Thank you – Dyck Arboretum of the Plains

June 2nd, 2018

Dear Kendall, Sherry & family – We are honored to be carrying out the Earth Partnership for Schools Program this coming year with funds from the Chris Mikesell Foundation and doing so with Chris’ exuberant and environmentally sensitive spirit in mind. Thank you for this gift!


Brad Guhr
Education/Prairie Restoration/Concert Series Coordinator


Kansas Students Experience Hands-on Environmental Learning

June 2nd, 2018

The Dyck Arboretum of the Plains, located in Hesston, Kan., trains K-12 teachers to restore prairie gardens on school grounds as a part of their Earth Partnership for Schools Program. Teachers and students study the model prairie and then plan, plant, maintain and research their prairie gardens as hands-on schoolyard learning laboratories.

With a $2,500 Chris Mikesell Foundation grant, nearly 400 new students will learn about their Kansas natural and cultural history through education about native plants, wildlife, soils and water. Armed with this knowledge, the program aims to help students grow into better environmental decision makers and more competent future leaders.

The Mikesell Family is happy to provide this grant in Chris’ memory. He loved to experience nature and fostering that same love in other children is a top priority for the Foundation.

Click here to read a thank you note from the Dyck Arboretum of the Plains.


Severely Malnourished Children Receive UNICEF Aid

April 9th, 2018

Famine has been declared in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen, and in nine additional countries across Africa and the Middle East. Approximately 1.4 million children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition in these countries.

To support UNICEF’s efforts in the region, the Chris Mikesell Foundation responded with a $5,000 grant in April 2017.

In the South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen, UNICEF has:

  • treated more than 600,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition;
  • provided access to safe water for more than 6.8 million people;
  • ensured that more than 1.2 million children have access to education during the emergency;
  • provided psychosocial support for nearly 700,000 children; and
  • provided access to life-saving healthcare and vaccines to millions of children and adults.

The support of people around the world early in the crisis has helped avert the loss of many lives, and UNICEF continues to support the needs of the most vulnerable children in these 13 famine-affected countries. Learn more about UNICEF’s efforts to combat famine and food crises on its website.

UNICEF Mobilizes Resources to Provide Assistance in Hurricane-Ravaged Puerto Rico

April 8th, 2018

Since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico in September 2017, causing one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the island, UNICEF USA has been strongly committed to the needs and welfare of the most vulnerable children and their families.

Joining donors from around the world, the Chris Mikesell Foundation provided a $5,000 grant in November, helping UNICEF mobilize resources and leverage its global partnerships to put children first in Puerto Rico.

UNICEF Family Dignity and Hygiene Kits

Shortly after Hurricane Maria, UNICEF USA was able to provide 12,000 Family Dignity and Hygiene Kits to approximately 60,000 children and families. Each kit contained essential items such as water containers, buckets, soap, detergent, toothpaste, water purification tablets and sanitary pads. The kits were critical in helping children and families stay clean and healthy, protecting them from diseases that can occur when disruption of safe water supply and loss of infrastructure occur.

Clean Water and Essential Supplies

Donor support has been instrumental in helping transport and distribute more than 4,000 pallets of other essential supplies such as water, non-perishable food, diapers, toiletries, feminine hygiene products and solar flashlights. In collaboration with long-time corporate partner UPS, UNICEF USA has been working with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort as well as local non-profit organizations in Puerto Rico to support the distribution of these supplies to children and families in all 78 municipalities across the island.

Since October 2017, UNICEF USA representatives have made three trips to Puerto Rico to assess ongoing needs and work with partners on the ground to ensure that supplies are getting to those that need it most.

Addressing Ongoing Healthcare Needs with Partners

In partnership with Jennifer Lopez, UNICEF USA has also awarded the Hispanic Federation funding in the amount of $1 million for a Disaster Recovery Program for facility repairs and reinforcements, restoration, improving connectivity and replacement of damaged equipment of Puerto Rico Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). The island’s 20 FQHCs care for an estimated 350,000 individuals, more than one in 10 residents of Puerto Rico at more than 90 health center sites, and provided 1.53 million visits in 2016.

UNICEF USA wants to ensure vulnerable children who were impacted by Hurricane Maria are protected and can return to some sense of normalcy as soon as possible. Programmatic proposals are under consideration as the second phase of the response is being determined. One promising program under consideration involved a national community center that serves about 1,700 kids per day.

Stay up-to-date on UNICEF’s efforts in Puerto Rico by visiting their website.