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 spring grants

The Smith County Community Foundation awarded $42,500 to 14 charitable projects throughout the county during its spring grant cycle. Projects were funded through the Dane G. Hansen Community Grant Fund. Recipients include: ·         City of Lebanon, $10,000 to purchase an emergency stand-by generator for the community center. ·         St. Mary's Catholic Church, $5,000 for kitchen and bathroom updates to the parish hall. ·         SunPorch of Smith County, $4,400 to purchase hair salon equipment and vacuums for the facility. ·         Gaylord Housing Authority, $3,750 to help with window replacements for two family apartments. ·         City of Lebanon, $3,000 to update flooring in the community library. ·         USD 110,[...]

Community foundation accepting spring grant applications

The Smith County Community Foundation is accepting applications for spring grants. Online applications open Friday, February 15 and are due Monday, April 15, 2019. Over $50,000 in grants is available to charitable projects in Smith County through the following funds: Dane G. Hansen Community Grant Fund - available for programs and projects that address education, health care, community social services and security, conservation and environment, arts and culture, and community beautification.Smith County Action Fund – available for projects that improve the quality of life for Smith County residents. Grants are limited to communities in Smith County and will be awarded through a competitive application[...]