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

Deadline Nearing for IRA Charitable Contributions

If you are 70½ years old or older, you can make an impact on your favorite charity by making a gift from your IRA to a fund at the community foundation. This is an easy and effective way to make a gift that helps satisfy your required minimum distribution, while also reducing your taxable income. Who can take advantage of the IRA charitable rollover provision? If you have an IRA and are 70½ or older, you and your spouse (each) can take a tax-free charitable distribution from your IRA.Who can receive the gift? The IRA must be gifted directly to[...]

Smith County Community Foundation accepting Fall 2019 grant applications

SMITH CENTER, Kan.—The Smith County Community Foundation is now accepting applications for fall grants. Online applications are due Friday, November 15, 2019. Last fall, a community foundation grant helped pay for construction-grade drawings of a new Smith County Child Development Center. These drawings helped increase awareness and generate support for the project, which gained momentum through the Strategic Doing process. The center aims to provide consistent child care for the local workforce and is projected to have the capacity to care for 50 children, including the after-school program. “Without this funding, we would not have been able to move forward and get[...]