After 10 years in existence, the Leave a Legacy Foundation (LLF) has established an endowment fund at the Western Kansas Community Foundation (WCKF).

The endowment will be used to help LLF generate income as it continues to strengthen the resources to fight cancer in southwest Kansas.

An endowment fund is typically set up to produce income for charitable purposes, said Conny Bogaard, executive director of WKCF. She added that it is a big step in an organization’s life cycle because it allows an agency to transfer a portion of its assets to a community foundation for investment.

The agency benefits from the expertise of the community foundation in long-term management of assets, she said. The foundation can also accept many types of gifts, including material contributions that aren’t accepted by the agency.

LLF was created by a group of friends in memory of Laura Kleysteuber, who died of brain cancer at age 30.

As Paige Kraus, one of 12 founding members explains, “After creating the foundation in Laura’s memory, we soon realized that everyone has a ‘Laura’ in their life — a mother, brother, father, grandmother or friend who is battling cancer — and unfortunately, the needs to support cancer patients continue to grow. As we all get older, we realize the importance of creating a fund that can continue our mission for generations to come.”

LLF may be best known for its popular Legacy 5K/10K Run held the first Saturday of October. It draws more than 600 people each year, and proceeds from the run allow LLF to pay for St. Catherine Hospital’s membership in the Midwest Cancer Alliance, which gives Heartland Cancer Center patients the opportunity to participate in Phase III clinical trials in Garden City.

In addition to creating the endowment fund, LLF also contributed $10,000 to the purchase of the 3D mammography machine to give women in southwest Kansas better access to good breast care.

LLF has raised more than $300,000 in the last 10 years. With the money, LLF provides two free cancer screenings each year and fills a fridge at the cancer center with bottled water and snacks for patients, families and staff.

Once a month, LLF gives “Laura’s Touches,” — gifts that include gas cards, movie tickets and gift cards — to patients on chemotherapy or radiation at Heartland Cancer Center. Most recently, LLF started Coffee with Caregivers, a group that meets once a month at Patrick Dugan’s Coffee House to support those caring for loved ones fighting cancer.

Staff at WKCF welcome visits with donors and those interested in contributing to LLF’s fund. Call (620) 271-9484, or visit the WCKF office at 402 N. Main St.


Contact Mark Minton at