Foundation for the future

While many rural communities in Kansas struggle for financial resources to maintain their quality of life, several in this area are establishing community foundations as a vehicle for keeping local wealth working at home now and into the future.

Goessel became the fourth city in Marion County to take that step when local board members signed documents March 21 establishing a partnership and affil?i?a?tion with the Central Kansas Community Foundation, based in Newton.

With the signing, Goessel Community Foundation became ?official,? according to Cindy Wiens, chair of the GCF board of directors.

?The signing of the documents really was the beginning of it,? she said. ?The only thing left for us at this point is completing our own internal policies, which I expect will be done at our next meeting.?

CKCF sees as part of its mission helping communities like Goessel establish foundations. In this county, Peabody, Hillsboro and Florence had already done so.

Statewide, there are more than 70 community foundations in the CKCF target area of Butler, Harvey, Marion, McPher?son and Sedgwick counties.

Sandra Fruit, CKCF executive director, said she is optimistic about the potential these cities have for creating lasting endowments to help preserve their vitality for years to come.

?These partnerships create an opportunity to educate citizens across central Kansas about the positive impact of philanthropy and charitable giving,? Fruit said.

?Helping to strengthen the smaller communities like Goessel by teaching them how to build local endowments is an essential part of our mission,? she added. ?There is something to be said for the value of keeping their money in their home community.?

Wiens said, ?I?m very proud of what?s happened here,? but admitted it took a while for the idea to sink in after Fruit made the initial contact with Goessel mayor Peggy Jay.

?It sounded like a great idea, but I didn?t understand what the details were and what that meant for our community,? Wiens said.

?Now, of course, I understand better that by Central Kansas Community Foundation doing this, they are supporting the small neighboring communities in a really positive way by taking a lot of the burden of starting a foundation off of the small communities.?

Wiens, who is familiar with philanthropy and estate planning through her work as an attorney in Newton, said because of its partnership with CKCF, the Goessel Com?munity Foundation doesn?t have to go through all of the expense and paperwork of establishing non-profit status on its own.

?They take care of that, and they take care of all of the accounting that goes on behind the scene,? Wiens said.

She added that she got excited about the idea of forming a local foundation once she understood the arrangement with CKCF.

?The main idea is being able to preserve our community?s wealth and keep it right here at home,? Wiens said. ?All funds donated to the Goessel Com?munity Foundation stay right here in Goessel and support our community instead of leaving the small communities, which seems to be the trend.

?The wealth that is in these small communities needs a way to stay here, and by having a local foundation, I think we provide a vehicle for that.?

Joining Wiens on the GCF board are Myron Schmidt (vice chair), Anita Goertzen (secretary-treasurer), Karen Dalke, Patsy Duerksen, Jay, John Fast and Linda Peters.

Wiens said the board has talked about an initial fundraising goal of $10,000, but the plan for raising those funds is still being developed. As a gesture of support, the city of Goessel has already committed to contribute a $4,000 matching grant.

?I know some anonymous gifts are already coming in to help match that grant,? Wiens said. ?I feel like we?re really getting off the ground here.

?The initial plan is to accumulate a base from which you operate,? she added. ?Then we?ll begin with small donations to existing non-profit organizations that are here in our community.?

Educating the public about the potential good the foundation offers the community is on the board?s agenda, and has already begun in a low-key way.

?There were a couple of community school meetings where we tried to introduce the concept to the community because the community was already gathered to talk about school issues,? Wiens said.

?I know word is getting out there because we have a couple of checks waiting for an account to be officially opened with a local bank,? she added. ?Things can really start accelerating as people realize the foundation is here to stay and estate planning takes place.?

Anyone interested in learning more about contributing to the Goessel Com?munity Foundation can write, or send checks, to P.O. Box 244, Goessel, or call Anita Goertzen at the city office number, 620-367-8111.

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