Meredith Foundation awards almost $1.5 million in grants

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In 2020, the Meredith Foundation has granted $1,475,378 to 14 qualified organizations. Receiving funds this year are the following: 

  • Addie McFarland Foundation
  • APET/SPCA
  • City of Mineola
  • Grace Community Healthcare
  • Lake Country Playhouse/Select Theater
  • Mineola Civic Center
  • Mineola ISD
  • Mineola ISD Education Foundation
  • Mineola Memorial Library
  • Mineola League of the Arts
  • Mineola Youth Foundation
  • Methodist Children’s Home
  • Mineola Community Chest
  • Mineola Senior Citizen Center

To qualify for a grant, an organization must be a 501(c)(3) and must benefit the people of Mineola within the Mineola Independent School District. The one exception to a beneficiary being located in MISD is the Methodist Children’s Home in Waco. The home was of special interest to Harry W. Meredith.  

The Mineola Independent School District and the City of Mineola are excluded from the 501(c)(3) certification requirement.

MISD received $206,099 in grants. Of the money donated, they have allocated $50,000 for senior scholarships, $77,166 for interactive flat panels at all four campuses, $30,320 for primary school Chromebooks, $12,600 for a sound system at the high school, $9,594 for virtual reality technology at the middle school, $4,495 for a poster and banner machine at the elementary school and $21,924 for high school band instruments.

The City of Mineola was granted $371,839. It will be using $182,718 for a new leaf truck, $49,000 will be dispensed to the fire department, $54,721 to the police department, $47,400 to the Landmark Commission and $38,000 to the Mineola Historical Museum.

By Feb. 1, organizations requesting assistance must send a copy of its 501(c)(3) certification, a prioritized list of needs with applicable bids, and a signed copy of board minutes of the meeting in which the request was approved. 

Additionally, a list of the current board members must accompany the request along with current financial statements including the income statement and balance sheet of the organization.

The written requests for donations and assistance are normally considered at the February monthly meeting, and are reviewed and awarded annually.

“It’s a lot of work on our part and their part,” says Chairman Lou Wagner.

Since the Meredith Foundation was created and a board organized in July 1958, the trust has invested $34 million in the community that Meredith loved.

The only project he lived to see accomplished was the Mineola Memorial Library being built. The land for the library was a gift to the foundation from James C. and Anna Butler Judge, funded by the sale of 200 shares of El Paso Natural Gas stock.

On July 21, 1959, Meredith broke ground for the library, stating that he was giving the building to pay Mineola back for all it had done for him. 

He stayed active until his health did not allow him and served as chairman of the board until his death in 1962.

Meredith had arranged for a sizable part of his wealth to go to the Meredith Foundation with the stipulation that it was to help the people of Mineola.

Current trustees of the foundation are Lou Wagner (chairman), Bob Smith (vice chairman), Joe Williams (secretary and treasurer), Freda Madsen and Jerry Phillips.

Lou Wagner grew up in Mineola, was a Mineola high school graduate and knew Meredith personally. She said things in Mineola have changed significantly because of the contributions he made.

“We have what we have because of Mr. Meredith,” she said. 

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