WKCF opens grant season

WKCF release

As of Feb. 1, 2021, the Western Kansas Community Foundation (WKCF) has resumed accepting applications for urgent needs grants in response to the continuing COVID-19 conditions in southwest Kansas. Grants will be made to eligible nonprofits from the Urgent Needs Fund with the Foundation, which was established by local contributors in 2020 to address the increasing needs of nonprofits during the crisis. Urgent Needs grants will be made on a rolling basis and continue while funds last.

“In 2020, through contributions from generous donors, as well as partnerships with the Finnup Foundation and Finney County United Way, over $97,000 in Urgent Needs funding was granted to area nonprofits,”  Stacie Hahn, WKCF’s Program & Marketing Director, said. “Through additional funding, we are excited that the Foundation is able to continue providing relief grants in 2021, while the needs surrounding the virus are still evident in our community.”

Nonprofits are encouraged to submit their grant applications online through the WKCF website at wkcf.org. Guidelines for the Urgent Needs grants are similar to the guidelines that were originally established in 2020, with some minor adjustments, including how frequently applications will be reviewed and maximum funding limits for applying organizations. Those guidelines can be found on the WKCF website with the grant application.   

Additionally, the WKCF is gearing up for a new year of regular cycle grant applications and boasts a new grant opportunity to add to their ranks. In 2020, the WKCF became the sole trustee for both the Ruth V. Gordanier and the Roy P. Mersereau trusts. Under the administration of prior trustees, the two trusts previously made grant awards at the end of each year, and often to recurring grantees. 

With the Foundation, that process changes to a competitive grant process, with awards being made at the beginning of the year. Having reached maturity with the Foundation, those trusts will now begin to provide funding for certain operation-type expenses for the awarded applicants. The Gordanier and Mersereau Grant is the only grant process of the Foundation that currently funds operating expenses.        

The Foundation is also currently accepting applications for the annual Women of Purpose grant award. The Women of Purpose fund provides grants for programs addressing women’s needs. The Women of Purpose have identified the importance of numerous issues that impact women as the grant focal point for the 2021 grant. This year’s grant focus is “Empowered Women Empower Women,” encouraging applications for any programs addressing women’s causes, including but not limited to those relating to women’s health, education, finances, or employment.  

Applicants are encouraged to demonstrate collaboration among agencies to increase the scope and impact of the work, invest matching funds, provide a plan to sustain the program past the grant year, or support work in several communities and counties served by the Women of Purpose in their applications.

Because Urgent Needs grants will be reviewed on a rolling basis, Urgent Needs applications have no set application deadline. However, other grant applications with the Foundation have set application deadlines. Applications for the Gordanier & Mersereau grants, as well as the Women of Purpose grant are due no later than 5 p.m. on March 1. Organizations wishing to apply to the other regular cycle grants have three opportunities each year to do so, with application deadlines of 5 p.m. on March 1, July 1, and Nov. 1.

To learn more about the grant application process and making donations to the Urgent Needs Fund, or other funds providing for these grants, please visit the WKCF website at www.wkcf.org, or call at 620-271-9484.