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Kronkosky grants to county total $265K

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Bandera County scored big in the latest round of grants made by the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation during the second half of 2013.
On Wednesday, Jan. 29, Palmer Moe, managing director of the foundation, announced that local nonprofit recipients that benefited during this most recent round of funding included Bandera County Helping Hand, $25,000; Frontier Times Museum, $30,000; the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bandera County, $100,000; and Silver Sage Corral Community Center, $110,000.
The grants formally announced last week were among the 72, totaling $6.7 million, approved July through December 2013.
Including the most recent cycle, the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation has given more than $200 million to support nonprofit organizations since its inception in May 1998. At that time, Bessie Mae and Albert Kronkosky Jr. funded their foundation with gifts totaling $351 million. By November 2013, the foundation's investment portfolio, excluding grants and expenses, had reached $369 million. The Kronkosky family presence in Texas dates back to the 1860s when they moved into the New Braunfels area.
In 2013, the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation awarded grants totaling $15.4 million to nonprofit organizations in Bandera, Bexar, Comal and Kendall counties. Since 1998, Bandera County nonprofit organizations and agencies have been awarded almost $7 million.
Bandera's Frontier Times Museum was one of four museums that received a total of $305,000 in grants. The others, which included the Witte Museum, San Antonio Museum of Art and San Antonio Children's Museum, are located in the City of San Antonio.
"The Frontier Times Museum is extremely grateful to the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation for awarding us this grant for 2014," said Executive Director Rebecca Norton. "The museum serves as a cultural and educational resource for all the residents of Bandera County. We have been an integral part of the local landscape for over 80 years. With plans to expand our museum's campus, it is crucial that we continue to have the funding necessary to support the operational expenses of the museum."
As Norton explained, as the only public museum in Bandera County, the museum is actually owned by all citizens of the county, but receives no public funding from the city or the county. "The Kronkosky Foundation's grant assists us with the funds we need to provide the services we offer the community such as free educational programming to area school children and free entertainment performances for everyone," Norton added.
According to Executive Director Jesse Parks, the Helping Hand Crisis Center received the grant for their program, Precious Minds, New Connections. "Jana Osborn used to administer this program, but after she left the extension agency for a new job, the program will continue at Helping Hand," Parks said.
Precious Minds, New Connections is based on extensive research into early childhood development. Research indicates that 80 to 90 percent of a person's brain develops by the age of three.
According to a Kronkosky Foundation release, every parent and caregiver of infants and toddlers should have access to the information and tools needed to make their child's first three years as productive and positive as possible.
"The Precious Minds, New Connections program at Helping Hand is free and through it, we hope to keep children from abuse and neglect," Parks said.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Bandera County was selected for the grant due to the organization's "well-organized programs and curricula with a focus on character development of local youth."
"We always appreciate support from those who fund us and believe in our mission," said Executive Director Greg Parker. "Without a belief of this magnitude, we wouldn't be able to serve kids in Bandera County to the extent that we are currently doing.
We look at the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation much more than someone providing us with a grant, but as a partner in serving our youth in Bandera County!"
The grant for the Silver Sage Corral Community Center will help provide nutritional support and other services to area senior citizens - most notably through the Meals on Wheels program for Bandera County residents.
"The Silver Sage truly appreciates the generosity and monetary assistance given through grants such as the Kronkosky Charitable Trust Foundation," said Executive Director Pam Thatcher. "But, it would not be possible for a small nonprofit organization such as ours to continue the Meals On Wheels program in Bandera County without public kindness and support. We strive to make a positive difference by helping people stay healthy and remain vital independent citizens."
For more information on the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, visit kronkosky.org.