Applications for grants are now being taken for the George R. Tiller, M.D. Memorial Fund for the Advancement of Women’s Health.
The grant money is for nonprofit groups serving Kansans, particularly Kansas women.
Scott Roeder shot Tiller to death May 31, 2009, at Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita. Tiller long had been a target of abortion protesters because he offered late-term abortions at his clinic near Oliver and Kellogg.
Shortly after the shooting, his family began the fund with the Wichita Community Foundation, said Shelly Prichard, the foundation’s CEO and president.
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“Part of the Wichita Community Foundation’s mission is to create lasting legacies for families,” Prichard said in a news release. “We are happy to assist his family by honoring and memorializing their loved one through this annual grant round.”
In an interview with The Eagle, Prichard said that although the grant money is driven by the market, she anticipates that each year the community foundation may allocate nearly $40,000 in funds. The limit for each application is $10,000. Organizations have until April 2 to apply.
“The family wants to help women get the kind of medical services that will help themselves – which might be through breast or ovarian cancer or even substance abuse,” Prichard said.
David Gittrich is the state development director for the anti-abortion group Kansans for Life, which opposed Tiller’s efforts. He said his concept of helping women involves counseling and job possibilities.
“I don’t believe you are serving women by killing a child,” Gittrich said. “You don’t help a woman by placing them back in the situation they were before. You help them with counseling, planning for the future and for jobs.”
According to the guidelines for the grants, requests should focus on reproductive health and services to women in need and can include medical education – but not scholarships; medical testing expenses; fellowships or research; sex education programs in elementary, middle or high schools; fraternal, social and veteran groups providing women’s programs; film, video or documentary productions on women’s health; programs or events promoting women’s health; substance abuse programs for women; offsetting the delivery of medical services related to women’s reproductive health and disease specific organizations related to reproductive health, such as breast or ovarian cancer.
The applications are available online only through the Wichita Community Foundation and by going to wichitacf.org/TillerFund.
“George’s lifetime work was helping women and helping their rights,” said Al Higdon, a family friend of the Tillers. “This is being established in his honor.”