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

Community foundation accepting fall grant applications

Community foundation accepting fall grant applications SMITH CENTER, Kan.—The Smith County Community Foundation is now accepting applications for fall grants. Online applications open September 15 are due Sunday, November 15, 2020. Last fall, the Smith County Community Foundation awarded funds to purchase new flags as well as upgrading to spinning flag poles downtown for special events and holidays. "Without the grant we would not have been able to replace the 46 poles, 20 American flags and the 10 welcome flags for our community and guests to enjoy over many more years. These flags remind us of our freedom, patriotism for our City, State and Nation," said grantee Diane Peterson. "As a community we like[...]

Smith County Community Foundation awards $61,000 in spring grants

Smith County Community Foundation awards $61,000 in spring grants SMITH CENTER, Kan.— During its spring grant cycle, the Smith County Community Foundation awarded over $61,000 to 11 projects throughout the Smith County area. The following organizations received funding: USD 237 - Smith Center Junior-Senior High School Library, $15,000 to upgrade the active learning space in the library.West Smith County Recreation Commission, $15,000 to replace basketball and football scoreboards at the high school.Smith County Child Development Center Inc., $12,000 for renovation materials for the Bright Beginnings Child Development Center building.Gaylord Cemetery, $7,000 to build a directory building for the cemetery.City of Lebanon, $4,500 to purchase a generator for the community center.Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas, $2,471[...]