History

Our History
The Foundation was established by a committed group of individuals who wanted to create 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 that provides support for Foundation operations. There were more than 100 Founding Donors.

The first executive director was hired in 2000. Today, the Foundation has six 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 a fruitful one. Some of our grant programs include the Youth GrantMaker’s Council, Leadership Salina (in partnership with the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce), Youth Baseball, 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.