“That shows a lot of pride.” This statement applies when we see a community that is clean and neat, with active businesses and busy downtown buildings. Today, we will visit a group of community volunteers who are utilizing their pride – and the Kansas PRIDE program – to benefit their rural town.
Kay Haffner is the co-chair of the Grainfield Community Development Committee, active members of the Kansas PRIDE program. In 2020, Kansas PRIDE is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding, so we will be highlighting Kansas PRIDE communities during the year ahead.
Kansas PRIDE is a partnership of K-State Research and Extension, the Kansas Department of Commerce, Kansas Masons, and Kansas PRIDE, Inc. Through the program, local volunteers identify their community’s priorities and then work with the resources of these partners to create their ideal community future.
The Grainfield Community Development Committee or GCDC formed and joined the PRIDE program in 2009. Kay Haffner and her husband own a trucking company here. She volunteers with the GCDC.
“We were a town that was dying,” Kay said. “Nothing was being done.” GCDC members decided to refurbish the community’s old, faded Christmas decorations. They got tinsel and lights and redid the decorations. It went so well that they decided to take on more projects.
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Did your mother tell you that? If so, she was right. First impressions are important, for communities as well as people. Today we’ll learn about a program which can help Kansas towns create their community’s best possible first impression for visitors and prospective residents, while setting the stage for community action.
Nancy Daniels and Nadine Sigle are community vitality specialists with K-State Research and Extension. They use a program called First Impressions to provide helpful feedback for community improvement initiatives across the state.
From scholarships to strategies, from volunteers to entrepreneurs, from rural health care to community betterment: All those elements are being supported by the Dane G. Hansen Foundation which is investing deeply and strategically in northwest Kansas.
Betsy Wearing is coordinator of programs, communications, and new initiatives for the Dane G. Hansen Foundation. Betsy was a long-time director of the Greater Salina Community Foundation before joining Hansen.
Last week we learned about successful entrepreneur Dane Hansen. His estate plan provided part of his assets for a foundation in his hometown of Logan to benefit northwest Kansas. A group of excellent trustees has grown those assets through the years.
For decades, the Hansen Foundation has been known for the scholarships it provides to students in northwest Kansas. There are several categories of these renewable college scholarships which can provide a student up to $10,000 per year. Last year 280 total scholarships were made available.
It was time to elect a new president. No, I’m not talking about the Electoral College. In this case, I’m referring to a national professional association which was electing new officers. When the voting was done, the new president of this national organization is a woman from rural Kansas.
Trudy Rice is the incoming president of this organization known as the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals, or NACDEP. That name is quite a mouthful, but it represents lots of important community development educational programming which is being carried out across the country.
Trudy grew up in western Kansas and graduated from Norton. She went to K-State and got a degree in education. She also met and married Ron Rice and returned with him to his family farm in Douglas County south of Lawrence.
Trudy began her career in extension as a 4-H agent in Douglas County and then took time off to stay home as she and Ron had children. She also owned and operated her own small business. When the kids were older, she returned to extension as a family and consumer sciences agent in Douglas County. Son Brad is now back on the farm and daughter Brandie is a faculty member at K-State.
T, W, and S are three letters which are sometimes used to precede the title of a project in southeast Kansas. What does TWS stand for? The Weather System? Toward West and South? Some company? No, in this case, it stands for “Together We Succeed,” which is an apt description of the mindset which drives Project 17 in southeast Kansas.
Last week we learned about Project 17, which uses Together We Succeed as an unofficial motto. Heather Morgan is the executive director. She grew up in Pratt, did undergraduate work at Kansas Wesleyan and then got her master’s in public administration at K-State while working with the women’s basketball team and K-State Athletics.
After graduation, Heather worked in the governor’s budget office in Topeka. She joined the state Juvenile Justice Authority where she became assistant commissioner and also served for a time as a county manager.
What’s your platform? No, not fancy shoes or the policy statements which are debated and adopted by the political parties every four years. I’m talking about what has been referred to as a “regional change platform.” In fact, it is a grassroots network that is working to improve the lives of citizens across a multi-county region of southeast Kansas.
Project 17 is the name of this project for regional economic development and community engagement in the southeast region of the state, led by the Advanced Manufacturing Institute (AMI) within Kansas State University’s College of Engineering. Jeff Tucker is executive director of AMI. Since 2004 AMI has been working with companies, communities, and regions throughout Kansas to help cultivate rural, innovation-based economies.
Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University writes Kansas Profile. The weekly posts highlight individuals or companies in rural Kansas who are making a difference to their community and state.
The Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development is a public / private partnership between Kansas State University and the Huck Boyd Foundation. The mission of the institute is to help rural people help themselves. Learn more at www.huckboydinstitute.org.