALs (for refugee children.)  Future Fund makes it possible for us to award scholarships to these camps (for kids who) come from Hendrick Home, and some who show potential and have financial need.  I have several ‘Thank you notes’ from kids who got scholarships due to Future Fund’s generosity,” says Center for Contemporary Arts Curator Bird Thomas.