Palco, Kansas Launches New Community Website

May 21, 2015: Palco, Kansas has launched a new community website on LoveSmallTownAmerica.com, an online network for small towns, at: http://lovesmalltownamerica.com/palcoks.php

Love Small Town America provides another powerful tool for Palco to recruit new residents by providing a package of webpages to establish a community portal on www.LoveSmallTownAmerica.com. This opens the door for other community attractions, including businesses, churches, schools, organizations, and more, to have a web presence as well.

Palco’s new website features community information, a community calendar, photo gallery, business pages, job listings, real estate listings, and more. Continue reading

Frontier Communications, DISH, CoBank Team up to Support Revitalization of Small Cities with America’s Best Communities Contest

This opportunity came to our inbox and we wanted to share it with all of our great small town communities! Does your community have what it takes to be named one of Frontier Communications’ “America’s Best Communities”? There are big prize dollars for the communities whose proposals help small towns in America thrive.

More than $10 million dedicated to support innovation and growth
in 50 rural communities over three years. Frontier, DISH, CoBank challenge communities across America to submit and implement
their best plans for future growth and prosperity. Unique financial rewards, support network for small communities to collaborate, initiate change for long-term sustainability.

Continue reading

Blue Skyways Shutting Down June 30, 2014

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For more than 250 Kansas communities, Blue Skyways has been an online home. The website is a service of the State Library of Kansas and has served as a hub for resources about Kansas communities, heritage, government, and libraries. Now, Blue Skyways is shutting down.

The Blue Skyways web service will end as of June 30, 2014, citing the state of the State Library budget as the primary cause. We received the following announcement and request to spread the word to communities who may have benefitted from Blue Skyways in the past.

“While Skyways has been a highly successful and beneficial service in its day, with the widespread availability today of affordable, functional web hosting options, it is no longer central to our mission.

State Library and our host KU Medical Center’s Internet Development Unit will be working together to develop a plan for notifying account holders, and identifying ways to facilitate migrating sites and content where the owner wishes to do so.”

Questions? Contact:

Jeff Hixon
Director
Statewide Services
State Library of Kansas
300 SW Tenth Ave | Rm 312-N
Topeka KS 66612·1593
785·296·3154  | 800·432·3919
785·368·7291  FAX

We are proud to offer communities an affordable alternative with even more benefits than Blue Skyways. To begin migrating your Blue Skyways website content to a new home on LoveSmallTownAmerica.com, contact us today.

Luke Mahin, Sales 

E-mail: Luke@LoveSmallTownAmerica.com

Phone: 785-374-3067

About Love Small Town America: 

Love Small Town America, Inc. is a Grainfield, Kansas based online network for small towns founded by Nicole Godek providing full-service online solutions for small towns to get their town, local businesses, real estate offerings, events calendar, and more online and to promote their needs and assets while also building an international network that members can leverage to reach their goals.  Love Small Town America provides professional and innovative webpage design, content writing, webpage updates, website marketing, web hosting, website maintenance, SEO, website renovations, and social media advertising for members. All-inclusive webpage packages start at $225 annually. For more information, visit www.LoveSmallTownAmerica.com

Eight Kansas ROZ Communities Awarded Scholarships by the Kansas Department of Commerce to Create Websites

It’s here! It’s here! The day has finally arrived when we can share with you the new communities that will be joining Love Small Town America as a result of the Rural Opportunity Zone website scholarships! Keep reading for the full text of our news release!

Eight Kansas ROZ Communities Awarded Scholarships by the Kansas Department of Commerce to Create Websites

Grainfield, Kansas, June 24, 2013 — Love Small Town America, Inc., an online network for small towns, announces eight Rural Opportunity Zone communities were awarded website scholarships by the Kansas Department of Commerce (KDOC). The KDOC sponsored a limited number of scholarships that pay for ROZ community webpages on www.LoveSmallTownAmerica.com and membership in the Love Small Town America network. Four counties and four cities in Kansas were awarded website scholarships. Counties: Ness County, Republic County, Sheridan County, and Smith County. Cities: Bird City, Courtland, Hoxie, and Lebanon.

All eight of the selected communities participate in the Kansas Rural Opportunity Zone program. The website scholarship awards were made by the Kansas Department of Commerce after a competitive application process.

“In the past, our community has not had a strong online presence or a central location for community members to find community information. That is what we hope our Love Small Town America sites will become for our community. Our goal was to create a sustainable website that the community interacts with and we are excited to see how it will grow through Love Small Town America,” said Julianne Shoup, Sheridan County K-State Extension Agent.

Webpages for Hoxie and Sheridan County are already online. The other six community webpages will be online during summer 2013. These eight ROZ communities join eight other Kansas communities on the Love Small Town America network, which is expanding nationwide.

“I’m ecstatic to bring eight fellow ROZ communities to Love Small Town America. This not only means providing a place for their residents and nearby townspeople to go to find information about events and businesses, but also provides more options for the audience that visits the Love Small Town America site looking for a small town to settle in or visit,” said Nicole Godek, LSTA CEO.

The scholarship is designed to provide another powerful tool for ROZ communities to recruit new residents by providing a package of webpages to establish a community portal on www.LoveSmallTownAmerica.com. This opens the door for other community attractions, including businesses, churches, schools, organizations, and more, to have a web presence as well.

“The Smith County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) does not have a website and we are so grateful for the opportunity to more widely advertise the events and places of interest throughout Smith County. Many already know of the great hunting and fishing, but there are lesser-known places of interest that have not gotten recognition before. We want to get the word out that it’s easy to come and experience Smith County, Kansas,” said Cindy Stones, Smith County CVB member.

Love Small Town America is dedicated to providing small towns with an affordable, comprehensive online presence and access to a national network of small town promotional opportunities and resources. Love Small Town America integrates a comprehensive website package with free advertising for members and rich features like job listings, a community calendar, and a photo gallery.

“As our network continues to grow, so do the opportunities and the future for our small towns and counties. It’s a win-win situation in my eyes. Plus, I’m excited to utilize the site to see what events my family can venture to. I’ve always said every small town has a treasure, whether it’s a unique business, fun event or great restaurant. Now it’ll be easy to find them!” said Godek.

Love Small Town America’s mission and experience with web design spurred a partnership with the Kansas Department of Commerce in order to offer more communities a resource to make their efforts to grow successful.

For more information about joining Love Small Town America, contact:

   Luke Mahin, Sales

E-mail: Luke@LoveSmallTownAmerica.com

Phone: 785-374-3067

About Love Small Town America:

Love Small Town America, Inc. is a Grainfield, Kansas based online network for small towns founded by Nicole Godek providing full-service online solutions for small towns to get their town, local businesses, real estate offerings, events calendar, and more online and to promote their needs and assets while also building an international network that members can leverage to reach their goals.  Love Small Town America provides professional and innovative webpage design, content writing, webpage updates, website marketing, web hosting, website maintenance, SEO, website renovations, and social media advertising for members. All-inclusive webpage packages start at $225 annually. For more information, visit www.LoveSmallTownAmerica.com.

About Nicole Godek:

Nicole Godek graduated from Kansas State with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic design. Since then Nicole has worked as a designer at large and small firms across the country before founding her own graphic and web design business, StirStick Studio. As CEO and founder for Love Small Town America, Nicole oversees a team of professionals located across the Midwest as she pursues the mission of bringing small town America online and into the future. Love Small Town America assists small communities, businesses, and organizations by integrating cutting edge web programming with modern marketing concepts to make professional web pages affordable for small towns and increasing their reach through the power of the Love Small Town America network.

Help Bart and Rorie Discover the Best of Small Town America

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Bart Russell was called the “voice of small town America” by none other than Ronald Reagan. So, why does he need your help?

After retiring last year from a career in small town advocacy, Russell is taking his passion for small towns in a new direction – quite possibly, in your direction.

As leader of the municipal advocacy group Connecticut Council of Small Towns (COST), Russell served for 18 years bringing small town issues to prominence. During that time, he also served as CEO of the National Association of Towns and president of its National Center for Small Communities.

Now, Russell is taking politics out of the equation and promising to shine a light on the 144 million small town residents in America and what they have to offer as part of a venture he calls “Everything Small Town.”

The mission: Everything Small Town™ shines a global spotlight on promising projects and programs designed to make America’s 30,000, plus smaller communities better places in which to live, work and do business.

Now, Everything Small Town™ is hitting the road for its inaugural “Discover Small Town America” tour this June. They’ll be heading to the west coast taking Route 40 to SoCal for 4th of July weekend and returning via Route 70 to the east coast in late July.

In between, they’ll be soaking up as much of small town America as they can.

Says Russell, “We’ve received invitations from wonderful people to check out wonderful towns, like Cloudcroft and Ruidoso, NM, Greenville and Dresden OH, Ligonier, IN, Grainfield and other [KS] towns. Some of you have said you’ll get back with your recommendations for experiencing the best of small town America on byways close to I-40 and I-70 in Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana and Ohio. WE CAN’T WAIT TO HEAR FROM YOU…”

We here at Love Small Town America would love to show them what OUR great small towns have to offer. Have an idea on where Bart and Rorie Russell should stop on their Everything Small Town journey? Let them know, via their Facebook page.

“We’re really looking forward to meeting some new friends, visiting their hometowns and shining the spotlight on some amazing people and places. Thanks for all the offers of hospitality you’ve extended!” says Russell.

“We would love to have your thoughts, recommendations and your “likes” at Everything Small Town™.”

Let’s show Everything Small Town some “LOVE”…Small Town America, that is!

www.BartonRussell.com
www.facebook.com/EverythingSmallTown

RedTire – Matching Businesses and Business Owners

RedTire is a new program from the KU School of Business that seeks to Redefine Retirement for business owners in rural Kansas communities.

At Love Small Town America, we consider ourselves matchmakers of a sort. We match businesses with employees via our job listings, we match potential citizens with new hometowns, and we match tourists with communities full of attractions that suit them to a tee. So, we were interested to learn of another matchmaking enterprise in our home state of Kansas.

When small town business owners age, they often shut the doors, taking with them the assets, experience, and wealth that business represented in the community. There are many reasons why this happens – but a lot of it comes down to basic economics – supply and demand. A new program called RedTire has been launched by the University of Kansas to offer one possible solution.

The RedTire program promotes their service as allowing business owners to redefine their retirement. The program matches rural business owners seeking an exit strategy with graduates from Kansas universities.

Candidates from both sides – businesses and potential successors – apply through the RedTire website or are referred to the program by third parties.

Ideally, the end result will be contract negotiations between successors and current owners to purchase existing businesses or make other arrangements to transition ownership.

The program is free and aims to help Kansas communities create transition opportunities to keep businesses alive and thriving. RedTire is new, so there aren’t any results to share, but there are an increasing number of attempts across the country to address this issue. We’ll be watching to see how RedTire progresses – so check back for an update!

We can’t help but think what an interesting complement this program – or something like it – provides for the Rural Opportunity Zone program. Theoretically, someone could move to a ROZ county, gaining access to tax credits and tuition reimbursement and possibly also create their own job by buying a business by engaging with RedTire – making the kinds of initiatives that are popping up across the state even more powerful. The future is taking shape before our eyes and there are definitely some interesting possibilities on the horizon.

What do you think? Is RedTire the kind of program that could make a difference?

Interested in applying?

RedTire Contact Information:

Wally Meyer
Lawrence, Kansas 66045
(785) 864-7583
wmeyerjr@ku.edu

Charlotte Tritch
Lawrence, Kansas 66045
(785) 864-7563
ctritch@ku.edu

Cruise, Shoes & Barbecues – A Small Town Celebration Worth Remembering

Classic cars are the "Cruise" part of the Cruise, Shoes & BBQs fundraiser in Grainfield, KS. The car show draws participants from all around.

This post is brought to you by Nicole Godek, CEO and Founder of Love Small Town America. 

My husband has a very creative mind. The ideas he comes up with typically don’t pan out, but it’s always entertaining to hear what he’s thinking. On occasion, one of his ideas works really well, however. Cruise, Shoes & BBQs is one of them.

Living in Grainfield, we often hear people say, “Remember Ag Days? They were so fun!” Fair-style rides. Parades and marching bands. Vendors in the park. Tons of people coming from all over. The image of Ag Days is still fresh in my mind. As I shared memories of that event with Dan, the wheels started turning on how to bring people to Grainfield again. Dan’s passion for BBQ seemed like an easy start. Then we added the rhyming words “Cruise” and “Shoes”. And Cruise, Shoes & BBQs was born.

Some of the volunteers behind the Cruise, Shoes and BBQs fundraiser in Grainfield, KS.

The first year Grainfield’s Harvest Market hosted the event with help from family and friends. The response was amazing! But we needed more hands to grow it. So, the Grainfield Community Development Committee took over and Cruise, Shoes & BBQs will celebrate 5 years next Memorial Day weekend!

This year marked Cruise, Shoes & BBQs’ 4th anniversary. The fundraiser is always hosted over Memorial Day weekend and this year, the two days were packed with entertainment. Friday evening featured a social in the park, vending from the BBQ teams, and a live performance at the historic Opera House (hosted by the Lions Club & Opera House Committee).

Saturday started with cars, motorcycles and a boat cruising in for the namesake Car Show. The barbecue competition is a big part of the weekend, and the aroma of BBQ in the air easily draws in a crowd! Horseshoes began around 10 A.M. on Saturday as did the kids’ activities.

Smoke pours out of the competitors' area where teams craft their best barbecue entries to be judged at the annual BBQ competition.

After a full day of fun, the barbecue competition awards presentation began at 3 P.M. with the buffet at 4:30 P.M. The buffet draws a big crowd since everyone wants to sample the BBQ teams’ pork and brisket. Then we rounded out the day with a dance. This year we offered a live performance from Uncle Turtle and the Live Action (a Gove County favorite) and it was a big hit.

A clown was on hand as part of the kids' activities at the annual Memorial Day weekend fundraiser. The clown was such a hit, he has already been booked for next year's event!

If we could have picked the worst day out of the year for weather, I think we did. There are only so many things you can plan ahead for and weather is not one of them. But despite the 50mph gusts and 100 degree temperature, everyone had a positive attitude. We are grateful that Marvin Beougher let us move the live music and dance into the American Legion. That saved us…and the many people that stuck around after the buffet.

Festivities carried on long into the night after the BBQ competition with a dance. The Grainfield American Legion generously allowed the event to move inside due to high winds. What a wonderful show of community support and fellowship!

My favorite part of the event is probably seeing so many people in Grainfield having a great time. We’re starting to make a name for ourselves and see people return year after year. It reminds me of “Cheers” when everyone yelled “Norm!” It’s those personal relationships that mean the most.

This year we added a clown and the kids loved him! He was amazing and his wife painted some incredible face art. (We’ve already booked them for next year!) We’re making improvements for next year, hoping to make it a Saturday/Sunday event instead of Friday/Saturday. We lose a lot of people to the high school state track meet (helpers and attendees) so we’re hoping to gain them back. Plus, by moving the event to Saturday/Sunday, BBQ teams and volunteers won’t have to take off work Friday.

An authentic native American tipi was on display during this year's 4th annual Cruise, Shoes & BBQs fundraiser in Grainfield, KS, withstanding high temperatures and even higher wind gusts.

I think people should come out to our event because you never know what you’re going to see in our small town. Last year we had a pig dancing on the dance floor. This year we had an authentic Tipi in the park (that withstood the wind!). Who knows what you’ll see next year. But guaranteed you’ll have a great time. And 40 years from now, hopefully we’ll hear people say, “Remember Cruise, Shoes & BBQs? That was so fun!”

-Nicole

 

We are always growing our network of small towns, organizations, and businesses. If you’re interested in joining Love Small Town America and getting an affordable home on our small town network, e-mail us to get started or learn more here

Walking a Path Toward a Healthier Future

Love Small Town America supports communities fighting cancer.

This year's Walk-A-Thon For Health currently seeking sponsors for August 2012 event.

One of the things that we’re so proud to share with small towns is a strong sense of community spirit and mutual support, through the good times and the bad. Every year, millions of Americans struggle with cancer. Associated costs for treatment, like hospital stays, transportation, and other costs can become nearly as overwhelming as the illness itself.

Walk-A-Thon for health provides a path to support neighbors with cancer, raising funds Saturday August 11, 2012 to support Gove and Trego County residents who have been diagnosed with cancer.

The Walk-A-Thon will take place Saturday August 11, 2012 from 5:30 PM until 11:30 PM. The Walk-A-Thon is currently seeking sponsors for the event. In 2011, the charity fundraiser was able to raise more than $33,000 that stayed locally to help individuals battling cancer and was able to raise another $10,000 that went to fund cancer charities.

This year, the Walk-A-Thon for health plans to donate proceeds to Walk-A-Thon for Health cancer patients, Ronald McDonald/Other Designated Hospital Stays, KU Med-Center cancer research, KU Med Center heart research, Special Olympics (local people), Child Passenger Safety (local children).

Cash donations or in-kind donations to support the 2012 Walk-A-Thon for health are appreciated. Contact Kay Goetz for more information.

 

Kay Goetz

Gove County Corporate Chairman

5042 E. Road 130 S

Park, Kansas 67751

(785) 673 – 4304

Love Small Town America – Weekend Edition (5/18-5/20/2012)

What’s going on in small town America this weekend? We’ve pulled a few events from our handy community event calendar so you can see what’s going on this weekend in your great small town – or one a few miles down the round.

Friday May 18

Happy Hour at Mainstreet Dugout (Grainfield, KS)

Start your weekend right! Bring in your Mainstreet Dugout refillable cup from 2:00-4:00 PM and get a refill for only $1 plus tax.

 

Friday May 18-Sunday May 20

Paint Sale at Grinnell Farm and Home (Grinnell, KS)

Dig a discount on a DIY weekend with a coupon for 10% off paint at Grinnell Farm and Home. The limit is 5 gallons – so you’ll still have time to relax once you get a coat on the walls!

 

Saturday May 19

Annual Spring Cleanup (Quinter, KS)

 

Sunday May 20

2-Man Scramble (Quinter, KS)

It’s a perfect day to spend on the greens at the 2-Man Scramble starting at 1 PM at the Quinter Golf Course.

 

Sunday May 20

Baseball and Softball Practices (Grainfield, KS)

Head out to Beougher Ball Field from 3:00-5:00 PM for a leisurely afternoon watching America’s pastime.

 

Sunday May 20

Bingo (Grainfield, KS)

Round out your weekend with bingo at Grainfield’s American Legion, beginning at 7:00 PM.

How will you show your small town love this weekend? Share your plans with us!

Don’t see the destination you had in mind? We are always growing our network of small towns, organizations, and businesses. If you’re interested in joining Love Small Town America and getting an affordable home on our small town network, e-mail us to get started or learn more here

 

Possible Funding Sources for Schools, Groups, Others – Spring 2012 Deadlines

Funding is an issue that everyone struggles with – whether you are a small business, an entrepreneur just diving into your first startup, or whether you operate a non-profit organization or project. Small businesses, organizations, and schools are some of the primary groups we support on Love Small Town America.

The Kansas Association of Community Foundations compiled this excellent list of current funding opportunities that we knew you would find useful. Many of these opportunities are for grants and scholarships, so they are worth checking into! Thanks to our friends at the Kansas Association of Community Foundations for sharing and for allowing us to pass this on to you. Most of the deadlines for these opportunities fall in the next few weeks, so move quickly on those applications!

The Department of Justice is offering funds to nonprofits, public agencies, states, Indian Tribes, and local governments for projects designed to address and prevent sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking in rural areas.  Deadline:  3/29/2012.  To apply, click here.

AARP Foundation has announced the Women’s Scholarship Program Call for Applicants.  The program provides funds to low-income women age 50 and older who are seeking new job skills, training and educational opportunities to support themselves and their families.  Deadline:  3/30/2012.  To learn more about this opportunity, click here.

HUD has announced the availability of grants for nonprofits to transform neighborhoods by investing in a wide array of infrastructure and other redevelopment activities.  Both planning grants and implementation grants are available from the Choice Neighborhood Initiative.  Deadline to apply:  4/10/2012.  To learn more about these grants and apply, click here.

 

US EPA Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants.  The US EPA is soliciting proposals from eligible entities, including non-profit organizations, to deliver environmental workforce development and job training programs that recruit, train, and place local, unemployed and under-employed residents with the skills needed to secure full-time employment in the environmental field, with a focus on solid and hazardous waste remediation, environmental health and safety, and wastewater-related training.

The total funding available under this competitive opportunity is approximately $2,800,000, subject to availability of funds, quality of proposals received, and other applicable considerations. EPA anticipates awarding approximately 14 environmental workforce development and job training cooperative agreements from this competitive opportunity.  Proposals are due by April 12, 2012.  For more details see: http://www.epa.gov/oswer/docs/grants/epa-oswer-oblr-12-03.pdf

Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance! With a theme of expanding CDFI coverage to underserved communities, the NEXT Awards celebrate our industry—its creativity, accomplishments, and enduring importance—by awarding high performing CDFIs with attractive grants and loan capital.  Aligned with the new theme, the program features new awards:

The NEXT Opportunity Award recognizes up to four CDFIs with compelling strategies for expanding product and geographic coverage that are ready to execute within six months of receiving an award. The total pool of $8.25 million includes $7.5 million in low-cost, long-term debt and $750,000 in unrestricted grant funding.

The NEXT Seed Capital Award offers a $100,000 unrestricted grant to a single CDFI with a promising idea for expanding geographic or product coverage that is still in development. The expansion strategy should be on track to implement within eighteen months of receiving an award.

In addition to continuing generous support from Wells Fargo and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Kresge Foundation is a major new partner.  The final deadline to submit an application is 5:00 PM EST on April 17, 2012.  Application guidelines, applications, and more information can be found at the new Wells Fargo NEXT Awards Web site.

The Department of Labor is offering grants to nonprofit and public agencies to improve the employability of young adult ex-offenders by providing skills training.  Deadline:  4/17/2012.  To learn more about this program, click here.

The Retirement Research Foundation is accepting applications from nonprofits for projects in aging designed to improve quality of life for older Americans.  Deadline:  5/1/2012.  Applicants are encouraged to discuss projects in advance of submitting a full proposal by calling (773) 714-8030 or emailing info@rrf.org.  For more information, click here.

State Farm Insurance Companies is offering funds for student-led service-learning projects that address environmental responsibility, community safety and natural disaster preparedness, financial literacy, access to higher education, or social health and wellness.  Deadline:  5/4/2012.  For eligibility and to apply, click here.

Mini Grant Program
Application deadline is July 15, 2012
 Mini-grants to rural schools. From National Rural Education Association

Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking Act Grants – Application deadline: Mar 29, 2012. Funding to prevent and reduce alcohol use among youth in communities throughout the United States.

Self Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) – Application deadline: Apr 30, 2012
Funding to be used to facilitate and encourage innovative homeownership opportunities.

American Legion Foundation Child Welfare Grants – Application deadline: Jul 15, 2012. Grants to benefit the children of America. 

Open Meadows Foundation – Application deadline: Aug 15, 2012. Grants for projects that are led by and benefit women and girls, particularly those from vulnerable communities.

Guaranteed Loans Under the Section 538 Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program (GRRHP) – Application deadline: Dec 30, 2012
Grants to increase the supply of affordable rural rental housing through the use of loan guarantees that encourage partnerships between the Agency, private lenders, and public agencies.

Libri Books for Children Program – Application deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.
Donates new, quality, hardcover children’s books for small, rural public libraries in the United States.

Rural and Low-Income School Program – Application deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.
Formula grants to State educational agencies (SEAs), which in turn award subgrants to eligible LEAs either competitively or on a formula basis.

Rural Transit Assistance Programs (RTAP) – Application deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.
Funding for training, technical assistance, and other support services for rural transit operators.

SBA Certified Development Company (504) Loan Program – Application deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.
Provides growing businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing for major fixed assets, such as land and buildings.

USDA Community Facilities Loan and Grant Program – Application deadline: Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

Funding to construct, enlarge, or improve essential community facilities for health care, public safety, and public services in rural areas.

Kansas Association of Community Foundations

Have you ever applied for a grant to fund your project, organization, or business? We’d love to know if any of these are helpful to you. Please share your thoughts in the comments!