Grants at Work: Ubuntu Inc.

Grants at Work: Ubuntu Inc.

By Wendy Skellenger | Hutchinson Community Foundation


Roughly translated, Ubuntu means “I am because we are” in Nguni, a South African language. Ultimately, it means community. Ubuntu in Pretty Prairie, now located inside the newly renovated Graber Mercantile & Event Emporium on the town’s Main Street, has served as a thrift store since 2013, with profits going back into the community.

Now Ubuntu has expanded its community contribution through the addition of its Adventure, Exploration & Education room that will house rotating exhibits on city and state history, events, and art.

The Adventure, Exploration & Education Room inside Ubuntu Inc. in Pretty Prairie will feature educational exhibits. The room was partially funded by a Hutchinson Community Foundation Make It Greater Grant. Top: Ubuntu Inc. is housed inside the Graber Mercantile & Event Emporium on Pretty Prairie’s Main Street. (Wendy Skellenger | Hutchinson Community Foundation)

The current exhibit features American Indian artifacts from the Saxman site in Rice County.

Aubrey Abbott Patterson, Hutchinson Community Foundation president and CEO, hands Ubuntu Inc. Executive Director Liz Shepherd a Make It Greater Grant check June 13, 2018, at Ubuntu in Pretty Prairie. (Wendy Skellenger | Hutchinson Community Foundation)

The addition of the room was made possible with the help of a $1,600 Hutchinson Community Foundation Make It Greater Grant that was awarded April 19, 2018.

“We wanted to include in the building a place that people, and particularly kids, can come and have a hands-on experience,” said Executive Director Liz Shepherd.

She hopes the space can also be an educational stop for schoolkids.

Fixtures of the space include a television for pairing educational programming with exhibits and a large basin created by the Pretty Prairie High School shop teacher that can be adapted to exhibit needs.

“We’re trying to make Pretty Prairie a destination community,” Shepherd said.

The room at Ubuntu is one more step toward that goal made possible, according to Shepherd, by the Make It Greater Grant.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do it without it. We didn’t have the resources,” she said. “Now that it’s done, we’ve had excitement from people in asking how they can help.”



  • Bring people together and provide opportunities for positive social interaction and benefit through volunteer work or community-building efforts.
  • Connect people to the environment around them in new ways to increase community pride and identity.
  • Build on our communities’ assets and unique qualities through placemaking.

Wendy Skellenger is communications officer at Hutchinson Community Foundation. Email: