GROW Initiative

GROW I Initiative: Growing Resources for Our World

Kansas Health Foundation Initiative (KHF) - In 1999, the Foundation announced the Giving Resources to Our World (GROW) Healthy Kansas Initiative, with the goal of starting and strengthening community foundations in Kansas. The intent was to work with community foundation to help build local philanthropic leadership and resources that would result in long-term, sustained health improvements in communities throughout the state.

Phase 1 Operating Funds

Each participating community foundation set a goal and the KHF would match that goal dollar for dollar, completed by December 31, 2003. The WKCF set and reached the goal of $150,000 in operating funds raised. KHF matched the WKCF goal with $150,000.

In spring of 2002 a $10,000 bonus was awarded from KHF, to be expended in grants to the service area of the WKCF.

Phase 2 - Building Endowment

Community foundations were again asked to select a goal to reach for new endowed funds. Based on past success, the WKCF applied for and was approved for a $500,000 goal, the maximum allowed by KHF. Again, KHF matched $1 for every $2 raised for building endowment. In 2002, the WKCF exceeded the $500,000 goal and received the KHF matching gift in the amount of $250,000 in late December 2003. This grant funds established the Kansas Health Foundation Children's Fund with focus of grants made for children's needs within the WKCF service area. The KHF awarded an additional $10,000 for children's needs grants as a bonus for making the goal early.

Phase 3 - Nonprofit Initiative

This phase of the KHF GROW program is designed to help community foundations become knowledgeable about community issues, needs and opportunities, and to serve as a resource for local non-profit organizations. The WKCF hosted a seminar in September 2005 and included presentations from several keynote speakers. In response to a survey provided at the training an group of grant makers were convened and established the High Plains Grant Makers who would provide education and training on issues affecting the non-profit community.

Phase 4 - Additional Funds

Community foundations with assets under $10 million who successfully completed Phase 2 and developed and implemented a 2004 asset development and strategic plan were eligible to participate in Phase 4. Once again the KHF is willing to match $1 for every $2 raised for building endowments. The WKCF elected to set a goal of $700,000, to be eligible for the match of $350,000, the maximum amount allowed by the KHF. All matching funds from the KHF were to be placed in the "Kansas Health Foundation Children’s Fund" for the health and well-being of children in our community. In November 2005, WKCF was notified KHF was increasing their promise match! The WKCF's initial goal of $700,000 would now be matched with $700,000. That is a 100% match, increased from the previous 50% match!

Phase 5 - Matching Funds & Strategic Planning

There were three components to this phase. The first is the endowment match, with a $1 for every $2 raised. The WKCF goal was established at $700,000, to be eligible for the match of $350,000. An additional bonus offered by the KHF provided an additional $100,000 if $50,000 is raised in operating funds. The second component was the requirement that the WKCF comply with the Council on Foundations National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations. The third and final component required WKCF prepare and submit a plan to achieve sustainability. This Sustaining Resource Development Plan requires board engagement in its development and implementation. The WKCF was awarded the full match in both the operating and fund endowment.

Final GROW I Gift – Modernization/Technology Grant

The final chapter in GROW I was a $50,000 Modernization/Technology Grant. The KHF knew many of the GROW Community Foundation were pushing the limits of their current record keeping software and so they offered to fund three (3) years of several different programs specifically designed for non-profits like WKCF. The remaining funds were then allocated to help us remodel the office space we currently occupy at 402 N Main St in Garden City, KS. Through the generosity of the Kansas Health Foundation, Western Kansas Community Foundation has grown from $3,000,000 when the GROW I Initiative began to over $18,000,000 in 2012. The best is yet to come.

GROW II Initiative: The Second Chapter

UPDATE: WKCF was pleased to achieve all GROW II goals at the end of 2014!  Thank you to the generous donors and supporters who helped us achieve this significant milestone.  In addition, thank you to the WKCF board members and staff who have endeavored to meet this challenge. 


Based on the success of the GROW I initiative, the Foundation began GROW II, the second chapter of its work with community foundations. GROW II is focused on strengthening the community foundation field in Kansas. The main goals of GROW II are 1) to help more Kansas community foundations build permanent resources that will measurably improve the health of local residents, and 2) to support collaboration and alliances among community foundations to ensure a well managed and self-sufficient community foundation field in Kansas.

The Western Kansas Community Foundation was challenged to raise endowment dollars that will be matched by the Kansas Health Foundation up to $600,000. When successful in our fundraising efforts, we will raise over $2,600,000 for the betterment of our community. This represents local dollars that will stay local and benefit the service area.

“We are honored to have been chosen to participate in the GROW II program through the Kansas Health Foundation. This program will continue to strengthen our role as a community convener and catalyst for positive change in southwest Kansas while also growing the Foundation’s permanent funds to benefit area initiatives,” said Shea Sinclair, Executive Director of the Western Kansas Community Foundation.

GROW II will focus on strengthening the community foundation through matching funds to our Operations Endowment and a new endowment to underwrite solutions to local health issues.

“We look forward to this new phase of helping community foundations across Kansas grow into healthy, thriving sources of help that will stand the test of time,” says Steve Coen, president and CEO of the Kansas Health Foundation.

In addition to the matching endowed grant, the community foundation staff and board receive training, one- on-one consulting and support and, if certain benchmarks are met, an operating grant of 3.5 percent of the matching grant awarded by the Kansas Health Foundation on an annual basis for six years.

The Western Kansas Community Foundation will benefit and flourish significantly from this matching fund opportunity from the Kansas Health Foundation. Donate today to make your contributions count as we build for our future.

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