2023 CKCF Affiliate Summit: Lead. Match. Grow

On March 2, 2023 Central Kansas Community Foundation (CKCF) hosted the annual CKCF – Affiliate Summit entitled Lead. Match. Grow. Our Guest Speaker was Ed O’Malley, President and CEO of Kansas Health Foundation (KHF) and formerly with Kansas Leadership Center, created an environment of inspiration for the nearly 50 attendees at the Sand Creek Event Center in Newton, Kansas. His message encompassed the vision Kansas Leadership Center exemplifies with a basic tenet that everyone has a leadership position, and the best results and achievements are experienced when it is exercised by all. He shared highlights from his latest book, When Everyone Leads: How The Toughest Challenges Are Seen And Solved, to guide his genuine message calling our group of board members and staff to be active in our work serving communities. Several books were given away during the days events and activities.

As we transitioned from LEADing to MATCHing, O’Malley acknowledged the history of KHF providing matching grant funds for the establishment and growth of Community Foundations in Kansas for more than 20 years. He celebrated with us as we announced our new partnership with Patterson Family Foundation. They are investing in eligible community foundations, across Kansas and part of Missouri, a 70,000-match program for growing rural communities. This is a tremendous opportunity for the central Kansas service area. O’Malley encouraged engaging in our foundations in new ways and taking bold steps to achieve this match and beyond that work to understand what ones community is really seeking to achieve, identifying what is the not only the mission but what is the vision. How will you know you are successful.

In preparation for launching MATCH initiatives, Megan Smith was brought on to  the CKCF team as a Development Consultant. Megan has over 15 years of experience in fundraising. During the Summit she walked through guidelines for the Patterson Family Foundation match program and offered her services for support of affiliate  planning. With the excitement of this opportunity, we recognized Marketing and Communication preparation will be key. Laurel Woodward-Breckbill, a freelance Marketing Consultant for CKCF was invited to provide tips on storytelling, marketing tools  and use of social media for broadening awareness as a foundation as well for a specific event. Table top discussions were sprinkled in throughout the day and provided participants a chance to share ideas and best practices from raising awareness to event ideas. Laurel as well as Andrea Braker at Community Creative Services are resources to affiliates to help supporting their marketing and communication efforts.

Thanks to staff at CKCF and the Development and Appreciation Committee for making the venue comfortable and inviting. We also thank Lyndsey Cakes and Bakes for providing the lunch.

Men’s Giving Circle expands membership and impact

Menocause, a component fund of Valley Center Community Foundation, has grown and sustained
membership of 101 men in 2021 and 2022. In February they awarded $25,250 in grants to local
charities and invested $25,500 in their endowment.

Check presentation to Youth Horizons’ Wren House. From left; John Adams, Ted Wilbur, Jennifer Isaacs with the Wren House; Tony Wilbur and Brice Turner, Menocause members.

One of the grant recipients, the Youth Horizons Wren House, serves at-risk girls in Sedgwick County. According to Spike Anderson, Menocause founder and board member, the Menocause Grant Review Committee felt compelled to support the Wren House, a first-of-its-kind project which opened in Valley Center in 2022. He hopes Menocause grant will help give the program a solid start.

Continue Reading to learn more about the Wren House.

Wren House provides mentoring and other services in a nurturing and safe environment. The
home will offer programs designed to help its residents function at higher levels, avoid missteps and setbacks through earlier intervention, and enjoy a continuum of care that helps them eventually transition into independent living. The first phase will create capacity for 12 girls.

Where will these girls come from?
Girls and young women trapped in tough circumstances endure among us. They roam in daylight and in the shadows, often lacking access to resources, trusted networks, and other support necessary to build a better life. They are preyed on by perpetrators, ensnared in a cruel cycle of abuse, and rank among our community’s most vulnerable. To address this community need, YH is building the Wren Home on 40 acres donated by late philanthropist Keith Wren. Mr. Wren requested his gifted land be developed in a way that provides for girls and young women who are at-risk of human trafficking.

How it will be used to serve
The Wren Home will serve as a key partner in a collaborative local effort to combat teenage runaways, early alcohol and substance addiction, prostitution, and other forms of physical and mental health abuse. The Wren Home process has included research, engaged many stakeholders and featured a diverse task force that continues to provide counsel. Project partners include Hope Ranch, St. Francis Child Services, and the Wichita State University Center for Combating Human Trafficking. The collaboration will produce a Wren Home Advisory Board, comprised of leaders and other advocates who will help ensure success.



Hello! My name is Patty Mellinger. I grew up in the Hutchinson area and graduated from Buhler High School. I received my bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Bethel College. Most of my working years were with Harvey County Parents as Teachers. I worked for 15 years as a parent educator, serving families in Newton, Hesston, and Halstead.

I have been married to John for 31 years and we have two grown daughters, Lauren Miller (Dalton) and Courtney Stucky (Kyle). We are blessed to have our family living close, Lauren in Topeka and Courtney in Newton. We also have a funny dog that is a Schnauzer/Havanese mix, named Winston.

I am excited to be the Program Assistant with the Central Kansas Community Foundation! I have been working in the “for profit” sector in Wichita for the past few years, and I look forward to being back in Newton in the non-profit world again, serving the Newton community and Central Kansas.


Megan Smith is founder and owner of G2 Solutions, LLC specializing in non-profit consulting along with custom marketing and communication solutions for non-profits and small businesses.

She has 15 years of non-profit and small business experience and brings a broad background and skillset to the table when collaborating with partners. The focus of her contract with CKCF in 2023 will be cultivating donor relationships, coordinating the new CKCF Spring Soiree and rolling out a new opportunity for affiliate foundations.

Megan enjoys the opportunity to work creatively and build relationships with local organizations. She is a graduate of Hesston High School and Baker University; Megan and her family live in Hesston.

Newton Area Women of the Year Nominations Open


The Newton Area Women of the Year organization has a longstanding, honorable tradition of recognizing and celebrating noteworthy women who freely give of their time and talents to make our community a better place. These women, who have been recognized each year since 1956, have served our community above and beyond in business, education, healthcare, religion, and civic service.

Who will the next deserving women be to receive this honor? Nominations are now being accepted for the 2023 Newton Area Women of the Year! Click the link to nominate an exceptional woman from the area today.


You can support this organization, so they can continue to serve our community in a meaningful and sustainable way. Please donate to the Newton WOY Scholarship or Operational fund today!



Hesston CF Casino Party

Friday night, November 11, Hesston Community Foundation hosted their first Casino Party fundraiser! There were approximately 100 people in attendance at the event. Wichita Casino Parties flawlessly executed the evening’s entertainment. The dealers were knowledgeable about the games and encouraged enthusiasm among the players. Because the games were simply for entertainment and education, everyone was a winner!

Chip counts were totaled at the end of the night and players entered to win the prize raffles, which included Apple AirPods and a 55’’ television. Heavy hors d’oeuvres were catered by Water’s Edge Restaurant and Catering and the evening featured a silent auction. Local sponsors responded generously to our call for support.

The highlight of the evening was gathering with our foundation family and new friends to support the organization. Former directors and board members as well as fund advisors and our donors were in attendance to enjoy the evening. The program called attention to their contribution to the foundation and highlighted recent successes. Russ Buller with Hesston Fire/EMS gave a short speech regarding the foundation’s purchase of their saws in the most recent grant cycle. Overall, the evening was very well received, and it looks like we might just have to put a date on the calendar for next year!

Butler County Memorial Planned

The El Dorado Community Foundation is accepting donations to make  the “Butler County Law Enforcement Memorial” a reality.  Please read about these courageous individuals and the plan to honor their memory in the Facebook post below.

You can help with a donation made payable to The El Dorado Community Foundation. We ask that “The Butler County Law Enforcement Memorial” be written in the memo line of checks.

If you would prefer, CLICK HERE TO DONATE ONLINE.

2021 Annual Report

Our 2021 Annual Report is now available.  We hope you enjoy learning not only about our financial standings in 2021, but also about many examples of the impact CKCF made in various communities in 2021. Click the picture to view the full report.



Cristobal Goldberg

“I’m an international student from Chile. I attend Bethel College, where I play for the Men’s Soccer team, and I’m studying Business Management and Social Work. I’m a Senior, and I’m doing my internship, for both degrees, at Central Kansas Community Foundation. I received a scholarship offer from Bethel in 2019 to come here to play soccer and study, originally I was only studying Business, but I found myself liking and enjoying Social Work classes, so with the help of an amazing professor I decided to double major.”