Many small towns dotted across the country are close-knit communities, filled with good-hearted people who do all that they can to help their community. They’re part of the web of Americana that makes the country strong.
Winters, TX is part of that Americana in every way.
The community has Winters Gives, a charity that distributes money to nonprofits in the community. This is the second year that the charity has been donating time and money to area nonprofits. Randall Conner says that Winters Gives grouped 5 area nonprofits to strengthen the community, “The Winters Area Foundation started in 2007. In Winters Gives, we grouped 5 organizations together to pool the resources. We wanted more than just a day so we devoted an entire month to it. Each November is Winters Gives month.”
In 2018, their first year, the citizens of Winters, and even former residents, dug deep into their pockets and donated $21,500. “This year we’ve already raised almost $11,000,” Susan Conner points out.
The five organizations that Winters Gives benefits are the: Winters Area Foundation; Winters Ministerial Alliance; Winters Sports and Recreation Association; Z.I. Hale museum; Winters Area Foundation Scholarship Fund. Randall says that one surprise was where most of the funds come from, “About 60% or more of the donations are from out of town, from former residents. It’s always surprising who we hear from. People who no longer live here but who still have Winters in their hearts give generously to Winters Gives.”
One of the groups that benefit from the donation drive is the Winters Area Foundation. Randall says that they help students with scholarships, “They give out 6 or 7 scholarships on average. This year we’ll give out 12 scholarships. A lot of people like to donate to the scholarship fund. Several of the scholarships are endowed, which means that they’ll be there in perpetuity. It takes $25,000 to endow a $1,000 scholarship.”
Sue says that the Samaritan House is also helped out by the foundation, “They prepare holiday food baskets each year, in addition to the 60 families they normally feed every month.”
Susan is secretary of the Winters Area Foundation and treasurer of the Winters Ministerial Alliance.
The recently formed Winters Sports and Recreation Association (WSRA) is a 501(c)3 is at the Winters Country Club. Randall says that the association receives money from the Winters Gives, “Now that it’s a 501(c)3, there are many grants open to them. Everyone that works out there is a volunteer. This year Winters Gives will donate to the WSRA for clubhouse improvements. The high school golf team is one of the groups that uses the golf course.”
Winters Gives is administered by the Community Foundation of Abilene (CFA). Randall says that it made sense to use the CFA, “They do all of the audits and administration. We select the scholarship winners and they take care of everything. Their fees are lower than we could pay to do it ourselves. The CFA administers hundreds of scholarships.”
Randall and Susan say that the Winters Area Foundation is doing well under the CFA administration, “We’ve got almost $700,000 in funds in the bank. Those are scholarship endowments so they’re perpetual. So far about $250,000 has been returned to the community in the form of scholarships. One resident didn’t have any heirs so he left his money to the foundation. It comes to around $14,000 for the foundation each year. All of the money is invested well and has earned good interest.”
Randall says that there are about 20 separate funds within the foundation, “The foundation affects the entire community in some way, shape or form.”
If you’d like to donate you can contact the Winters Area Foundation or go to www.cfaAbilene.com