News Release

Four Organizations receive Community Impact Award

HAYS, Kan.— The Heartland Community Foundation honored four organizations with a Community Impact award for outstanding service to others, commitment to individuals served, leadership within the Heartland community, and exceptional innovation during 2022; all of which contributed to a more positive impact in the area. Organizations received a certificate and gift to treat staff or volunteers.

This year’s honorees are:

Victoria Community Coalition in Victoria, for their continued efforts to restore the former St. John’s Rest Home. During the past year, they completed a community housing assessment, finalized architectural plans for the building to bring moderate housing, childcare, and a community space to Victoria, secured nonprofit status and transferred ownership of the building to the organization, collaborated with the Ellis County Historical Society for a museum space, applied for multiple statewide grants, and began fundraising. They have kept momentum and enthusiasm for the project moving forward.

The Well – Center of Hope in WaKeeney, for the debut of the community coffee shop with a focus on mental health access and community connectedness. The Well officially opened in November 2022, but the project has been years in development through the WaKeeney Church of God. Organizers wanted a place that would provide better access to counselors and mental health services and the opportunity for dialogue. Counselors hold monthly walk-in hours at The Well for community members to stop in and visit.

USD 270, The Nest Childcare Center in Plainville. USD 270 has been a leader in the region in stepping up to actively address a community’s childcare needs. The school district recognized the gap in the availability of childcare both for families in Plainville and school staff. During 2022, they opened The Nest, two annex buildings to house daycare and preschool, serving more than 2 dozen children. Nest staff are employed by the school district. The School District was able to apply for and receive grant dollars from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation for the project.

RoCo Arts Council – Stockton murals. The development of a community arts group in Rooks County resurged in 2021, under the name RoCo Arts Council, with an eye on murals for Rooks County, starting with Stockton. In 2022, two of their first projects became realities. First, a Stockton postcard-style mural was commissioned and completed at a busy intersection in Stockton during the fall of 2022. Second, hundreds of volunteers began the tedious process of painting barn quilt squares to represent the community’s heritage and history. The installation of those squares began in 2022 overlooking City Park, with a goal of being the largest barn quilt mural in the world. The group is working on phase 2 and still has more squares to paint.

The Heartland Community Foundation proudly granted funds to all four groups for their projects. The Victoria Community Coalition received $5,000 for architectural services. $11,925 was granted to The Well for supplies and equipment. For furnishings and supplies, USD 270 received $10,041. RoCo Arts Council was granted $5,000 for supplies to create two murals.