About Us

Our Mission

Our mission is to meet charitable community needs through leadership, grants and donor services.
The Foundation achieves its mission by.:

  • Building permanent endowments which benefit local communities;
  • Inspiring and enabling donors to fulfill their charitable desires;
  • Facilitating prudent management and care of funds;
  • Increasing the capacity of nonprofit organizations to fulfill their individual missions;
  • Advocating for issues which promote community philanthropy;
  • Facilitating grants, awards, and scholarships.

Our History

The Foundation was established by a committed group of individuals who wanted to create a vehicle that would promote giving in our community. In 1999, attorney Peter L. Peterson wrote a white paper outlining a plan to establish a community foundation in Salina. Ten individuals formed a committee to study the issue. They determined they wanted to move forward, recruited a board, and borrowed money from within the board to file the paperwork to create the nonprofit corporation.

The Foundation’s name was chosen with care to reflect a desire not to limit the scope of its work within the boundaries of any one city or county. Rather, the Foundation recognizes that our community is a growing, changing one, and boundaries only limit our potential. Donors come primarily from central Kansas, but could come from anywhere. Likewise, grant recipients may be right next door or out of state.

A founding donor campaign was initiated and completed within a year. Board members secured $2.9 million in gifts and pledges to form an administrative endowment to provide support for Foundation operations. There were more than 100 Founding Donors.

The first executive director was hired in 2000. Today, the Foundation has five staff members in the Salina office, and one in our Russell office.

The first Foundation Board set a goal to have $10 million in assets in 10 years. On the Foundation’s 10th anniversary, GSCF had assets of more than $50 million and had made cumulative grants of more than $20 million!

From the start, the Foundation served as a platform for regional affiliate foundations. The first affiliate, Smoky Hills Charitable Foundation (serving Ellsworth County) was established in 2000. Additional affiliates were added in 2001, 2002 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013. In all, GSCF hosts twelve regional affiliate foundations and serves most of north central Kansas.

The Foundation story is long and fruitful. Programs include the Youth GrantMaker’s Council, A Young Donor Circle, a partnership with the Chamber of Commerce to offer Leadership Salina, Women Helping Women and annual Elementary School Marathons. In addition, the Foundation offers annual education programs for nonprofit organizations and professional advisors.

View this timeline to see brief snippets of the Foundation’s growth over time.

Recent News

Smith County Community Foundation awards $50,000 in fall grants

  The Smith County Community Foundation recently awarded over $50,000 to area organizations during its fall grant cycle. Projects were funded through the Dane G. Hansen Community Grant Fund, the Smith County Action Fund, the Kansas Health Foundation Fund for Smith County and the Health Needs for Smith County Fund. Recipients include: USD 237, $10,000 to purchase Chromebooks for Smith Center Elementary. Smith County Child Development Center Inc., $7,000 for construction grade drawings for the new facility construction project. Kensington Lion's Club, $7,000 to purchase a vision screener to screen students in the county schools and preschools for vision problems. Smith County[...]

Year-End Giving Guidelines

Here are some tips for completing your 2018 gifts to the Foundation before the end of the year. If you have any questions about year-end giving, contact Susan Weis, Director of Finance, at 785-823-1800 or susanweis@gscf.org. To Make Your Gift by Check: Date your check on or before December 31, 2018. Mail via U.S. Postal Service with a postmark on or before December 31. All checks should be mailed, shipped or hand delivered to: Smith County Community Foundation, 219 S. Main, P.O. Box 116, Smith Center, KS 66967 Note: Checks that are mailed through the U.S. Postal service with a postmark[...]