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The Garden City Charity Classic is a Symetra Tour golf tournament that was founded to raise money for charity in southwest Kansas. This event is held at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course in Garden City, Kansas and is Presented by the Mariah Fund:

The Mariah Fund is a 501(c)3 Private Foundation, formed to provide capital funding to non-profit organizations in Dodge City, Kansas and other communities of Western Kansas, for the exclusive purpose of enhancing regional tourism through both targeted and collaborative efforts.

Typical applications for grant funding will be solicited from organizations that are actively involved in projects that need capital or matching funds for attraction development projects.  For example, a museum may request funding to build additional facilities that will display and preserve their collection of horse drawn carriages of the 1880’s.  Mariah’s funding may be available to meet a matching requirement to another larger grant opportunity.

Other funding applications may be for regional projects that will affect several organizations and communities.  As an example: Wild West Country, the Southwest Kansas Tourism Region which includes members from 22 counties who work as a team to promote travel within the area. Members are as diverse as the communities represented. They may apply collectively to Mariah to fund development of regional tour routes, highlighting a portion or all of their members.  Such a project may include brochures, advertising, billboards, and illustrate day-trips that encourage local and regional visitations, including Dodge City.

In some cases, tourism development may be a function of rehabilitation of an historical building or feature, or leveraging a downtown ‘Main Street’ project where it will encourage private and public partnerships.  The Mariah Fund may place a portion of their emphasis on funding grants that ‘make the communities or attractions look better’ and preserve areas of historical significance.
Also, there may be opportunities to fund projects that are not necessarily a tourist destination, but still play a complimentary and supporting role in the overall delivery of services and experiences to area visitors, including market development of the region as an experiential and historical asset to visitors.

At the root of this long-term coalition for regional tourism development is the funding Mariah receives from Boot Hill Casino & Resort in Dodge City.  While Boot Hill Casino & Resort does not participate in the administration or management of The Mariah Fund, it’s clear that grants made should in some way connect with Dodge City and enhance the opportunity for regional tourists to visit the area.  That measured success ensures continued, and potentially larger, funding opportunities by Mariah.

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