The Homer Cole Community Center will be able to get on the Internet and undergo other improvements, thanks to a $40,000 grant from the Leon V. and Dorothy M. Skubitz Foundation.

The Homer Cole Community Center will be able to get on the Internet and undergo other improvements, thanks to a $40,000 grant from the Leon V. and Dorothy M. Skubitz Foundation.

The grant was announced during a reception Wednesday afternoon at M&I Wealth Management, Pittsburg.  Presenting the check was Brande Anderson, Kansas City, M&I vice president of not-for-profit services.

Mr. and Mrs. Skubitz, longtime Pittsburg residents, left their estate in trust with M&I Wealth Management to create a foundation that would award an annual grant or grants. Funds are to be used exclusively for charitable purposes that benefit southeast Kansas residents, with a strong preference given to charitable purposes that benefit Crawford County residents.

Frances Mitchelson, a member of the M&I Advisory Board, chaired the Skubitz Sub-Committee which selected the grant recipients.

“We narrowed the field down to three worthy organizations, then selected the Homer Cole Center,” she said. “It is the only organization that offers some of the programs it does in the community.”

She said that these funds will help them develop technology advances, get hooked up on the Internet and develop a web page, as well as make other improvements, including making doors ADA-compliant.

“That back door to the center is so heavy I’ve had trouble opening it,” Mitchelson said. “I believe there are also some issues with leaks.”

Accepting the check were Sharon Papish, who recently stepped down after serving as center director for many years, Bill Huffman, Homer Cole board treasurer, and Robert Mangile, board chairman.

“The building is also set up as a disaster center,” Huffman noted. “The county already has it wired to hook up there.”

Papish said that it was an honor for the center to be selected for the grant.

“My husband, Frank Papish, worked with Mr. Skubitz at the Gas Service Company so I had met him many years ago,” she said. “That makes this even more special.”

Mrs. Skubitz served as an assistant to the Pittsburg State University president for 17 years.

Papish said it was also a pleasure to work with Mitchelson on the grant issue.

Mitchelson noted that she was also gratified that the Skubitz grant will be able to do so much good.

“The improvements to the center will benefit not only senior citizens but the entire community,” Mitchelson said. “Around 10,000 people use that building each year.”

Previous Leon V. and Dorothy M. Skubitz grants included $50,000 for a Pittsburg State University endowed nursing scholarship, $45,000 to the Rails to Trails program in Pittsburg, $40,800 to the Mount Carmel Foundation for the Women’s Services Center and $36,500 for assistance to Fort Scott Community College construction trades students.