The Women of Purpose Fund was established in 2008 by southwest Kansas area women who made donations to build a permanently endowed fund with a current value of over $200,000 to support local programs focused on issues affecting women. Their vision, commitment and passion have supported annual grants to enable women succeed in our communities.
The vision of this fund is: Empowering southwest Kansas women to take an active and powerful role in philanthropy to serve other women. The Women of Purpose fund allow dedicated, engaged community members to make a difference in the lives of many without a significant time or financial commitment. Please ask our staff to see how you can join hands with women in our area.
Women of Purpose Membership
Each year the Western Kansas Community Foundation invites local donors to contribute $100 to the Women of Purpose Fund to activate their voting membership that year. A Kickoff Event is held each year to signal the annual membership campaign is underway. The voting membership closes on December 31 of each year so that a grant amount can be established for the Request for Proposal. One half of the $100 donation provides funding for the grant to be awarded while the other one half is invested to continue to grow the fund forever.
Leadership for the Women of Purpose Fund is provided by an active Executive Committee. The Committee meets on a monthly basis starting in August through April of each grant year. The Committee members agree to serve for three (3) years and truly exemplify a working board.
The current Executive Committee members:
- Maxine Atkinson
- Raylene Dick
- Susan Escareno
- Ardis Fry
- Sandy Hawley
- Jan Kleysteuber - Chair
- Liz Scheopner
- Sue Swords
- Kathleen Whitley
2010 Women in the Workplace
Awardee: GCCC Business & Industry Become a Career Women $2,600
The purpose was to engage women to acquire skills and learn concepts that will lead them to find gainful employment or to upgrade their position in the workplace.
Eight women completed the course on Dec. 4, 2010, earning a Career Skills II Certificate through 20 hours of classroom work that included a combination of lecture, hands-on exercises, role playing and informative videos. The course objectives enabled women to gain customer service skills, communicate more effectively, learn about employer expectations and workplace effectiveness, and leave with a resume and interview skills. Inspiring instructors provided participants with activities to stimulate self-worth and self-confidence by assisting them with resume preparation and interview skills, plus learning how to wear power colors and dress professionally on a budget.
The women participated in career tours with many different types of businesses that represented opportunities for women in business. A graduation luncheon was held where their GCCC Career Skills II certificate, each graduate was presented along with a thank you bag included a manicure and pedicure from the GCCC Cosmetology center. The group had bonded during the weeks of classes and they exchanged well wishes and hugs before departing.
Jean Warta, Director of Business & Industry at Garden City Community College Business & Industry Institute thanked the Western Kansas Community Foundation for being selected as the first program recipient of the Women of Purpose Fund grant and for the opportunity to provide this training to these unique and special women.
2011 Healthy Women, Healthy Communities (Cancer focus)
Awardee: The Shift Center WHEE Program $3,000
Women’s Health Energizing Empowerment
The purpose of the WHEE Series was to provide women with cancer, services that empower a sense of well-being within themselves; to create a safe place to explore feelings of hope, healing and expression; to provide education and tools to help cope with side effects and survivorship; and to renew cooperation between the medical community and complementary professionals, supporting an integrated model of care. The WHEE Series is a program designed to introduce and make available to women of SW Kansas complementary therapies that may be utilized during the treatment for cancer. The Shift Center was awarded a matching grant enabling them to offer the services at little or no charge.
Kriz Hughes, R.N. explained that all therapies offered augment traditional medical treatments and the latest standards of medical care. We are thrilled to offer these services here in southwest Kansas which up to now have only been found in larger metropolitan hospitals and cancer treatment facilities across the nation.
2012 Healthy Women, Healthy Communities (Diabetes focus)
Awardee: Garden City Family YMCA - $3,500
Diabetes affects many local women. Garden City Family YMCA created a program designed to assist women in the fight against Diabetes by educating them on how to live a healthy lifestyle by implementing an exercise and diet regimen that can be easily maintained. The series of educational opportunities and one-on-one exercise training was designed to provide the tools for lifetime changes in behavior to promote longterm health.
Women of Purpose was pleased to provide funding for this important community service for women to build and enhance skills in making better food choices for themselves as well as to develop positive habits around exercise.
2013 Healthy Women, Healthy Communities (Heart Disease focus)
Awardee: Garden City Recreation Commission (WOW program) - $5,000
Heart Disease is one of the greatest risks to women's health. Garden City Recretion Commission created a program entitled Women of Wellness (WOW) that targets cardiovascular health. Women participating in the Women of Wellness program met for bi-weekly fitness sessions with exercises specifically geared to help women with heart issues.
This third year of health focused grants will help many area women dealing with heart concerns that keep them from exersicing. The program will build education and skills necessary in dealing with heart disease and leading an active and healthy lifestyle.
2014 Women Wise, Money and Finances
Awardee: Family Crisis Services collaborating with Seeds of Hope Jail Ministry - $6,000
This is the first in a three year series of grants under the "Women Wise, Money and Finances" focus. Family Crisis Services in collaboration with Seeds of Hope Jail Ministry will use granted funds to offer classes on personal finance to women in both English and Spanish. These trainings will be held throughout 2014 and seek to build skills and competancy for women who have experienced domestic violence, been incarcerated and/or denied opportunities to manage their own personal finance. Trainings will assist women in developing knowledge in managing money, the importance of savings and planning for future expenses to build independance.
2015 Women Wise, Money and Finances
Awardee: Kansas Children's Service League - $5,000
KCSL in collaboration with Kansas Head Start Association will use granted funds to provide Financial Literacy training for families in their program. The financial literacy project would be offered in two 8 week sessions utilizing the FDIC ‘Money Smart’ curriculum paired with a savings incentive and key support services. Training on key budgeting, savings, and financial management strategies would be emphasized along with the opportunity to develop positive relationships with bank staff to help reduce barriers in accessing mainstream banking services for low income families.
2016 Women Wise, Money and Finances
Awardee: Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas - $4,000
Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas would work with five, low-income women from Finney County who are interested in establishing financial stability. Case managers will assist the women with an individualized case plan, personalized family budget, financial literacy education, establishing a bank account, weekly case management, and providing appropriate information and referrals to community organizations over a 12-month period. The expected outcome of this program is for the women to have built up an emergency savings of at least $600 and have the tools and skills to manage and maintain it.
2017 Women's Greatest Wealth is Health!
Awardee: City on a Hill - $4,000
City on a Hill's inpatient treatment facility specifically services women and they discovered that many women receiving treatment for substance abuse have previously been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which often accounts for a relapse and return to substance abuse. City on a Hill is seeking funding to provide treatment for those clients that will effectively address both the substance abuse and PTSD.
2018 Thriving Women, Thriving Communities!
Awardees: Great Plains MakerSpace - $5,000; ABC Pregnancy Care Center - $2,000; Stevens County Health Department - $2,000
Great Plains Maker Space hosted monthly Girls in Engineering And Robotics workshops during the school year and bi-weekly workshops. GEAR also worked with other organizartions like USD #457 and the Finney County Public Library to make sure all girls in the community have an opportunity to explore robotics and engineering.
ABC Pregnancy Care Center purchased items for their boutique, including cribs, crib mattresses, play yards, and high chairs. Clients of ABC have the opportunity to earn "Baby Bucks" when they participate in classes provided by the center. In turn, those "Baby Bucks" can be used to "purchase" items from the boutique for their infants or toddlers. Due to safety concerns, some items must be in new condition for the Center to give them out.
Stevens County Health Department provided a women's health fair in Hugoton. SCHD will collaborate with local hospitals to provide cervical cancer screenings as well as screenings of other diseases that can affect reproductive health, mammography screening information, will promote healthy meal choices, and the library will provide women's health information packets. The event would allow uninsured women the opportuinty to access and receive valuable health information.
2019 Inspiring Female Potential Through Mentorship!
Awardees: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Fi. & Ke. Counties - $5,000; Girl Scouts of KS Heartland - $1,500; Russell Child Development Center - $1,500
Big Brothers Big Sisters began an after-school program called Young Women of Purpose. In that program, young women from under-served and at-risk populations are mentored to develop skills and assets that will lead them to success. This is done through educational programs and practical application of the programs, as well as participation in various hands on activites.
Girl Scouts of KS Heartland provided scholarships to underserved girls from Southwest Kansas to attend various camps hosted by Girl Scouts, as well as covering some expenses for the Messy Day camp.
Russell Child Development Center encouraged femal entrepreneurship through high quality professional development and coaching support to those interested in operating child care businesses. Topics covered included basic licensing information, advantages of being your own boss, and local and regional resource information.