Arkansas City Public Education (ACE) Fund

In the beginning...


The ACE Fund, officially known as the Arkansas City Public Schools Enhancement Fund, was established in 2005 by volunteers who care about Arkansas City and its youth with the purpose to support students and teachers in USD 470. The money to support these endeavors comes from individual donations, group donations and endowment funds. When funds are endowed, the original donation remains intact to establish a perpetual fund, and scholarship money is awarded from the fund’s earnings. Endowments are ideal for those wishing to establish a scholarship in honor or memory of individuals or families. Contributions that are not designated for a specific endowment are spent for teacher/classroom grants and general scholarship. ACE Fund exists solely with tax-deductible donations under the umbrella of the Legacy Regional Community Foundation.

The Arkansas City Public Schools Enhancement Fund supports:

· Teachers, through grants for innovative instruction in their classrooms

· Students, by supporting creative projects and scholarship

Legacy Executive Director, Pam Moore, sent a letter in 2009 to ACE Committee President Christie Rogers notifying her of an opportunity for matching funds from Kansas Health Foundation. In addition to personal conversations, appeal letters, and presentation to local clubs and businesses, the Committee was creative in taking on the challenge. In February 2009, an Individual Food Eating Contest was held at The Alumni Grill & Bar located at 1107 S. Summit. Contestants had 1 hour to consume a 72 oz. steak, 2# potato and large salad. 100% of the entry fee was donated to ACE Fund.

In addition to grants and scholarships, the ACE Fund work for an extended time to rejuvenate the Senior Picture Panels that once hung in the halls of the high school with money specifically donated for that purpose. It was a challenge from the Classes of 1954 and 1957 that created momentum in the fundraising. The restored picture panels contain individual class members’ portraits year by year, dating back to the first graduating class of 1895. Volunteers worked to disassemble the picture panels affectionately known as “Rogues Gallery” including D.J. Palmer, Ross Sherwood, John Cary, Gene Burr and Gordon Fry alongside Sally Burr, Cleota Sherwood and Susie Stark. Finally, with help from USD 470 and the Technology department, the pictures are available digitally in the lobby of ACHS on a touch screen. The gallery containing senior pictures dating back to 1905 can also be access online at www.usd470.com under the “Our District” tab.

Monday, August 30, 2019, when promoting the ACE Fund Fall fundraising campaign entitled “Take Five for ACE,” then ACE Committee President Christie Rogers was quoted in The Arkansas City Traveler saying, “In this time of budget reductions, the need is greater than ever. Not only have the cutbacks resulted in larger class sizes, but teachers in general are being asked to do more with few available dollars.” According to Rogers, that is where ACE Funds come into play. Rogers continued, “Through gifts to the fund, we are able to provide help in areas where other funds are simply not available, but of course, what we can do is directly related to the money we receive.”


The K.E. Bryant Family, Gene and Sally Burr, Robert and Marcia Childers, Janet English, Angela Harding, Norman and Joline Iverson, Nick and Christie Rogers, Jay and Nancy Warren, and Robert Warrender have established endowed scholarships. Scholarships established by groups include Class of 1955, Class of 1957, Class of 1959, Friends of A.F.S., and P.E.O. Sisterhood - Chapter ER.

It is because of the generosity of one particular donor ACE Fund presents an annual gift to the USD 470 Master Teacher. The Susie Stark Endowment Fund with Legacy was established to provide a cash award recognizing an exemplary master teacher each year in the Ark City Public School system. The first master teacher award with this gift was present in 2009 to David Steinmetz.

Today...


In 2021, 23 Arkansas City High School seniors and graduates were awarded scholarships totaling over $22,000 to help advance their post high school educations. The scholarships awarded range from $300 to the Robert Warrender scholarship of $1,000 that is renewable for four years.

A few of the recent grants supporting teachers in the classroom include:

  • A grant assisting the Agriculture Department at ACHS in creating an outdoor classroom for seasonal classes and meetings. It will support distancing of students as needed.

  • A grant assisting the Pre-K class at Adams Elementary with carpet squares and number circles. Each student is developing responsibility in caring for their square and learning to recognize numbers and letters. The grant has helped us to better utilize the floor space while keeping students physically distanced.

  • A grant assisting the 5th grade classes at Jefferson Elementary to purchase yoga mats so they may have some lessons outside, taking a break from wearing masks. The students are saying: Thanks for purchasing our yoga mats so we don’t have to sit on the ground when we go outside for our classes! – Kyndall | Thank you so much for donating the money to buy these yoga mats, we are excited to use them. – Gracie | I have a yoga mat and it’s very comfortable and it’s better than sitting on the ground! – Natalie


2021 committee members include Iva Lea Bryant, Kathy Bryant, Alisha Call, Joi Jay, Amy Massey, Terry Naden, Leslie Patterson, and Rags Smith.

In the 16 years since the ACE Fund was first established, $157,000 in scholarships have been awarded impacting 286 scholarship students. The ACE Fund now includes 18 different scholarships given over time.