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Wickenburg study serves town, foundation

January 30, 2007

The Wellik Foundation recently teamed with Arizona State University’s Partnership for Community Development to determine how it could better serve the residents of Wickenburg and create a legacy of service for the area.

The effort resulted in a blueprint for the needs and desires of residents and a sense of historical priorities for the community.

“The board felt it needed some external help to help them shape their funding priorities in the community,” said Richard Knopf, director of Partnership for Community Development and professor of Recreation and Tourism Management in the College of Human Services at ASU’s West campus. “The benefit to Wickenburg was they were able to voice what they needed to preserve in the community 20 years out. They were absolutely delighted.”

The late Viola Wellik, who wanted to preserve the values and traditions of small town culture in Wickenburg, established the Wellik Foundation in 1998. Her bequest to the Arizona Community Foundation resulted in a significant philanthropic endowment to ensure the Wickenburg community has a continuous source of funding to help address community needs.

On behalf of the Foundation, the Partnership for Community Development conducted a community assessment of Wickenburg during July and August 2006. It involved 21 interviews with key influential members of the community and five focus groups. The process included an assessment of the hopes, assets, needs, challenges, and perceptions of the community today, as well as an assessment of the vision that residents hold for their future.

The ideal Wickenburg, results showed, would preserve the core values of the community, develop a self-sustaining economic basis, follow sound practices in town development and planning, revitalize the downtown area, expand community facilities, bolster educational support systems, increase arts and culture opportunities, create attractions to increase tourism, have progressive infrastructure development, maximize historical preservation, provide greater environmental protection, provide greater opportunities for your development, and have a rich array of community-based education, recreation, socialization, and special events programming for all generations.

Knopf said the Foundation’s trustees are considering how to implement the assessment results into their funding priorities to best benefit the Wickenburg community.