December 20, 2021


The Prairy Foundation has awarded two inaugural grants in support of the Tallgrass Prairie and its historic communities. Kauffman Museum at Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas and the Drinkwater & Schriver Mill in Cedar Point, Kansas, are the first recipients. The mission of Prairy is rooted in the Gaeddert family’s love of the Flint Hills located in the heart of the United States.  Aaron Gaeddert, CEO, says, “As our family became more involved in building the Prairy brand, we knew we wanted any potential impact to contribute to the conservation of this incredible remnant of native prairie and to the communities that share in its history. Hence, the creation of the Prairy Foundation and the commitment of one percent of brand sales to its cause.”

The first gift is intended to support the Kauffman Museum’s field trip program, which includes curriculum and transportation for students from Newton and surrounding communities to visit the wonderful stand of Tallgrass Prairie on the Museum’s grounds and to participate in their accompanying learning activities. “We at Kauffman Museum are so honored to receive an inaugural gift from the Prairy Foundation as it establishes itself as a core supporter of healthy communities and the Tallgrass Prairie. As field trips to the museum pick up again after the first 18 months of the pandemic, we will use the grant provided by the Prairy Foundation to bolster our current educational offerings and provide reimbursement to schools for travel expenses. These funds will allow us to expand learning experiences for elementary students about the prairie ecosystem, Native Peoples, and pioneers in central Kansas”, says Andi Schmidt Andres, Director of Kauffman Museum.

“With a focus on children, we are focusing on our future…and hopefully the future stewards of the Tallgrass Prairie and its communities,” says Terri Gaeddert, “At Prairy, we also consider this first gift a tribute to our longest tenured employee, Carol Sue Stayrook Hobbs, whose passion for local education is ever-present – from years of service on the Newton School Board to numerous ongoing acts of school support and volunteer dedication!” 

The second gift is to support the Drinkwater & Schriver Mill, also known as the Cedar Point Mill, located in a historic community with deep ties to the Tallgrass Prairie. It is also connected with a recent Prairy employee, Cassie Roberts.  Cassie has worked in the Prairy Production and Deli kitchens and is the great-great granddaughter of O.H. Drinkwater, a founder of the Cedar Point Mill and the town of Cedar Point itself. The mutual attraction to Cedar Point was a fun discovery for the Gaeddert family and for Cassie during a casual conversation one afternoon at Prairy. The mill is owned by Drinkwater & Schriver Mill Inc., a Kansas non-profit corporation dedicated to saving the mill and maintaining it as an historic site, celebrating this exceptional grist mill.  Dan Clothier, founder of the organization, said, “We at the Drinkwater & Schriver (Cedar Point) Mill are thrilled to receive this gift. The commitment to historical preservation and generational ties is strong. I especially appreciate the connection to Prairy and the use of Kansas Turkey Red Wheat flour. I look forward to the continued restoration of the mill and celebrate the support from the Prairy Foundation.”

The Prairy Foundation extends appreciation for all who share a strong passion for a deeply-rooted, widely-shared mission, focused on healthy food, people and communities committed to the Tallgrass Prairie.  

One percent of Prairy® brand proceeds is dedicated to the foundation.  We invite you to give to the Prairy Foundation at or call us at 1-833-4-PRAIRY.

The Prairy Foundation is a component fund of the Central Kansas Community Foundation.

CKCF Board of Directors Annoucement of Service 2021-2022

Newton, Kan. (December 13, 2021). The Central Kansas Community Foundation held their Annual Meeting on October 25, 2021 to celebrate achievements as they bid farewell to outgoing members and hello to three elected members. The  Governance and Compliance Committee brought forward for consideration these nominees which were voted in unanimously.  On December 13, 2021 they attended their first meeting as members at large.

The 2021-22 Board of Directors now is structured with Rachel Swartzendruber Miller, Hesston, assuming the chair position. In fact several officer positions are now being held by new members. The Foundaitons Executive Committee now includes, Miller as Chair;  Jennifer Vogts (North Newton) as Immediate Past Chair; Becky Wolfe (Augusta), Vice Chair; Anthony Roy (Hillsboro) Vice Chair Elect;  Amy Budde (Newton), Secretary; Rod Kreie (Newton), Treasurer, and Ron Lang (Newton), Finance Committee Chair.

Please see more information about the three new members of the board as they accept this community service.

Heather Porter is the chief clinical officer at NMC Health. She joined NMC Health in 2003. She has served in a variety of roles including medical case manager, director of case management, and associate chief nursing officer of population health. She will bring a lense of health and wellness, plus business achumen to the foundaiton board.

Further, Porter graduated from Fort Hays State University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and has a Masters of Science in Nursing with an emphasis in Health Care Administration from the University of Phoenix. Porter is specially certified as a Nurse Executive and accredited case manager-registered nurse.   She recently served on the Governors Alzheimer Disease Plan Working Group to begin development of a state Alzheimer plan. She and her husband, Bob, have four grown children.

 Keith Martens is employed by Beneficient Company Group and is based in Hesston, Kansas. Martens has a General Studies Degree from Hesston College  and earned his Bachelors of Science in Business Marketing from Wichita State University. He has served  three years on the Hesston Community Foundation Advisor Board, an affiliate of  Central Kansas Community Foundation. Martens has an expertise in marketing and healthcare. He is  deeply engaged in community service in Hesston and has a desire to serve the Central Kansas Community Foundation for engagement as a link to an affiliate community. He and his wife, Sandi, have 3 grown children.

 Carol Knolla is employed by the  Kansas Department of Credit Union. Knolla is a 1993 Graduate of Wichita Heights and she further gained her Bachelors Degree from Baker University in 2010. Knolla has an extensive career in banking. A resident of Bel Aire she has previously serviced on the Butler County Community Foundation as a board member. She has been engaged in fundraising efforts for several events in activities in the Butler County area and beyond. Additionally noteworthy is a past Honored Queen, Majority Member, and Recipient of the Lily of theValley award from the International Order of Jobs Daughters, BethelNo. 74. She and her husband, Brian, have three children.

As three new members start, the Annual Meeting also said farewell to full term service members – Todd Kasitz, N.M. Patton, Brad Bartel, Tim Hodge; and also accepted the resignation of Jason High.

Please see the full list of Central Kansas Community Foundation Board Members below:

Board of Directors 2021-22


  1. Chair, Rachel Swartzendruber Miller (Hesston)
    Hesston College
  2. Immediate Past Chair, Jennifer Vogts (North Newton)
    Wild Prairie Event Center
  3. Vice Chair, Becky Wolfe (Augusta)
    Andover Chamber of Commerce
  4. Vice Chair Elect, Anthony Roy (Hillsboro)
    Hillsboro Community Foundation
  5. Treasurer, Rod Kreie (Newton)
    Newton City Commissioner
  6. Secretary, Amy Budde (Newton)
    Citizens Bank
  7. Finance Chair, Ron Lang (Newton)
    Midland Bank

Members At Large

  1. James Regier (Whitewater)
  2. Marge Warta (Newton)
    United Methodist Church
  3. Linda Ogden (Marion)
  4. Carrie Herman (Halstead)
    Kansas Learning Center for Health
  5. Joel Gaeddert (North Newton)
    Flint Hills Design
  6. Jon Zerger (Newton)
    Excel Industries
  7. Myron Schmidt (Goessel)
  8. Don Voth (Newton)
  9. Allen Wedel (Newton)
  10. Carol Knolla (Bel Aire)
    Kansas Dept of Credit Unions
  11. Keith Martens (Hesston)
    Beneficient Company Group
  12. Heather Porter (Newton)
    NMC Health

For more information or if you have interest in serving, please contact Angie Tatro, CEO,  at 316-239-9451. Specific areas of interest for recruiting presently is young professionals, faith based, agriculture and finance.


New Interactive Calendar

CKCF is excited to announce our NEW Interactive Calendar is now live on our website! You can view the entire month at a glance, hover over an event for a snapshot, or click on the event for ALL the details. CLICK HERE to try it now!

CKCF Downsized Office Space

NEWTON. On August 1st, CKCF downsized our office space!
We still remain at the same mailing address, but our smaller office space will allow us to meet with you where it matters most – in the community!
Contact us at (316) 283-5474 to arrange a time and place for any in-person meetings. Thank you.



Kim Stahly has lived in Newton, Kansas all her life. As a Railroader of Newton High, she was active in swimming and cheerleading and eventually coached both sports after she graduated from high school. She is married to BJ Stahly and has two children, Alec (married to Emily (Runge) Stahly) and Taylor. With an undergrad and graduate degree in Education, she decided to stay home to help raise her two children and started a home photography business which is still going 21 years later. Being able to work from home as her kids grew up was a blessing and provided an opportunity to watch the kids in their baseball and basketball pursuits in high school as well as in college. After her kids left home, she decided to get out into the community more and worked 4 years part time with Mirror Inc., in Prevention. This was a great opportunity to be part of a coalition of community members who work to advocate for the youth in Harvey County. This past July she decided to apply for a position at a different non-profit organization and is now the Program Officer for Scholarships at Central Kansas Community Foundation. The non-profit work at both Mirror and CKCF has provided a way to give back to the community that she loves and is proud to be part of.

Newton Area Women of the Year

Left to Right: Back Row: Christa Jahay, Lynette Smith Hendrickson, Abigail Hisel, Ada Schmidt-Tieszen, Mallory Seirer, Shelby Spreier, Casie Powell, Dede Trumble, Front Row: Angie Tatro, Jennifer Vogts, Ashleigh Lakey, Marilyn Wilder, Pam Stevens.


The Newton Area Women of the Year board hosts 2020-2021 Newton Reception

Congratulations to Ashleigh Lakey, Casie Powell, and Ada Schmidt-Tieszen were recognized as this year’s Newton Area Women of the Year on June 8th at the Wild Prairie Event Center.

Foundation Director in the News

Bridgeman takes on dual role leading Halstead, Hesston community foundations
By Jared Janzen

HESSTON—Ashley Bridgeman says she’s found her dream job now that she’s the new director of both the Halstead Community Foundation and the Hesston Community Foundation. The Hesston resident took on the joint role March 22.

“This is the position that I told myself, if it ever came available, that is the job I really want,” she said. “I want to build relationships with people in these communities. I want to make a difference right where we live and I can’t think of a better way or a better cause than through the community foundation because of the lasting impact.”

She noted that the decisions and programs started now have the potential to impact Halstead and Hesston forever.

It’s felt like a natural transition for her, so far, she said, and she’s been hitting the ground running in her new roles.

“I have quite a bit of foundation experience, so there wasn’t as much of a learning curve there to just jump in and get started,” she said.

In 2009, Bridgeman served as administrative assistant for the Central Kansas Community Foundation—the umbrella organization for the Halstead and Hesston foundations—when it had $6 million in assets. During her time there, under the direction of Sandra Fruit, the foundation grew to $18 million.

Bridgeman spent a few years away from CKCF after moving away from the area, but then upon returning to Newton, she became the marketing director for CKCF for the past six years. She said she’s still offering her marketing services to CKCF on a limited basis, but is focusing primarily on her new responsibilities in Halstead and Hesston.

She’s offered her marketing services to CKCF through her marketing business, Bridgeman Group LLC Creative Communications. She’s been doing this off and on for about nine years, but only made it an official LLC in 2018. She believes this experience will help her communicate past the roadblock of helping people understand what a community foundation is, so they’ll be encouraged to give.

“I have a lot of messaging tactics in my back pocket to educate folks and also bring them into our giving family,” she said. “Not only that, but just being in community foundations gives me a huge advantage when it comes to raising money and making our communities stronger.”

She and her husband Jeremy have lived in either Hesston or Newton for most of their married life. They’ve been in Hesston since March 2020. They have three children, a son who’s almost 12, a daughter who’s almost 10 and a son who just turned 8.

“I love the small-town feel,” she said. “There are so many people that are willing to jump in and make this community a great place to live. For the foundation to be a part of that and to be in this role, we have such an opportunity to really make some of the dreams of these small towns come true.”

She noted she’s familiar with the Halstead community, due to its close proximity to Hesston and Newton, and she looks forward to getting to know it more intimately.

“I’m definitely looking forward to the opportunity to get to know more people, to find opportunities in the community to partner and really make a difference,” Bridgeman said.

Marci Carr, chair of the Halstead Community Foundation board, said she thought Bridgeman could help them with their main goals of growing funds to give back to the community in a larger capacity and telling their story, so patrons understand what the foundation does within the community and will be more apt to donate.

“Ashley’s skillset and eagerness to serve a non-profit will assist us in achieving these goals,” Carr said. “We unanimously voted to make her part of our team and are excited and eager to begin working with Ashley.”

Rick Toews, chair of the Hesston Community Foundation board, noted that Bridgeman is a good fit for the director position in Hesston because of her familiarity with CKCF and marketing.

“Ashley is also very personable, relates well to everyone and makes people feel comfortable,” he said. “Since Ashley lives in Hesston, she is familiar with the community. I have worked with Ashley before on other projects and really appreciate her vision and knowledge.”

Carr and Toews explained that the joint position had come about since both foundations had found themselves in need of a new director at the same time.

“Since each position is part-time, there was discussion of combining the roles in order to attract applicants that found additional hours more appealing,” Carr said.

“I would think that having one director for both communities would have a cost-savings for both foundations because there is one phone, one computer, one printer, etc.,” Toews added.

Both foundations made the decision to hire Bridgeman, individually.

“This is an unprecedented position,” Bridgeman said. “This is the first time there’s ever been a regional director and so I’m curious to see how it works out. But so far, it hasn’t been a challenge.”

The position is 20 hours a week, but not necessarily split evenly between towns. She noted she’d balance her time between towns based on which foundation has more going on at a given time. She also believes she’ll be able to replicate some of her efforts between the two foundations.

“Halstead and Hesston are very, very similar and I think what would work in one has a high possibility of success of working in the other,” she said. “So, that’ll be neat to see how we can co-op some of these efforts between the two communities.”

Several ideas are in the works already for the foundations. Halstead is planning a charcuterie box fundraiser on May 5, with more information coming soon. Also, in her conversations with outgoing Hesston director Shana Smith, she said some ideas have been discussed that excite her.

Bridgeman added she looks forward to getting to know everyone in Hesston and Halstead and working for them through the community foundations.

Article posted with permission from the author.

Keep 5 in Kansas

Central Kansas Community Foundation and its affiliates are here to help you consider your lifetime and planned gift intentions for charity. The “Transfer of Wealth”, as the study referenced below demonstrates, is significant. If each of us only planed for 5% of our estate to come through our local community foundation we would support philanthropic endeavors in Central Kansas for decades to come. The most recent Transfer of Wealth Data is updated and ready for Kansans to learn more about the millions and millions of dollars that transfer from generation to generation. Find more info on the KACF website.

Do you have a plan for your wealth transfer? We can help.

For those that love data, you might find these Online Tables useful. There are four tables: the primary transfer of wealth data for each county, the population forecast for each county, the community profile, and a page of additional health, wealth, and education statistics labeled “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise”. Each table has a dropdown menu so every county can be viewed individually, and in the bottom right corner of each table there are “Download” and “Share” buttons.

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Exciting opportunities to join our dynamic team that is helping donors fulfill their charitable intentions. An organizational partner in Central Kansas. Please share the opportunities.