When the Waxahachie Foundation began in 1968, it had only about $9,900 to its name. On Wednesday morning, Aug. 21, the organization donated nearly three times as much to six local organizations that improve the lives of Ellis County citizens.

In total, $27,500 was distributed Wednesday at Ellis County Title Company in Waxahachie.

"Grants from the Waxahachie Foundation are generally limited to $5,000 per fiscal year," foundation vice president Candace Ahlfinger explained in an email, "however, there are opportunities that occur that have a great impact on a large number of people."

Two of the checks were presented to Operation First Day of School ($2,500) and Hidden Miracles ($5,000). Other recipients included Common Ground Ministries, Waxahachie Care, Waxahachie Community Theatre and the Salvation Army.

Operation First Day of School is an annual initiative of the Waxahachie Independent School District to help provide backpacks and school supplies for students whose families may not be able to purchase them on their own. According to the district’s website, Operation First Day of School has provided assistance to more than 2,000 local families and as many as 7,000 children. This year, almost 800 Waxahachie students received supplies with the help of numerous sponsors.

Hidden Miracles is a special needs ministry for families affected by disability. It began in 2003 with the goal of providing additional resources and fellowship to these families and now operates as a ministry of the Cowboy Church of Ellis County in Waxahachie. Lynn and Barbara McNeely, the program’s founders, were presented with the foundation’s donation alongside their son Travis. Travis has been diagnosed with Angelman’s Syndrome and has served as the inspiration for the family’s ministry.

The foundation generally distributes between six and 10 grants each quarter. The foundation — through investments, trusts and donations — has an approximate account balance of $2.5 million.

The board of directors serve with no monetary compensation. They meet four times per year.

The foundation's officers for 2019 include Dinah Weable, president; Candace Ahlfinger, vice president; Ryan Pitts, secretary; and Jerry Chapman, treasurer. Board members include Dr. Kermit Bridges, Steve Chapman, Tom McAfee, Steve Murphree, Pat Smith, Elizabeth Tull, Patrick Wilson, Kerric Bradford and Krystal Valdez.