Staff and Volunteers Attend KACF Conference

Foundation staff and board attended the 2019 KACF National Conference on Growing Community Foundations last week, Sunday-Tuesday in Wichita, Kansas. We learned how to improve our operations and keep the “Unity in Community”.

Pictured Back Row L-R
Anthony Roy, Hillsboro Community Foundaiton; Jacob Schmill, Peabody Community Foundation; Angie Tatro, CKCF; Carrie Herman, CKCF; Melinda Newell, CKCF; Susan Lamb, CKCF; Becky Nickel, Peabody Community Foundation & CKCF; Ashley Bridgeman, CKCF

Pictured Front Row L-R
Macey Mueller, Halstead Community Foundation; Virginia Martens, Hillsboro Community Foundation; Kristie Diller, CKCF; Michelle Critchfield, CKCF; Carol Reimer Duerksen, Goessel Community Foundation

Our Partners: Adrian & Pankratz Law Firm

Throughout the years, we have put down roots in the communities we serve and are honored to grow our communities alongside valued and trusted community partners. The following series features businesses and individuals who have stood by our side in serving our mission to build stronger communities through charitable giving. Thank you dearly for being partners in our charitable work – it wouldn’t be possible without your friendship and support.

This week, we honor Adrian & Pankratz, Attorneys at Law, their commitment to helping us serve our charitable mission in South Central Kansas.

Foundation Seeks New Board Members

The Central Kansas Community Foundation is seeking active and engaged board members to serve on the regional volunteer Board of Directors. We encourage you to reach out if you are interested! For more information, feel free to browse our website and check out the following resources for board members.

If you or someone you know would be interested, please contact Angie Tatro, Executive Director at 316-283-5474 or! She will gladly answer any questions your might have.

Board of Directors Job Description

Newton Community Foundation celebrates first birthday

The Newton Community Foundation recently celebrated their first birthday with a morning brunch celebration at one of the hottest locations in Newton – Prairie Harvest’s recently renovated Mezzanine. Congratulations on a wonderful first year – We look forward to the years to come and the difference NCF will make in the Newton community!

Check out their Facebook page for more details about the event!

CKCF Welcomes Michelle Critchfield as new Grants Officer

The Central Kansas Community Foundation recently welcomed Michelle Critchfield to the team.  She will serve the CKCF and its affiliates as the Program Officer ~ Grants.

Most recently, Michelle worked for Alpha Chi Omega Fraternity, Inc. as a traveling chapter consultant.  In her two years in this role, Michelle traveled around the United States to support the operational needs of 18 individual Alpha Chi Omega chapters.

Michelle grew up in Hesston and is excited to be back in the area.  Outside of work, Michelle is pursuing a master’s degree in history and serves as a volunteer for Alpha Chi Omega.  She also enjoys spending time with friends and family, biking, and watching movies.

Michelle is looking forward to serving central Kansas communities in this role, through overseeing the grant processes for the CKCF and its affiliate partners.

Hillsboro CF Welcomes New Director

The Hillsboro Community Foundation, affiliate of CKCF, recently welcomed Virginia Martens to their team. She will serve as Director of the affiliate foundation.

Virginia previously worked for Tabor College for 41 years in the Business Office in various positions, starting as data entry clerk and finishing as Controller, a position she has had since 1995.

She is married to Jim, a retired welder, for 47 years, and they live in Hillsboro. They have two adult children and four grandchildren who have live in Central Kansas. In her spare time, she loves to read, works in the yard and garden, bowls in a weekly league, and spends time with her family, especially her grandchildren.

She is looking forward to using her acquired knowledge and experience to assist the Hillsboro Community Foundation in its effort to receive and administer funds for the betterment of the Hillsboro community.

2019 National CF Conference Registration Open

Kansas Association of Community Foundations Annual Conference For Growing Community Foundations   

October 27-29, 2019  |  Wichita Marriott Hotel
Hosted by the Kansas Association of Community Foundation

Learn More

Register Today

Please join your community foundation colleagues in Wichita, Kansas for the 2019 Annual National Conference for Growing Community Foundations.

The dynamic Conference is an outgrowth of those convened by the Kansas Association of Community Foundations over the last twelve years, which has gained national recognition and attendance. It is tailored but not limited to small-staffed and volunteer-led community foundations in rural, small urban, and suburban America. It is designed to meet the needs of both new and seasoned board members and staff in practical training to enhance skills in all major areas of community foundation management. We welcome all board members and other volunteers, executive directors and other staff of community foundations from the USA and beyond.

CKCF awards 11 Charities through Kids Fund

Central Kansas Community Foundation (CKCF) is pleased to announce the 2019 Central Kansas Community Foundation Kids FUNd grantees which were funded from proceeds from the L. Marie Haun Charitable Fund for Children.

Since 2005 the Kids FUNd has been supporting local projects and programs serving kids. Originally this fund was supported by the Sand Creek Station Pro/Am Golf Tournament. After 2012 the Pro/Am completed their support of the fund and the Haun Charitable Fund was started as a means of continuing the provision of making grants to kid serving charities. The L. Marie Haun Charitable Fund for Children has awarded over $250,000 since 2013 to organizations who have interest in children’s behavioral research, child welfare, teaching parent skills, and/or strengthening families.

This year $23,000 was given to eleven (11) organizations that are providing programs and projects that are supporting area children and families. Here is the list of the organizations who received funding this year and are doing amazing work within our local communities:

  • USD #484 Lincoln Elementary Fredonia Early Learning Center, Watch Dogs, Fredonia
  • Sunlight Children’s Advocacy Rights Foundation, Program Services, Andover
  • Harvey County DV/SA Task Force, Inc., Building Better Lives for Children and Youth, Newton
  • Heart to Heart Child Advocacy Center, H2HCAC Stewards of Children, Newton
  • Mirror Inc., STAND (formally known as Youth as Resources), Harvey County
  • Kansas Children’s Service League, Period of PURPLE Crying Shaken Baby/Abusive Head Trauma Prevention, Regional
  • Communities In Schools of Mid-America, CIS Program at El Dorado Middle School, El Dorado
  • CASA A Voice for Children, Inc., Conversations with CASA, Harvey & McPherson Counties
  • Butler Community College EduCare Center Learning Lab, Parents Discover the Power of Play, Butler County
  • Special Families, Lending Library Parenting Education Project, Augusta
  • Family Life Center of Butler County, Family Life Center, El Dorado

“One person can truly make a difference in the world,” said Angie Tatro, Executive Director of CKCF. She went on to share that in six (6) short years proceeds from the L. Marie Haun Charitable Fund for Children benefiting the Regional Kids FUNd grant cycle has impacted kid serving charities with over a quarter of million dollars in grant resources. “The number of lives touched by these funds is tremendous.” Tatro went on to welcome others who have a charitable cause or vulnerable population that matters to them to consider leaving an planned gift. Tatro is able to provide further details and options for establishing a planned gift. Contact her if you have an interest at 316-283-5474 or

Award Ceremony was hosted by Central Kansas Community Foundation Board of Directors at 9:30 am Thursday, July 25, 2019 at Wild Prairie Event Center, Newton, KS.

Jack and Ellen Charlsen Leave Charitable Legacy

In 2014 Ellen Charlsen, while working with her Financial Advisor, wanted to ensure charitable support to her church and other charities that matter to her and her dearly departed husband, Jack. She wanted to know if there was a way for the charities to receive part of their legacy. Central Kansas Community Foundation (CKCF) Executive Director Angie Tatro worked with Ellen to establish her Donor Advised Memorandum for the Jack W. and Ellen M. Charlsen Charitable Fund, that would be established upon her death. She worked with her financial advisor in making CKCF the Beneficiary on her invested assets. It was a simple process she appreciated.

In February 2018 Ellen passed away and in early 2019 their first gifts of nearly $17,000 were distributed to her Church, the VFW Foundation, Caring Hands Humane Society, a local college for a nursing scholarship and then in their insightfulness earmarked their support for lessening the burden of government with an annual gift to the City of Newton for their K-9 program. Their endowment will support these charities that mattered to them, forever.

Tatro said, “Through education of Financial Advisors in our service region about the Keep 5 in Kansas concept, the Charlsen’s Financial Advisor opened the conversation with this donor about a way to keep their family legacy alive while also supporting charities that mattered to them.”  Being proactive in their planning, this couple gifted over $450,000 to the local Community Foundation to oversee their charitable gift plans.  The Foundation will manage these funds and make annual distributions to the five charitable causes outlined in their donor advised memorandum.

“The gift from the estate of Jack and Ellen Charlsen is a significant contribution to the ongoing education of future nurses at Bethel College. We thank Jack and Ellen for their commitment to the College, especially for their support of our Nursing Department,” said Brad Kohlman, Vice President for Institutional Advancement. Interim Chief Craig Dunlavy learned of the support of the Newton Police K-9 Program saying, “we are overwhelmed by the generosity of members of our community.” He went on to say the resources that will be received annually will be going to good use.

Tatro further added, “We are touched daily at the Foundation by the giving spirit of local community members that see the importance of giving back. The Foundation is here to support all donors, those that want to give $25 to a local community impact fund to those with large estate plans, giving in their lifetime or after death, or both. We are in a unique situation of helping others fulfill their charity mission while being a part of strategically helping strengthen the social service backbone of our communities across Central Kansas as a leader in community service and invigoration.”

The Central Kansas Community Foundation is perfectly positioned to assist donors like Jack and Ellen with planned giving. If you would like more information please go to or contact Angie Tatro, Executive Director for more information at 316-283-5474.

The Jack & Ellen Charlsen Story

Jack (Guvekas) Charlsen was born on April 13, 1922. He attended and graduated from Newton High School in 1941. Jack played drums in the high school band and enjoyed dancing and music. In 1942, Jack enlisted in the Army Air Force and was stationed in Elmswell England during World War II. Jack was a ball turret gunner on a B17 in which he flew 28 missions over the European theatre. Jack was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with three bronze oak leaf clusters and the Good Conduct Medal. After the war, Jack has his last name changed to Charlsen as his mother remarried George Charlsen and George was the father that he looked up to growing up and for the years following.

Ellen Charlsen was born May 1, 1926 in Elyria, Kansas. Ellen graduated from McPherson High School in 1944. Ellen enrolled in the United States Cadet Nurse Corps program at Axtell Christian Hospital in 1944. Ellen agreed to be available for military or civilian services for the duration of the present war. The war ended in 1946, so she was not called to serve.

Jack and Ellen were married on February 13, 1948. Jack returned to work at Charlsen Market until he was hired by Boeing Aircraft. Jack worked as an engineer for Boeing. Ellen was a nurse. They both worked for the Apollo Space Program in preparation for the first moon flight. Jack was then transferred back to Wichita where he worked until his retirement in 1986. Ellen worked as an RN for many organizations. Her most memorable time was working with the astronauts on the moon flight. Ellen also helped set up the ER room for the movie “Walking Tall” and was an extra in the movie!

Jack and Ellen retired to Buena Vista, Arkansas, where they volunteered in their community. Due to family members’ health concerns, they moved back to Newton. Jack and Ellen enjoyed their bowling leagues, where they bowled with various groups through the years. Jack joined the VFW Color Guard in 1992, where he later became Commander of the VFW Post 971 in Newton. Jack and Ellen belonged to the Zion Lutheran Church, where they were active members until their health would no longer allow them to continue. Jack also belonged to the American Legion, BPOE, Eagles of Newton, Albert Pike Lodge No. 303 and the Scottish Rite Temple of Wichita.

Jack enjoyed being outside and doing yard work, while Ellen enjoyed working in her flower garden. Ellen enjoyed showing pictures of her tomato plants in Huntsville, Alabama, where they were probably six feet tall with lots of tomatoes. They always enjoyed their little dogs. Scout was very special to Ellen after Jack passed away in 2010. He became her companion, or as Ellen often said – he was who she had left to talk to and Scout was a diligent listener.

Jack passed away on December 1, 2010 and Ellen joined him on February 25, 2018.

CKCF Hosts Charitable Partners in Roundtable

Thursday June 27, we hosted the third in our series of regional round table discussions for our partner charitable organizations. The event was hosted in the Beaumont Depot Community Center. We talked about how we serve charitable organizations, presented the results from our charity partner survey and gave tips on grant writing.

To see more photos of our event, please visit our Facebook page!