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Meadows Grant

New Grant Aimed at Addressing Mental Health in the Texas Panhandle through Primary Care Physicians. 

A new initiative from the Amarillo Area Foundation in partnership with Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute will help mental health access to Texas Panhandle residents through integrated care, or care in collaboration with their primary care physician.

The program will be delivered utilizing existing entities, Coalition of Health Services, BSA Healthcare System, and Family Medicine Centers.  An estimated 80% of adults in the Texas Panhandle with mental health concerns can have their needs met through integrated care in the primary care setting.

This initiative will have a single goal: to free people from depression. Barriers standing in the way of this goal include failure to identify and treat depression early, access to treatment, and public perceptions about both treatment efficacy and stigma more broadly. The Initiative focuses on removing these barriers through the combined effort of health systems and the community more broadly.

Within health systems, we are working through this initiative to promote:
  • Universal screening for depression (and other mental health and substance use disorders),
  • Implementation of measurement-based care (MBC) and the Collaborative Care Model (CoCM) for depression, and
  • Reengineering of workflows and billing systems to take advantage of new payment codes for primary care-based depression treatment (CoCM).

The pilot of this program will focus on three areas, Amarillo through BSA Healthcare System, Canyon, through Family Medicine Centers, and Hereford, through the Coalition of Health Services. These three areas will be provided the necessary equipment to meet the mental health needs of their patients.


The Amarillo Area Foundation’s impact goal for Higher Education is to increase the number of individuals in the Texas Panhandle who are receiving a postsecondary credential of value leading to a family sustaining wage. Through funding, collective impact initiatives, collaboration, and convening the Amarillo Area Foundation hopes to improve quality of life for residents of the top 26 counties through the power of education and workforce alignment. The Foundation has a long history of supporting higher education through its Discretionary Grants program as well as its robust scholarship program. Additionally, initiatives such as ACE, Thrive, and the Panhandle Community Partnership (formerly No Limits No Excuses) have worked to address barriers to higher education for years.

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In 2022 through stakeholder interviews, Amarillo Area Foundation staff identified a need for increased collaboration and a focused effort aimed at serving the area’s Opportunity Youth. Opportunity Youth are defined as individuals aged 16-24 who are not in school, not in college or postsecondary, not in work, or are working low-wage jobs. The Foundation applied for and received a grant from the Aspen Institute to support building a collaborative network of providers serving OY in the Texas Panhandle. This group will be led by an advisory council of Opportunity Youth and former Opportunity Youth who will assist in developing new strategies for re-engagement.

The successful reengagement of opportunity youth has the potential to make a substantial regional impact. It is estimated that for every dollar invested in OY reengagement, $4.40 goes back into the area’s economy. The latest data from Measure of America shows that the Texas Panhandle had 5,200 Opportunity Youth in 2019. The graduating class of 2019 for the same geographic area was 4,200 students. Based on these pre-pandemic numbers, it is safe to assume that the incidence of disconnection in the Texas Panhandle has only increased. With an aging population and a percentage of individuals with “some college, no degree” that is higher than the national average, it is crucial that our area work to understand the needs of Opportunity Youth and how to connect them successfully to the amazing educational and workforce opportunities available in the Panhandle. Through our OY collective impact initiative and the fantastic work of our partners including Amarillo College, AISD, the City of Amarillo, Workforce Solutions, WT Americorps, Buckner, and the voices of other community partners and our OY advisors, the Amarillo Area Foundation hopes to do just that. 

The Panhandle Community Partnership is a community impact initiative which works to create accessible pathways to education and career opportunities. To this end, PCP worked to host several events in 2022 including the Work Forward Summit, EDTalks, and EPIC Success. In addition to these events, PCP partnered with Region 16 and Workforce Solutions Panhandle to host 16 educators in their summer externships program. Recently, the PCP has launched a website which will serve as a resource hub for area students and residents as they plan their career pathways. The PCP built career maps to feature various pathways in targeted fields on their website to show students different possibilities for future success in the Panhandle. 

Through these initiatives, the Amarillo Area Foundation is working alongside our communities and partners to improve quality of life for Texas Panhandle residents with the power of education. Our hope is that in the years to come, the top 26 counties will reap the benefits of an educated workforce that wants to stay in this region. 


Community Data

THRIVE provides a better educated and trained workforce through a knowledge-based economy in order to expand and enhance our local economy for future generations.












Tascosa High School


Amarillo High School


Caprock High School


Palo Duro High School


The High School data shows the proportion and frequency of Thrive and Non-Thrive students from each high school who enrolled at AC during the cohort term.

Economic Opportunities

Claude Daycare

In 2020, The City of Claude and Claude Economic Development Corporation began working with Tamra Brannon on a project to open a childcare center (Lil’ Colts) inside the City of Claude. At that time, there were no licensed childcare facilities in Armstrong County. Lil’ Colts would be offering care for children 6 weeks old to12-year-old through childcare and after-school care with a developed curriculum.

The City of Claude realized there was a significant gap in childcare availability in its surrounding area and wanted to find a way to address the issue. A quality childcare facility not only encourages early childhood development, but is also a retention tool for local businesses and schools, and it makes rural communities attractive to families. They also realized that this project could have a large economic impact on the community as it will add jobs to the community and allow current jobseekers to stay close to home. The center will also bring in and retain residents long-term.

The City of Claude has witnessed a significant number of families leave the area to find work because of the lack of a licensed daycare facility. This has especially been true with teachers having young children.

Most enrolled children are from Armstrong, Carson, Donley, Randall, and Potter Counties. The latter two counties have many children who live in the Amarillo area, but parents who work in the Claude area (many of them teachers) had expressed interest in having childcare closer to work. Children

in Armstrong, Carson, and Donley Counties were either staying in private care or being transported to Amarillo for care at a licensed center. There was already one licensed childcare facility in Carson County, but the location is in Panhandle and generally inconvenient for commuters on Hwy 287.

Amber Fund

Donor Estate

Mr. John Bourdon Hines was a resident of Pampa (Gray County, Texas) for most of his life.

He loved to travel, and he loved his beloved Collie and companion, Amber. Early in 2022, the Estate of Mr. John Bourdon Hines created The Amber Fund to honor Mr. Hines’ deep admiration for Amber.  The purpose of the fund:  to provide animal welfare assistance for dogs in Armstrong, Carson, Collingsworth, Donley, Gray, Hemphill, Hutchinson, Roberts, and Wheeler counties.

The Amber Fund is a component fund of the Amarillo Area Foundation, an endowed Field of Interest Fund established to make grant distributions at least annually for the care, adoption, medical treatment, and well-being of dogs in Gray County, Texas, and the contiguous counties noted above.  This funding opportunity supports one of the Foundation’s impact areas, Health, by mitigating community health risks from unvaccinated stray dogs and improving mental health through dog adoptions.

Beginning with a $6.9 million gift, this fund will generously serve our region for years to come as this endowed fund continues to grow.  Distribution recommendations are made in partnership with regional veterinarians and community leaders each year.  $250,000 was awarded to three nonprofits in 2022, including Pampa Animal Welfare Society, Pampa Meals on Wheels (meals for dogs), and Wellington Organization Rescue Dog Shelter.

Food Insecurity

Beyond the food

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life, and also points out that, “It is important to know that hunger and food insecurity are closely related, but distinct, concepts. Hunger refers to a personal, physical sensation of discomfort, while food insecurity refers to a lack of available financial resources for food at the level of the household.

“Food insecurity describes a household’s inability to provide enough food for every person to live an active, healthy life. Food insecurity is one way we can measure and assess the risk of hunger.”
-Feeding America

Primary cause of food insecurity is low income

Poverty and food insecurity are social determinates of health and are associated with some of the most serious and costly health problems in the nation.

Food insecure and low income are vulnerable to poor nutrition and obesity due to additional risk factors:

  • Lack of access to healthy affordable foods
  • Cycles of food deprivation and overeating
  • High levels of stress, anxiety, depression
  • Fewer opportunities of physical activity
  • Greater marketing of obesity-promoting products
  • Limited access to health care

Household food insecurity is a strong predictor of higher healthcare utilization and increased healthcare cost

  • This translates to $77.5 billion in excess annual healthcare expenses nationally.
Seniors on a fixed income often must make difficult decisions between paying for food and critical healthcare.
Seniors with Food Insecurity may experience a number of challenges:

    • Food running out
    • Skipping meals
    • Choosing between food and medicine
    • Postponing medical care
    • Poor health outcomes
    • Higher health care use and costs
      Source: FRACS Hunger and Health series
Food insecurity increases the risk for chronic health conditions:

  • Increased risk for negative mental health impacts
  • Inadequate intake of nutrients
  • Total healthcare costs increase steadily with increased severity of household food insecurity

1 in 7 Texans in the Panhandle are food insecure


The food insecurity rate for children in the Texas Panhandle


In 2022, we continued to assess the food insecurity landscape in our communities by reviewing demographic data and engaging with community partners. This assessment provided us with valuable insights into the unique challenges faced by our communities, enabling us to work towards developing targeted strategies for intervention. Collaboration remains at the core of our strategy. We have continued to strengthen our relationships with community organizations, government agencies, and nonprofit partners. By fostering collaboration, we hope to move towards streamlined service delivery, avoided duplication of efforts, and leveraging additional resources.

Shared definition: The uncertainty of access to enough quality food.

While there is still much work to be done, we remain resolute in our commitment to finding sustainable solutions and making a lasting impact on the lives of individuals and families in need.

Together, we can create a future where everyone has access to nutritious food and the opportunity to thrive.


Developing a resource database/asset map

Acquiring quality data to allow us all to work from the same information
Raising awareness in the community and among businesses of the issue of food insecurity
Communication and collaboration to empower agencies to refer clients to other resources
Cooperative buying agreement



to organizations that address

food insecurity in 2022.

Grantee: Tri-County Meals

Impact: AAF (Amarillo Area Foundation) provided a grant for $47,646 to help build a new 3,000 sq ft building to house a food pantry serving Silverton, Quitaque, Turkey, and Flomot. Founded in 2004, Tri-County Meals has emerged as a heartwarming testament to the remarkable strength of community collaboration. This small yet vibrant nonprofit organization has been creating profound positive ripples within the surrounding communities, exemplifying the extraordinary results that can be achieved when dedicated hearts and hands unite for a common purpose.

Tri-County Meals has been able to reach more people, have better quality and quantity of food with the ability to control temperatures, and have room to store shelf-stable food items.   

The addition of the new space has also allowed for a 2nd delivery from High Plains Food Bank, a regional partner.

As we reflect on the journey of Tri-County Meals, we celebrate the triumphs of a community that unites for the greater good. Their story is a reminder that even the smallest efforts, when nurtured by shared purpose, can yield monumental outcomes.