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.
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As COVID-19 languishes and governments are making decisions to reopen economies, the Foundation is actively working to support individuals and families affected in the communities we serve. Round 1 provided more than $31,000 in funding to local charities for food, sterilization equipment, telemedicine and operations. The Foundation is on track to give a little more than $20,000 in R2 funding.
Review committees have submitted reviews and everything is being put in place for Round 2 distributions next week. As recommendations are being made, funding gaps are becoming clear. As of April 30, we need help funding the following initiatives to help people in need during this time.
FOOD AND ESSENTIALS
This includes food and cleaning and sanitation supplies.
Funding Gap: $45,550
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)
This includes requests for PPE in various hospitals and care facilities.
Funding Gap: $53,868
This includes budget items necessary to continue operating during COVID-19.
Funding Gap: $22,695
This includes items necessary for distance learning and outreach to home-bound clientele.
Note: Only amounts from qualifying grant applications are included in these totals. These include finalized and reviewed applications. There are currently several applications that are unfinished, so we are far from seeing an end to the need.
Why give to the Foundation for COVID-19?
By giving to the Foundation, you are putting your trust in our knowledge and expertise to find the greatest needs in our communities. We are connected to more than 400 charities in Central Kansas, several serving people affected by COVID-19. Charitable organizations provide a direct link to hundreds, sometimes thousands of people seeking support. We trust them to identify needs related to COVID-19 and apply for grants for relief funding. Review teams in our communities with open funds review each grant application and make recommendations for funding. The process is sound and meets rigorous due diligence requirements.
We love charitable giving in all forms. If you are directly connected with a charity that is in need of financial support, we strongly encourage you to give directly to that charity during this time.
CKCF awarded nearly $24,000 in grants to charities in our service region serving their missions for kids!! Well over 4,500 children will benefit from the funding provided for the following organizations.
Youth Core Ministries, $3,000
Core Community Augusta
Our organization supports families working to overcome poverty. We believe that with support, education, and strong relationships, the heads of households in our program can successfully achieve financial stability. We recognize that the children and families in our group have often been through, or are still living through, traumatic experiences. Our Thursday night meetings focus on creating a safe space for children and families to facilitate growth and healing. Thursday nights our families gather for dinner, the children spend time with dedicated, nurturing volunteers playing games and building relationships, and adults engage with peers and community members in a space of learning and transformation. The relationship-based model used by Core Community Augusta builds social capital for low-income individuals, teaches skills, and helps adults learn how to set a vision and goals for their lives. When families move out of poverty their mental and physical health outcomes improve, they reduce and pay-off debt, pursue higher education, take on higher paying jobs and even establish businesses. As an organization, our goal for our families is that they increase their earned income to 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, the percentage considered necessary to provide for a family without assistance programs. As our families work towards this goal, we see positive shifts in their emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical health. We believe that healthier adults support an environment for healthier children. We also believe that parents out of poverty get children out of poverty and help break the generational cycle.
Communities In Schools of Mid-America, $3,000
CIS of Mid-America at El Dorado Middle School
CIS of Mid-America takes a holistic approach to education with our unique model of Integrated Student Supports (ISS), which means that we focus on “developing or securing and coordinating supports that target academic and non-academic barriers to achievement” (Moore & Emig, 2014).
Our school-based Site Coordinator works with school staff and leadership to identify school-level risk factors as well as individual students who are most at-risk of dropping out of school. The Site Coordinator provides whole-school programming designed to be widely accessible to all students and focusing on improving the overall school climate. In addition, the Site Coordinator works with a caseload of students on academic, behavior, attendance, and/or social/emotional learning goals. This is done both one-to-one as well as in a group setting with other caseload students with a common need. It is our goal for these students to not only be successful in middle school but enter ninth grade prepared for high school.
CIS of Mid-America is in its fifth year of providing ISS at El Dorado Middle School. In that time, we have reached nearly 2,000 students and provided intensive case-management support to more than 400 students.
Families and Communities Together, Inc., $3,000
Growing Family Connections
Growing Family Connections will provide parent education classes using the evidence-based Conscious Discipline© program by Dr. Becky Bailey. The classes will be offered to parents, grandparents, educators, childcare providers, etc. in Marion County free of charge with childcare provided. Conscious Discipline is specifically designed to provide parents with the conscious awareness and skills needed to create safe, loving, and problem-solving homes. Building the parent/child relationship is an important focus. Participants will be provided with activities to build connections with their children as well as positive discipline techniques.
This project specifically connects teaching parent skills, applying children’s behavioral research, and strengthening family relationships. Families and Communities Together, Inc. (FACT) has adopted the Strengthening Families Model as a focus for the organization. FACT continues to promote the five key protective factors for family success in all programs. The evidence-based Conscious Discipline© program by Dr. Becky Bailey ties perfectly with our program focus and the Strengthening Families Model. This grant will be used to provide parent education classes using concepts from the Conscious Discipline© program. The Growing Family Connections project will incorporate 7 two-hour classes, one per month at varying locations throughout the county in order to give all close, easy access at one point or another. Free childcare will be provided while parents attend the meeting, with children joining their parents at the end of the class for a family activity.
Financial Assistance Program for Children with Special Needs in Butler, Harvey, Elk and Marion Counties and Valley Center
The number of American children with developmental disabilities “increased significantly” in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). One in six children (17.8%) has at least one developmental disability. One in 59 children has been identified with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) according to CDC estimates, costing the nation more than $90 billion per year. Early intervention is key. The CDC states, “Early identification and intervention can have a significant impact on a child’s ability to learn new skills, as well as reduce the need for costly interventions over time.”
For some children served at Heartspring, therapies are only needed for a short time, to help them increase skill development to an age appropriate level. Many children served at Heartspring benefit from more than one type of therapy, multiple times per week. However, not all insurance companies consistently cover the costs, potentially causing difficulty for families to keep up financially. Therapy costs for a child receiving three therapies per week at Pediatrics Services are approximately $1,140 per month, or almost $14,000 per year. Autism behavioral services and therapies cost up to $60,000 a year, on average.
The Heartspring Financial Assistance Program helps families ensure their children receive the services they need now in order to reach their potential, regardless of their ability to pay. Last year alone, Heartspring created hope and opportunity for 1,014 children and families with special needs. Of this total, 538 children/families served received $1,470,796 in free and reduced fee services.
Kansas Big Brothers, Big Sisters, $817
BBBS Background Checks
It is our goal to match 25 new volunteers with Harvey County youth facing adversity in 2020. To that end, we respectfully request your consideration of a grant in support of the cost of running Federal, State and Local background checks. Each volunteer background check costs $32.70 and includes KBI, NCIC, SRS Child Abuse and Neglect Registry, DMV, & both national and state Registries of Sexual Offenders. Total for 25 new volunteers in 2020 to cover background checks would be $817.50.
Child safety is paramount to our program and these background checks are mandatory as a part of our affiliation with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
Mirror, Inc., $3,000
STAND offers high school students from all backgrounds the opportunity to be active participants in their community and school to create positive change. Through their involvement with STAND, youth are given opportunities and skills to reduce substance abuse use, promote positive mental health, and create significant change in their community.
Prairie View, Inc., $2,795
In-school psycho-social rehabilitation program
Prairie View currently works together with a number of different school districts to provide psycho-social rehabilitation to students. Administrators and teachers identify students that have more acute social needs and would benefit from professional counseling and support. Prairie View’s community based services team members would provide training to these students during the school day for the remainder of the school calendar year to help them learn necessary skills to manage stressful situations at school and at home. The demographic student population has typically been such that private funding, counseling and therapy is not a possibility and as a result needs are not met, or have to be picked up by the school district. This particular project would focus on groups in the Peabody and Sedgwick school districts. Both of these school districts have been proactive in wanting to collaborate and help meet the social and emotional needs of all students, and certainly those that appear to be struggling.
Sunshine Children’s Advocacy & Rights Foundation, $3,000
Sunshine Children’s Home
The Sunshine Children’s Home works with law enforcement and juvenile justice in Butler County to provide temporary emergency shelter for children that are removed from their home due to abuse and neglect. We continue to see more children and even tougher cases involving children. We are the only resource of its kind in Butler County, and we never know who we are going to be serving on a daily basis. We serve every child that walks through our door. Our home can serve up to 15 children at any given time. Our home was built to serve 100 kids per year, and we are consistently serving over 650 per year the past two years. These children come to us in a very raw and fragile state, often confused, angry, sad, and every other emotion you might equate from being taken from the only life you have ever known. These children oftentimes come to us hungry, tired and numb. Many haven’t eaten consistently and some have never slept in a bed. We want these children to feel that someone cares for them and their well-being. We want them to be a child for the first time in their lives. We want them to know that living and seeing violence isn’t the only way. We want to provide them shelter, but also hope for a better future and an end of the cycle of abuse.
Wichita’s Littlest Heroes, $1,818
Community Resource Counselor for Parents of Children with Special Healthcare Needs in Rural Kansas
A Community Resource Counselor (CRC) will assist parents who need facilitated access to relevant and timely resources in their community to support their children and youth who have special healthcare needs (CYSHCN). Finding these resources is challenging enough in large cities like Wichita that have a concentration of service providers. In smaller towns and rural communities, knowing your options is even more difficult. In addition to scarcity of resources in rural communities, other factors known to be barriers to accessing health services include well-documented social determinants of health such as parents’ educational attainment, employment/income, stable housing, and internet access.
Primarily, our CRC will provide navigation and outreach services to families through phone conversations, internet, and in-person visits. Our commitment to personal visits distinguishes Wichita’s Littlest Heroes (WLH) from other service providers. Our CRC is available for in-home visits for parents who need to stay home with their Hero, to conduct needs assessments and resource navigation as well as providing informative resource packages customized for each family’s needs. Our CRC is also available to meet at schools (with teachers and other education professionals, in addition to parents), at the parents’ workplace, and with social workers. For educational presentations of general information, our CRC organizes workshops for groups of any size.
Our CRC will also conduct outreach to grassroots organizations in rural communities to raise awareness of WLH services. Collaborations with these service organizations will allow us to build upon established, trusted relationships that Hero families already rely on for reliable information.
Central Kansas Community Foundation to distribute $25,000 in COVID-19 relief funding in Harvey County
Harvey County, KS – Eight charities in Harvey County will receive relief funding from Central Kansas Community Foundation (CKCF) today.
This round 1 funding, $25,207 in total, will support the following local efforts to counteract the effects of COVID-19, meeting some of the most urgent needs in our communities.
- Health Ministries, $2,556 for sterilization equipment
- New Hope Shelter, $6,895 for operations and supplies
- Food Pantry, Burrton, $1,000 for essential cleaning items, toiletries and operations
- Prairie View, $5,556 for mental health telemedicine
- New Jerusalem, $3,000 for essential sanitary items and operations
- Agape, $500 for food and cleaning resources
- EmberHope, $4,200 for family foster care support
- Trinity Heights Respite Care, $1,500 for operations and supplies
During this initial stage of response, the goal is to fund programs that meet many of our basic human needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, safe environments, access to food and services, and shelter and childcare.
Funding for these grants were made available in part through a gift from the Harvey County Commission to serve needs in Harvey County as well as the Kansas Health Foundation Health Fund – Newton and other private donations.
As local charities complete grant applications, the Foundation is identifying a funding gap between the need and available resources. The actual number is a moving target as charities continue to evaluate their needs. Foundation experts expect this resource gap to widen in the coming days.
“These initial grants meet several emerging needs in our communities,” said Angie Tatro, CKCF executive director. “We anticipate that the needs will increase far beyond our current capacity to support.”
Tatro went on to say that this situation is rare as it is impacting the masses. She expressed the donor base for the Foundation throughout their service region has been historically strong in response to community needs, and she is optimistic donations will increase to these Relief Funds.
“I have said it before, we are able to grant and support local needs only because of the generosity of donors. We are humbled by their support and strive to make a difference in our communities on behalf of them,” said Tatro.
The Foundation’s goal is to support COVID-19 relief efforts, region-wide, in the short term, during the mid-term evaluation stage, the long-term community recovery and ultimately resiliency phases.
“The charitable organizations we work closely with know how to serve their mission well,” Tatro said. “They really are the gauge for needs among our most vulnerable populations. The more we can empower them to do their jobs and give people a place to find services, the more secure our communities will be during and after COVID-19.”
The Central Kansas Community Relief Fund will continue to remain open for donations during and following the pandemic event. The Foundation is a safe and secure place for donations and the funds will be pooled and given to charities that serve those in greatest need of support.
“In our experience with disaster response, our communities will continue to recover for quite some time following the last case of coronavirus,” said Tatro.
Donors who wish to respond to community needs may visit www.centralkansascf.org to contribute to the fund. Donations may be designated to a particular community.
Charitable organizations and other tax-exempt entities can apply for funding through a simplified grant application, available on the CKCF website, www.centralkansacf.org. A specific review committee in Harvey County will determine which entities will receive the funding earmarked in Harvey County. The Foundation is supporting several efforts across their service region that include Relief Funds in Peabody, El Dorado and Hillsboro as well as the region-wide fund. Volunteers have been selected to support the review process for each of these relief efforts.
Further information is available at www.centralkansascf.org under the “COVID-19” tab.
Central Kansas Community Foundation (CKCF) Receives $50,000 from Harvey County Commissioners
Harvey County, KS – Harvey County Commissioners voted Tuesday to give CKCF $50,000 in relief funding for the COVID-19 charitable relief effort in Harvey County communities.
As part of the appeal for funding, CKCF circulated the COVID-19 needs assessment to identify emerging needs in Harvey County communities. The link to the assessment remains active. Local 501 (c)(3) charities and other tax-exempt entities, including educational institutions and churches, responding to the effects of COVID-19 are encouraged to submit a response to this form.
“We hope that by identifying needs before they become emergent, we can communicate an approximate dollar amount and have funding in place when it is needed,” Said Susan Lamb, CKCF PPREP Grant Coordinator. “The commission funds will help us immediately address needs for food, diapers, disinfectant, hand sanitizer, wipes and operational expenses in light of cancelled fundraising events.”
In addition to the needs assessment, Harvey County foundation leaders will regularly be in contact with local response officials and charities to determine need.
Community Response Fund Open
In response to the pandemic, CKCF opened the Central Kansas Community Relief Fund. County funds will be placed in this fund, and the Relief Fund will be a resource for charities in Harvey County who are seeking to meet increased needs during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As needs emerge during this time, charitable organizations and other tax-exempt entities can apply for funding through a simplified grant application, available on the CKCF website, www.centralkansacf.org. A review committee in Harvey County will determine which entity will receive the funding.
Donors who wish to respond to community needs may visit www.centralkansascf.org to contribute to the fund. Donations may be designated to a particular community or charity.
“Along with our donors, our role is to make sure that service providers have everything they need to respond to people who are vulnerable during this pandemic,” said Angie Tatro, CKCF Executive Director. “Our ultimate goal is to help Harvey County communities respond, recover and build resiliency.”
Fluid Response Effort from CKCF
Even though CKCF has activated the Relief Fund as an initial response to the event to serve service region, the Foundation maintains flexibility in the local response and relief effort. Leadership continually evaluates the need to activate local relief funds at the affiliate community level.
“We are prepared to meet the needs of our individual affiliate communities,” said Tatro. “We will consider the relief effort management resources available in each of our communities before making the decision to activate local relief funds.”
Central Kansas Community Foundation staff has been busy working with Foundant Technologies staff to transition accounting and fund management functions to their program, CSuite for Community Foundations.
CSuite is a comprehensive fund, accounting and donor management system. It will feature a new and improved way of accessing donor funds online and accepting donations through our website. Internally, the Foundation staff will have the enhanced ability to establish and manage events, interact with donors and charities and pay vendors, all for the sole purpose of better serving the groups and individuals that are so important for making what we do, possible.
We will be hosting five in-person and online tutorials for learning how to interact with the new system, beginning at the end of February. Please see the list of locations below. Donors, Fund Advisors (previously known as Fund Representative), Nonprofit Organizations that have funds with CKCF, Affiliate Board Members, & Staff are encouraged to attend!
- March 3, 2020, 5:00 PM, El Dorado | El Dorado City Commission Meeting Room in the Administration Building at 220 E. 1st St. – Enter through the front door and turn right into the room.
- March 5, 2020, 11:00 AM , Howard | Howard United Methodist Church, 815 E. Randolph St.
- March 5, 2020, 4:00 PM, Peabody | Peabody Library Ann Potter Room, 216 N Walnut – Enter on the north side and go downstairs. It is accessible with an elevator from the north entrance.
- March 10, 2020,7:30 AM, Newton | Hutchinson Community College, 203 E Broadway St.
- March 10, 2020, 5:00 PM, Hesston | Hesston Public Library, 300 N Main St.
The 2020 Membership Drive for the Kansas Association for Community Foundations is well under way. We want to remind you that your dues are due to the KACF by February 15, 2020.
KACF has mailed a MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL LETTER from your peer – KACF Chair Conny Bogaard at the Western Kansas Community Foundation to your Foundation leadership and has provided some information in a 2020 REPORT TO FOUNDATIONS.
Thank you for your Membership! We are stronger with our Association!