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Texoma Health Foundation gives $792K to health, service orgs

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Grayson College's nursing program was among 25 recipients of funding through the Texoma Health Foundation's 2021 grant drive.

For many non-profit organizations, 2020 will go down as one of great need for both the groups and the communities that they serve. The Texoma Health Foundation is doing its part to help these organizations through its annual gift giving.

THF announced this week that it has donated $792,000 to 25 Texoma non-profits as a part of its 2021 gift-giving season and charitable efforts. For this year, organizers balanced its ongoing focus areas while assisting organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This is one of the components of what we do through grants and giving," THF President Michelle Lemming said. "For this year in particular, we wanted to ensure that we gave support to organizations that responded to COVID-19. We gave a lot more flexibility to include that as a priority area."

THF has traditionally focused on organizations that assist in providing access to care and mental health services as its primary focus areas. However, they shifted this in the most recent grant cycle to include the ongoing pandemic. This years grants included organizations that tend to its long-term focus areas along with areas responding to the pandemic, or negatively affected by it.

This year's grant cycle proved to be an average year for THF in spite of the ongoing pandemic. Lemming said the disease did limit some of its fundraising. In the 14 years that the organization has given, it has gone from about $300,000 annually to over $900,000 at its peek a few years ago.

"So much of that depends on large donations that come in," Lemming said. "As we go into 2021 charities and even us are experiencing an increase in donations. I think that you will feel that next year."

Of the 25 recipients, about 15 of the requests had some connection to COVID-19. In many cases, the recipients nominated projects but also listed COVID-related needs.

"We really look at opportunities to support new projects, especially from organizations where we haven't had contact in the past," Lemming said.

Divine Equine Therapeutic Riding Center is among 25 organizations that received funding from the Texoma Health Foundation in its recent 2021 grant cycle.

Among the organizations that received support for the first time in the annual giving drive was Divine Equine Therapeutic Riding Center. The group utilizes horseback riding and other equine activities to help patients with a myriad of conditions including PTSD and autism.

The funds will allow the organization to pay its instructors for the first time since the organization was founded in 2012. The money will also assist in hiring a psychotherapist.

"The money is basically going to benefit our riders, and not office expenses, through therapy and riding," said Nell Ward, representing the organization.

The more than $60,000 grant is the largest single donation that the organization has received.

"It is so much money and while it is for a specific project I do not know where to begin," Ward said.

Geary Girls Ranch also received funds as a part of this grant cycle. The organization, which owns property in unincorporated Grayson County, seeks to build homes for foster families with four to six children.

Susie Holaman, who herself was a foster child, founded the group in 2017 following talks with a fellow foster sister.

"A few years ago we decided that the lack of foster homes and foster care was something we are passionate about and is on our hearts," she said.

The THF funds will help the organization build its second residence on its property and give a new home to several children in need. A family is already waiting for the residence to be built so that they can move in.

"We will build a second home and our plan is to break ground on this second home in March," Holaman said.