Donor Connection – May.2024

Keeping advisors informed, donor-advised fund do’s and don’ts, and creative ways to give to education

Greetings from the community foundation!

We are so grateful for the opportunity to work together!

Many of you have established funds at the community foundation to support the causes you love. Others are serving on boards of directors of local nonprofits. Some of you are involved in discussions with your family and your advisors about establishing a fund at the community foundation to fulfill your philanthropic goals.

Wherever you are in your charitable giving process, we are here to support you, including through articles and resources that can help you shape your philanthropy plan.

In this issue, we’re happy to share information about the following:

–The team at the community foundation can help you keep your advisors up-to-date on your charitable plans, including the funds you’ve established and your intentions to support your favorite charities’ campaigns. Reach out anytime if you’d like to review the various elements of your philanthropic activities. We will help you identify what your attorney, accountant, and financial advisor need to know.

–Donor-advised funds are one of many fund types you can establish at the community foundation to organize your giving. (Many families establish field-of-interest funds, designated funds, and unrestricted funds alongside their donor-advised fund to round out their philanthropy.) Review a few reminders about what your donor-advised fund can and can’t do.

–A scholarship fund isn’t the only way to achieve your charitable goals for funding education. Learn about how the community foundation can help you pursue areas of interest that support education in creative ways. You may be pleasantly surprised to discover the variety of options.

We look forward to continuing to serve you. If we’re not yet working together, we hope you’ll reach out with questions about the topics below or anything else that captures your attention and imagination in the world of philanthropy.

With gratitude,

Your community foundation

Charitable planning: Keep your advisors informed

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The team at the community foundation is honored to be your “go-to” resource for all components of your philanthropy. We enjoy talking regularly with individuals, families, and businesses about goals for charitable giving, tax strategies, ways to support favorite nonprofits, getting children and grandchildren involved in the community, leaving a legacy, and so much more. If you’ve already established a donor-advised fund, field-of-interest fund, designated fund or unrestricted fund at the community foundation, you know we’re always here to answer your questions.

What you might not know, though, is that the community foundation is also happy to help you keep your attorney, accountant, and financial advisor in the loop. We’d be happy to join you and your advisors at a meeting to discuss your charitable plans. We’re also happy to offer suggestions about which documents and information you’ll want to provide to your advisors.

For example, it’s important to provide your attorney with information about your fund–or funds–at the community foundation and also provide copies of fund agreements and other documentation. This will help your attorney determine whether and how your fund could be incorporated into your estate plan. Your attorney also needs to be aware of beneficiary designations on retirement plans and IRAs; these vehicles are critical components of an overall estate plan and also are an excellent way to leave a tax-savvy bequest to your fund at the community foundation or other charity.

Next, your accountant will appreciate knowing about your fund at the community foundation, especially as you work together to evaluate the most effective assets to give to charitable causes each year. Your accountant, for instance, may suggest that you give a certain dollar value of appreciated stock to your donor-advised fund in a particular calendar year to maximize itemized deductions and give you the ability to support your favorite charitable causes for several consecutive years at the high levels you intend.

Finally, it’s important that your financial advisor understand your charitable intentions and be aware of the vehicles you’ve already established. Your financial advisor can keep an eye out for stock positions that are highly-appreciated, making them ideal gifts to fund your charitable intentions. Your financial advisor will be a key member of the planning team if you were to establish a charitable remainder trust, for example, with the community foundation. Not only is it important to determine which assets to use to fund the trust (highly-appreciated real estate, for example), but your financial advisor also will want to weigh in on the projected lifetime income stream from the trust to develop retirement projections that are as accurate as possible.

One of the many benefits of being a fund holder at the community foundation is your access to a team of professionals who are dedicated to carrying out your charitable wishes. Think of our team as a group of specialists who deeply understand both the tax and mission-based aspects of charitable giving vehicles–and who are enthusiastic about working alongside your legal, tax, and investment advisors to create a philanthropy plan that meets all of your goals.

Donor-advised fund do’s and don’ts

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A donor-advised fund is one of many types of funds you can establish at the community foundation. Field-of-interest funds, designated funds, unrestricted funds, and scholarship funds are also popular and can make a big difference in the community while also fulfilling your goals for tax and charitable planning.

If you’ve established a donor-advised fund at the community foundation, you know it’s useful because it allows you to make a tax-deductible transfer of cash or marketable securities that is immediately eligible for a charitable deduction. Then, you can recommend donations from the fund to your favorite charities to meet community needs as they emerge.

Your gifts to your donor-advised fund are tax deductible transfers to the community foundation, which is a charitable organization recognized under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). The community foundation follows the Internal Revenue Service’s requirements that disbursements from your donor-advised fund meet certain important qualifications to preserve that charitable tax status–for everyone’s benefit. It’s a good idea to periodically review a few types of disbursements that don’t meet the IRS’s rules and therefore are not permissible donations from your donor-advised fund. For example:

–A donor-advised fund cannot be used explicitly to satisfy a personal pledge to a charitable organization, such as to a capital campaign. The team at the community foundation is happy to work with you to develop ways you can achieve your intentions to support your favorite organization’s fundraising goals. Please reach out if you are in this situation.

–Because donor-advised funds at the community foundation fall under a different (and more favorable) set of IRS rules than private foundations, a donor-advised fund is restricted from supporting a private family foundation. Please reach out to the community foundation team to learn more about this requirement. We’d love to explore how your donor-advised fund and your private family foundation can work together to achieve your charitable goals. Some fund holders even decide to close their private foundation and consolidate their giving with the community foundation to achieve greater impact, save on expenses, and achieve better tax results.

–A donor-advised fund can’t be used to buy tickets to fundraising events, such as galas and golf tournaments, where the cost of the ticket is not fully tax deductible. The reason for this is that the IRS views the taxpayer as receiving benefits from the event (food, drinks, swag), and this “private benefit” muddies the waters of tax deductibility. Even if a portion of the ticket is deductible according to the charity, it’s still not a permissible distribution from a donor-advised fund. Please reach out to the team at the community foundation if you’re asked to sponsor a charity’s fundraiser. We are happy to discuss solutions to achieve both your charitable goals and goals for getting involved with the event.

We look forward to hearing from you! As always, the community foundation team is honored to be your first call when you encounter a question about your donor-advised fund or any other charitable giving opportunity.

Getting creative: Three ways to support education

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It’s graduation season, and that means education may be on your mind! The community foundation can help you make a difference in the lives of young people by funding education. Certainly establishing a scholarship fund at the community foundation is one way to accomplish this goal. But that’s not the only way. Here are three ideas to consider as you explore ways to make an impact through education.

Establish a designated fund for educational institutions.

A designated fund provides support for specific organizations of your choice. So, for example, if you want to ensure that a particular college or university receives funding each year, you can set up a designated fund to accomplish this. For instance, if your family has supported the same local college for generations, you may want that support to continue. At the same time, you want to be sure that your funds are used effectively. This includes protecting your monetary support from the college’s creditors if the college finds itself in financial trouble. A designated fund at the community foundation could be the solution.

Establish a field-of-interest fund to support specific aspects of education.

Through a field-of-interest fund at the community foundation, you can establish parameters for grant making according to your wishes. If education is your priority, perhaps over the years you’ve supported a variety of local organizations that provide students with courses, tutoring, mentorship, and social services, ranging from grassroots charities to well-established trade schools and higher education institutions. Establishing a field-of-interest fund activates the community foundation’s expertise and research by delegating grant making decisions to the community foundation team. This helps donors like you ensure that their dollars will have the greatest impact.

Seek the advice of the community foundation for your donor-advised fund grant making.

If you have established a donor-advised fund at the community foundation, you’ve likely used it over the years to support your alma mater and perhaps other educational institutions. The community foundation team would welcome the opportunity to help you think broadly about education, beyond simply four-year institutions. Community colleges, trade schools, vocational programs, and out-of-the-box learning experiences may be a better fit for some students. The community foundation can also help you identify charities that support teachers, classrooms, and school districts, all of which need resources to deliver the best possible education to students.

We look forward to helping you support education as a major area of charitable interest! And if there’s a graduation in your family this year, congratulations!

The team at the community foundation is honored to serve as a resource and sounding board as you build your charitable plans and pursue your philanthropic objectives for making a difference in the community. This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. Please consult your tax or legal advisor to learn how this information might apply to your own situation. 

New Hire for CKCF

Erin Hein
Associate Director, Hillsboro CF

Erin was born and raised in Hillsboro, Kansas.  She graduated from Hillsboro High School and attended Tabor College.

She most recently served in a coordinator role where she wrote and managed grants, educated children and families on a variety of safety topics, and organized community events.  She is involved in several coalitions/boards including the Hillsboro Community Child Care Center Board where she serves as secretary.  She is passionate about working with local agencies and individuals to help make our community better.

Erin currently lives in Hillsboro with her husband and two daughters.  She enjoys attending the various activities that her children are involved in, and in her spare time, enjoys gardening and being outside.

A Call to Dream on Behalf of Our Communitites

Article written by Rick McNary

“Our communities need us to dream for them.” Marcia Taylor-Trump

As I traveled to Howard down the undulating two-lane road sandwiched by sienna-colored prairie grasses of the Flint Hills, I reminisced about previous trips there. In my high school football days, I bounced along these same roads in big yellow buses from Rosalia when our Flint Hills Mustangs endured repeated beat-downs by the West Elk Patriots on the football field in Howard. My dad referred to their victories over us as shellackings. Later, as a parent, I followed my children in similar big yellow buses to their sporting events.

Howard sits in a breathtaking and unusual geographic transition from the southern tip of the vast rolling prairies of the Flint Hills as it segues into the Chautauqua Hills and the northern part of an ecosystem known as Cross Timbers. In his travels to the western frontier in the early 1830s, American writer Washington Irving characterized the Cross Timbers as “forests of cast iron.” The Cross Timbers, or Cast-Iron Forest, was a swath of blackjack and post oak trees that ran all the way south near Dallas. Early pioneers coming from the east found the Cross Timbers virtually impenetrable through the undergrowth and small, thick trees. A nearby Cross Timbers State Park has marked trails that wind through a forest with trees as old as President George Washington.

It had been nearly 20 years since I last shivered in the stadium in Howard watching my children at a brutally cold spring track meet where the howling north wind almost stopped hurdlers midstride. As each mile I traveled turned over one fond memory after another, I wondered what I would see upon arrival. Would it be like so many small towns that are slowly dying on the prairie as the last vestiges of hope depart when the senior class graduates? Would the iconic Toots Drive-In still dish out deliciousness? Would other businesses have replaced their windows with plywood and glaring No Trespassing signs?

A July 2023 report in the Wichita Eagle listed Elk County as the second poorest county in the state with a median income of $45,660, median home value of $72,455 and the highest poverty level of any county in the state at 16.2 percent. Would I find Howard a dying town in one of the most beautiful parts of the state?

Nope. Not even close.

Instead of finding the town barely surviving, I found it alive and thriving. Toots Drive-In is still there along with several new businesses, evidence of the vibrancy of a
vivacious populace.

I soon found the origin of inspiration for this small-town vibrancy in the banquet room of the restaurant, Sweet and Spicy. There, gathered around tables, were the energetic members of the Elk County Community Foundation (ECCF). Along with a delicious meal, I was served generous helpings of laughter, inspiration, hope and, once they found out I was a Flint Hills High School grad, a bit of good-natured ribbing. It felt like home.

I was delighted when I received notice from the Central Kansas Community Foundation (CKCF) that, as a board member, I had been selected to be the affiliate liaison to the ECCF. I called up their chair, Marcia Taylor-Trump, and she invited me to their noon meeting.

Their stellar reputation in the foundation world had already caught my attention because, as a CKCF board member on the appreciation committee, I had recently sent numerous handwritten thank you notes to donors in Elk County when they raised $97,000 for the Patterson Family Foundation (PFF) Matching Grant.

Neal Patterson was a native of rural Kansas having grown up near Anthony. He and his wife, Jeanne, were principals in Cerner Health and began investing philanthropically into rural communities in Kansas and Northwest Missouri through the PFF. After their passing, their children took over the helm and strived to help lift rural communities through health care, education, economic opportunity and beyond. One of their most successful initiatives was the $70,000 matching grant for rural community foundations of which ECCF has taken full advantage.

In a county with a population of only 2,441 souls, the ECCF made short work of not only raising the initial $70,000 but an additional $27,000 for a grand total of $97,000, which then turned into $167,000. Elk County tackled the PFF Matching Grant Challenge with the same intensity they used to tackle me in football games. All that money was then distributed to various nonprofits in the six communities that ECCF represents.

As I sat at the table listening to the banter of lively conversation as Marcia worked through the agenda, I was reminded of the power of community foundations, these grantmaking public charities dedicated to improving the lives of people in their communities. They turn seeming impossibilities into vibrant possibilities.

However, like any group, they are only as effective as the people who comprise the group. As I listened in that day, I understood this collection of dreamers and doers were the changemakers in Elk County. This was not a group who sat around just talking about dreams, instead, this was a group who learned how to both dream and do. Their energy was infectious and reminded me of Margaret Meads quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

In her closing remarks, Marcia made one of the most compelling challenges for civic leadership I have ever heard: “We need to dream,” she said. “But more importantly, our communities need us to dream for them.”

The communities of Elk County are fortunate to have passionate citizens like the ECCF board dreaming on their behalf. And based on my past personal experiences on their football field, they will continue tackling the challenges with dedication, skill and intensity. And they will be victorious.

Donor Connection – April.2024

The power of endowment gifts, treating your community like family, and the business of giving

Greetings from the community foundation!

We’re honored to work with you and so many other individuals, families, and businesses who’ve made charitable giving a priority and share our commitment to improving the quality of life for everyone in our region.

If you’ve already established a fund at the community foundation, thank you for the opportunity to be of service! If you’re considering whether to begin working with us, thank you for including the community foundation as you explore your options. We look forward to learning more about how we can help achieve your charitable objectives in ways that align with your financial and estate planning objectives.

In this issue, we’re covering three frequently-requested topics:

–Perhaps you’ve always been intrigued by the possibility of establishing an endowment to create a permanent source of philanthropic support for the community you love, but you thought the process might be difficult or daunting. When you work with the community foundation, it’s easy–and enjoyable–to structure your endowment as your gift to improve the quality of life for future generations.

–Thinking about the community when you’re updating your estate plan can help you leave a robust charitable legacy. Discover how the community foundation’s services and tools help giving become a family affair–and why you’re not alone if your community features prominently among your estate plan’s beneficiaries, right alongside your children and grandchildren.

–Working with the community foundation isn’t just for individuals and families. We also help facilitate corporate philanthropy for businesses of all sizes. Learn how the team at the community foundation can help your business give back to the community where your customers and employees live and work.

Four FAQs to help you establish an endowment

Many community-minded individuals have served on the boards of directors of charitable organizations in our region. If you’ve served on a charity’s board (or several!), you are no doubt familiar with the concept of an endowment. Many charities establish endowment funds and reserve funds at the community foundation to help ensure that their missions stay strong during economic downturns and periods of increased community need.

What you might be less familiar with, however, is an endowment fund established at the community foundation by an individual or family. Every year, the team at the community foundation works with people like you to establish endowment funds to support the needs of our region in perpetuity.

Here are answers to four frequently-asked questions about setting up an endowment fund.

Why does the community foundation offer endowment funds to individuals and families?

The community foundation serves as the hub of philanthropy for many families in our community. We connect donors like you to community needs you care about, and this includes offering the opportunity to make a charitable investment that supports a range of community needs now and in the decades ahead–needs that cannot be predicted. That’s the purpose of an endowment: to provide a steady stream of dollars, far into the future, to meet community needs as they arise.

How does an “endowment” work?

“Endowment” is the word often used to refer to a designated pool of assets that are invested by the community foundation and tracked separately such that a modest portion (usually based on a percentage) of the assets are distributed each year to charitable causes, and the rest of the assets remain invested to grow in perpetuity. This growth, in turn, helps the endowment provide even more support each year to the causes for which it was established. The community foundation team is experienced at managing the accounting, investment, and distribution aspects of endowment funds.

How can I stay involved with my endowment fund after it’s established?

First and foremost, you can name the endowment fund anything you want, such as the “Smith Family Endowment Fund,” or something more anonymous such as the “Endowment Fund for Our Future.” In addition, our team is happy to keep you informed about the positive change in the community that is occurring thanks to the distributions from the endowment fund you’ve established. We can continue to keep your children and grandchildren informed, too, beyond your lifetime. In this way, your legacy continues through the generations.

Who decides where the endowment distributions go each year?

The community foundation is itself a permanent institution. Our board and staff are committed to keeping a finger on the pulse of the region’s greatest needs and maintaining a deep knowledge of the charitable organizations that are meeting these needs every day. This is the community foundation’s mission in perpetuity. The community foundation’s team is made up of dedicated and knowledgeable professionals who understand our community and build ongoing personal relationships with the people working at the region’s charitable organizations. The community foundation team recommends distributions from your endowment, and our independent board of directors reviews and approves these distributions to ensure that they fulfill your charitable goals for establishing the endowment in the first place.

What does it take to establish an endowment fund?

Setting up an endowment fund is as easy as setting up any other type of fund at the community foundation. Our team will prepare simple paperwork capturing the name of the endowment fund and any areas of interest you’d like to support. Then, you can transfer cash—or, even better for tax purposes, you can transfer appreciated assets such as stock or real estate. You’ll be eligible for a charitable tax deduction in the year you make the transfer to establish the fund. You can make future transfers to your endowment fund each year, too, to achieve your tax and estate planning goals. Our team is also happy to work with you and your advisors to structure a bequest to your endowment fund following your death. We highly recommend considering a bequest in the form of a beneficiary designation on an IRA because of the multiple tax benefits. Related, if you are over 70 ½, making a “Qualified Charitable Distribution” from your IRA directly to your endowment fund is a very effective charitable planning tool to avoid income tax and also satisfy your Required Minimum Distribution if you’ve reached that age as well.

We look forward to working with you to support our community and your favorite charitable causes for generations to come!

Estate planning: Your kids … and your community

As you contemplate your legacy and adjust your estate plan over the years, it’s natural to focus on your children and family as the primary beneficiaries in your will and trust. If you’re like an increasing number of charitably-minded individuals, though, you might find that your perspectives about what exactly it means to leave a legacy are expanding beyond your next of kin. Your community is on your mind and in your heart, and you’re interested in ways you can support and improve the quality of life for people in the region we call home.

If you’re intrigued, you are not alone! Indeed, many philanthropic individuals are broadening their estate plan beneficiaries to prominently include their community or favorite cause, right alongside children and grandchildren. The team at the community foundation would be honored to discuss the ways we can help. Here are three options for funds you can establish with the community foundation to benefit our community in your overall philanthropy and estate plan:

Unrestricted fund

Major advantages of the community foundation include its perpetual structure, community-based governance, and commitment to addressing needs as they change. An unrestricted fund allows you and your family to provide support that evolves over time as priorities in the region shift. The community foundation’s mission is to thoroughly understand the community and improve lives within it. The community foundation’s board and professional staff conduct ongoing, extensive research about the needs of the community and the nonprofit programs that are addressing those needs. Establishing an unrestricted fund means you are investing in the community foundation to support programs that are addressing the community’s most pressing needs as well as needs that can’t be identified until the future.

Field-of-interest fund

A field of interest fund is an ideal way to target your giving to specific areas of community need (such as education, health, environment, or the arts). Your field of interest fund at the community foundation establishes parameters for grant making according to your wishes. The community foundation’s staff follows these parameters and uses its research and expertise to make grants that align with your intentions. Your fund can continue beyond your lifetime and for multiple generations, consistently providing grants to support your area of interest according to the terms you established when you first created the fund.

Designated fund

A designated fund at the community foundation can help you secure your favorite organization’s financial future so that its mission continues, uninterrupted, even in the face of challenges. You can set up multiple designated funds if you’d like to support more than one organization. You can even set up a designated fund to support a governmental unit, such as the parks department. A designated fund allows you to decide on the timing of the distributions from the fund, such as during the organization’s capital campaign or to support a specific program or initiative. You can serve as an advisor to the fund to recommend the timing and amount of grants to the supported organization, or you can appoint the board of directors of the community foundation to carry out this function according to your wishes.

And here’s a bonus! If you plan to give to an unrestricted fund, designated fund, or field-of-interest fund at the community foundation during your lifetime, and you’re over the age of 70 1/2, you can direct up to $105,000 each year from your IRA to the fund. This is called a “Qualified Charitable Distribution,” or “QCD.” Not only do QCD transfers count toward satisfying your Required Minimum Distributions if you’ve reached that age threshold, but you also avoid the income tax on those funds. Furthermore, the assets distributed through a QCD are no longer part of your estate upon your death, so you can avoid estate taxes, too.

In the business of giving

If you’re a business owner, odds are you already give back to your community. Like many charitably-minded people, your business likely sponsors events, makes in-kind donations, and donates cash to favorite organizations.

Many local business owners work with the community foundation to give back to the community where they built their businesses and developed lasting relationships with employees and customers.

The community foundation offers a variety of tools to help you build and grow your corporate philanthropy program, including:

  • Corporate foundation. Establishing a corporate donor-advised fund helps you organize your company’s giving in a convenient, 501(c)(3)-qualified structure.
  • Executive donor-advised fund. Offering this elevated employee benefit to your executive team can help activate your senior management’s community involvement.
  • Matching gifts. The community foundation can help guide your team in creating and administering a program that matches employees’ volunteer time and dollars.
  • Grant making administration and strategy. You and your colleagues likely receive dozens of requests each month from community organizations requesting sponsorships and monetary donations. The team at the community foundation can help you create and implement a strategy for responding to and evaluating those requests to align with your company’s goals for supporting and prioritizing causes.
  • Employee giving and disaster relief campaigns. The community foundation’s tools to receive and process donations can help you and your employees respond quickly and meaningfully to disasters and other urgent community needs.

The community foundation is glad to help you deepen your business’s impact and connection to your community, customers, and employees by creating a philanthropy plan that supports causes that align with the wide range of your objectives.

The team at the community foundation is honored to serve as a resource and sounding board as you build your charitable plans and pursue your philanthropic objectives for making a difference in the community. This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. Please consult your tax or legal advisor to learn how this information might apply to your own situation. 

New Hire for Florence Community Foundation

Cal Pendergrass

Associate Director, Florence CF

Cal grew up in the small village of Mohawk NY and Graduated from Gregory B Jarvis Jr/Sr high school. Upon graduating High School Cal enlisted in the United States Army and was sent to Fort Knox Kentucky for One Station Unit Training to become an M1 Armor Crewmember. Cal deployed to Kosovo KFOR 4B for peacekeeping operation in 2004-2005, and again to Iraq in 2005-2006 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II. After returning to Germany Cal returned to Fort Knox KY to serve as a Tank Commander/Instructor for basic training Soldiers. Cal’s next duty station was in Fort Hood Texas where he deployed to Iraq again for the troop surge in 2008-2009. Cal was sent to Fort Carson Colorado in 2009 and deployed to Afghanistan in 2010-2011 in Support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Cal’s next duty station was Fort Polk Louisiana where he served as the Brigade Deployment Non-Commissioned Officer in the 162 nd Infantry Brigade (Tiger land). Cal moved to Fort Riley KS in 2014 and served as a Tank Commander with another rotation to the middle east. While at FT Riley he also served as a Platoon Sergeant, Protocol Events Coordinator, and capped off his time in the military as the 1st Infantry Division Barracks Program NCIOC.

Cal’s awards include:
Combat Action Badge, Meritorious Service Medal, 7 Army Commendation Medals, 6 Army Achievement Medals, Valorous Unit Award, 5 Army good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Afghanistan Campaign medal with 2 campaign Stars, Iraq Medal with Campaign Star, 2 NCOES Ribbons, Army Service Ribbon, 5 Overseas Service Ribbons, Kosovo Campaign Medal with Bronze service star, 2 NATO medals.

Cal also received the Honorable order of Saint George Medallion for demonstrating outstanding leadership, and exceptional teamwork while serving in Armor and Cavalry units.

Cal is currently serving on the Florence Kansas City Council, and is a member of the Marion VFW, and Florence American Legion.

New Hire for Elk County Community Foundation

Brandi Mast

Associate Director, Elk County CF

Brandi was born and raised in Kansas. She graduated from Andover Central High School and received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Family Life and Community Services from Kansas State
University. She went on to earn a Master of Education degree in Counseling from Wichita State University. She is also a certified yoga instructor, teaching free weekly yoga classes in Elk County.
Brandi has worked for non-profit organizations in a variety of capacities for most of her career including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Sedgwick County and Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland. She is
passionate about improving the lives of those around her and making her piece of the world a better place.

Brandi currently lives with her husband and two daughters on a cattle ranch near Fall River, Kansas. In her spare time, she enjoys helping take care of the animals on the ranch, fishing, gardening,
working in her flower beds, riding horses and spending as much time as possible outdoors. When the Kansas weather doesn’t cooperate for outdoor activities, she enjoys baking and riding her spin bike indoors.

Brandi is thrilled to embark in her new role as Associate Director of the Elk County Community Foundation. She hopes to make a lasting impact on her community by furthering the already amazing work that the foundation has accomplished.

New Hire for Central Kansas Community Foundation

Melissa Schreiber

Program Officer for Grants, CKCF

Melissa Schreiber recently joined Central Kansas Community Foundation as the Program Officer for Grants. Most recently, serving as the Program Manager for the Harvey County Drug-Free
Youth Coalition overseeing a federal grant, community relationship building, and sustainability, as well as many years in consumer and commercial banking.

She is a long-time Newton and Harvey County resident, a 1993 Graduate of Newton High School, and a 1997 Graduate of Wichita State University with a Bachelor of Finance with an
emphasis in Marketing. Melissa is passionate about community building and servant leadership. She serves on many community boards, is Co-Chair of the Healthy Harvey Coalition, Harvey County Interagency Coordination Council, an organization focused on early education, Tobacco Free Harvey, and a member of the Newton Lions Club and Newton Area Chamber of Commerce. She has served on the USD 373 Board of Education for four years, three years as Vice President, and is currently President of the Board.

Melissa is very excited to be part of the Central Kansas Community Foundation and help communities thrive.

New Hire for Central Kansas Community Foundation

Carrie Herman, Central Kansas Community Foundation Executive Director

Carrie Herman has been the Executive Director at the Kansas Learning Center for Health in Halstead since July 2016. Prior to that she spent almost nine years at Asbury Park (now known as Paramount Community Living) where she was most recently the Vice President of Operations.

A 1993 graduate of Halstead High School and a 1997 graduate of Pittsburg State University with a Bachelor in Business Administration, emphasis in Marketing, Carrie completed the LeadingAge Kansas Center for Leadership Program in 2012 and was a coach on the Design Team for the class of 2015. After receiving her certification in 2013 to be an Adult Care Home/Assisted Living Operator, Carrie went on to obtain her Adult Care Home Administrator license in February 2016.

Carrie enjoys getting involved in the community and is currently serving on the Harvey County Department on Aging Advisory Council, NetWork Kansas E-Commerce Committee, Healthy Harvey Coalition (Secretary), Harvey County D-FY Coalition, Halstead Chamber of Commerce (Secretary), and the Newton Lions Club (Past President). In addition, Carrie served almost eight years on the Central Kansas Community Foundation board. Carrie resides in Halstead with her husband Clint and two sons, Cole and Connor.

Carrie will serve as the CKCF Executive Director in support of the expansive staffing opportunity made possible by grant funding.

New Hire for Newton & North Newton Community Foundations

Greg Bontrager – Associate Director for Newton & North Newton Community Foundations
Greg is newly retired after 33 years teaching vocal music in the Goessel (KS) and the Buhler (KS) school districts.  Greg graduated with an Associate of Arts degree from Hesston College, a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Bethel College, and a Master of Music Education from Wichita State University. In the Summer of 2022, Greg was awarded the Harry Robert Wilson Life-Time Achievement Award at the State KCDA Convention.
He has been involved as an adjudicator and clinician for elementary, junior, and senior high school choirs, competitions, and festivals. Greg has served as the South Central District KMEA Choir Chairman, State KMEA Choir Chairman, and president of the Kansas Choral Directors Association. Greg is in his 17th year as the Kansas Mennonite Men’s Choir Director.
Greg’s family includes his wife, Melody, and kids – Shawn, Seth, Marissa & Nathan Murphy and Grandsons – James & Charlie Murphy!
Greg starts March 5th as our first Associate Director hired with the Patterson Family Foundation Staff Capacity Grant. He will be working with the Newton and North Newton Community Foundations.


New Hire for Hesston Community Foundation

Kristie Diller – Hesston Community Foundation Associate Director

I was born and raised on a farm near Hillsboro, Kansas. After graduating from Hillsboro High School, I attended Bethel College. Since that time, I have worked in a variety of settings, including sales and property management. My most recent work has been at CKCF, as Program Director.

I am married to a Hesston native, Phil, and we live in Hesston. We have two sons, Colton, Freshman at Kansas State University and Hunter, Hesston High School junior. I enjoy the Colorado mountains, cooking/baking, being outdoors, shopping and spending time building relationships with family and friends.

I believe in the mission of Community Foundation work and am excited about facilitating philanthropic efforts with community partners and cultivating relationships in the community in which I live, as I begin as Associate Director for Hesston Community Foundation.

Kristie is transitioning from her role as Program Director to Hesston’s Associate Director effective April 1st.