Author: Fred Atchison (Page 1 of 4)

Facilitating Community Philanthropy

Lawrence Central Rotary’s own Lori Trenholm, Community Development Director for Douglas County Community Foundation, introduced her boss, Executive Director Chip Blaser. Blaser explained that DCCF is a tax exempt charity serving Douglas County and several nearby communities by providing options for philanthropic giving. DCCF links donors to community needs and provides services and management of the process. Nonprofits may set up an organization fund or apply for grants to fund projects benefiting community.

Six to seven million grant dollars are awarded each year. Some recent grants include funding for Crisis Pet Retention, Community Garden funding through the Heart Department, and numerous pandemic relief projects. The DCCF is a valuable community asset that encourages, facilitates and leverages community giving. Chip Blaser has a law background and prior experience in managing nonprofit organizations. DCCF has experience significant growth under his leadership.

Women Achievers in Early Lawrence

Lawrence has a proud early history of notable women according to Sarah Bell, Development Director at Watkins Museum. Bell has a passion for local history, especially stories about activist women. A number of profiles were shared of women working in the city in the 1800’s. The contributions of black women are often overlooked, but there was Ida Wallace who owned and operated a successful restaurant located on North Massachusetts. At the other end of Massachusetts, black entrepreneurs Amanda Johnson and Medor Renfro ran a popular bakery.

Mary McCullogh was also a successful business woman of the time who operated a restaurant and invested in real estate, making deals with prominent men of the community. Seamstress Mary Barnes taught her trade to young women and hosted Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony on their 1867 visit to Lawrence. There were a number of women doctors practicing in the late 1800s. Lucy H. Taylor may have been the first woman with a degree to practice dentistry.

Sarah Bell does historical walking tours and shares stories of remarkable women who contributed to the community. She earned a Masters Degree in Museum Studies and a Doctorate in History from the University of Kansas.

Kansas in the Civil War

A greater percentage of Civil War soldiers were mobilized in Kansas than in any other state, according to historian Will Haynes. Haynes provided a vivid account of a difficult period of Kansas history.

Kansas had experienced a decade of border fighting prior to the war, and Kansans believed they were particularly vulnerable. Some 20,00 Kansans fought in the war despite being poorly armed and supplied. They fought bravely in numerous skirmishes and in battles at Wilson Creek and Westport. A black combat unit was raised by Jim Lane, the state’s controversial first senator. Although the war was hard on families left behind, some merchants profited from the war.

Haynes is Director of Engagement and Learning at Watkins Museum and holds a Masters and Doctorate in History from the University of Kansas.

Portugal Sampler

Portugal is a very appealing destination according to Lynn O’Neal, Lawrence Central Rotary member. O’Neal shared his recent vacation experience and provided a delightful program.

O’Neal and his wife Debbie visited four cities in Portugal, took a river cruise, enjoyed the beautiful coastline, and discovered delicious sea food at every stop. They visited walled towns, vineyards, and a chocolate factory. Many Portuguese are English speakers, and it is not an expensive place to visit.

The O’Neals provided Portuguese wines to sample and a tasty traditional custard desert. It was great to be reminded of the pleasures of travel.

Facing the Past

On June 10, 1882, three black men were brutally lynched from a bridge over the Kaw River near downtown Lawrence. Ursla Minor, head of the local chapter of the NAACP, reported on the efforts of a local coalition to commemorate the three men. A permanent marker will be placed at City Hall in June near a remaining pier of the old bridge.

Minor is a strong advocate of citizen involvement in community affairs, serving as a Trustee for Lawrence Public Library and as a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board for LMH. Minor is also an accomplished 3-D mixed-media artist.

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