Meet Our Staff
"For nearly 15 years, the Heartland Community Foundation has the privilege of supporting the Ellis, Trego, and Rooks counties through thoughtful philanthropy and partnership with nonprofits. We are proud to assist individuals and businesses fulfill their charitable goals by establishing endowed funds. But the greatest gift is granting funds to charitable organizations and knowing that the community foundation will be here for generations. I welcome the opportunity to tell you more about the Heartland Community Foundation, our fund types, or our other services. Please contact me to learn more." -Sarah Meitner, Executive Director
Executive Director Sarah Meitner has a passion for storytelling, promoting nonprofit programs, and ensuring that the region is thriving in sustainable ways for generations to come. She began her career more than 20 years ago in business journalism working at major metro newspapers, but transitioned to copywriting and marketing, with an emphasis in nonprofit work and development. That career change allowed her and her family to return home to Kansas. Sarah continued to provide freelance and contract work to businesses and other organizations, while also serving in an advocacy role for disability rights groups. She helped lead development of the Hays Accessible Recreation Complex (ARC Park) and was appointed by Gov. Jeff Colyer to the Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities. She looks forward to working with the Heartland Community Foundation board members, donors, and community partners to grow the foundation and enhance Ellis, Trego, and Rooks counties. Sarah is married to Chad Meitner and they have five children.
Our Foundation is also supported by regional staff at GSCF.
President & Executive Director
Jessica joined the community foundation in 2010 and has served in many different roles, including affiliate and youth coordinator, grants and scholarships coordinator, and, now, president and executive director. Her experience has given her a thorough understanding of the community and helped develop strong relationships throughout the region.
Jessica grew up in Andover, Kansas, and received her B.S. degree at Kansas State University. She is married to husband, Aaron and mom to their sons Oliver and Jack. Her favorite part about the foundation is working with people and helping them make a difference.
Rita is a lifetime resident of Salina. Prior to joining GSCF in June of 2015, she worked in customer service and management for local Salina banks for 24 years, then spent nine years as the administrative assistant to the Executive VP/Provost at Kansas Wesleyan University. She and her husband Charles have two children and three grandchildren. She has been involved in Noon Network Ambucs for the past 20 years. Rita is a graduate of Brown Mackie College and is excited to be with the Greater Salina Community Foundation!
Director of Donor Services
Chris joined GSCF in February 2020. He was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas. After graduating from Kansas State University and earning his B.S. in Sociology, he earned his M.S. in Professional Leadership through Fort Hays State. In 2010, Chris got involved with coaching college women’s basketball. He worked at Colby Community College, Kansas Wesleyan, Portland State, and finished up at Brown Mackie College in 2016. Chris has most recently worked in sales with Alert360, a security system company in Wichita, and enjoyed working as a certified KSHSAA basketball official. He is currently an assistant boys basketball coach at Salina Central and enjoys serving at the Ark Church with his wife. Chris and his wife, Tawni, have two kids, Skylar and Cooper. He is excited to help make an impact through working with the team at GSCF and the people in the community.
Donor Services Coordinator
Jessica grew up in Salina and graduated from Salina South High School. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology with a minor in Business from Kansas State University. She has been a volunteer with the Love, Chloe Foundation for the past 13 years and previously worked as a Case Manager and Program Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Salina. Most recently, Jessica worked at Salina Regional Health Center as a member of the Physician Recruitment and Business Development team. Jessica and her husband, Matt, have four daughters, Emily, Grace, Katie and Olivia. They also have three spoiled dogs and a cat, Winston, Hazel, Harvey and Patrick. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys spending time with family and friends, kayaking, attending school activities, and volunteering. Jessica is excited to start her new role at the Greater Salina Community Foundation!
Director of Operations
Brandee grew up in Minneapolis, Kansas. After earning her Bachelor of Science from Kansas State University in Life Sciences, she lived in the Kansas City area for 14 years before returning to the region. She is married to her husband Brent, who is a local dentist, and is mom to their twins, Ava and Carter, and twin pups Duff and Dash. She worked in the healthcare field for almost 15 years before joining the Greater Salina Community Foundation in December 2016.
Director of Finance
Cole joined GSCF in August 2021. He is a Salina native who has returned home. Upon graduating from The University of Kansas with a degree in Economics, Cole worked at The Mortgage Company, a local Salina business, advancing to Chief Operating Officer. Most recently, he obtained a real estate license and was a realtor with the Keller Williams Integrity office in Lawrence. Cole is very appreciative of this special opportunity to re-connect with the Salina community and the surrounding area. He is excited to work with the GSCF staff and board to continue to provide and monitor solid and safe investments for the GSCF’s assets. Cole is looking forward to communicating with donors and prospective donors regarding the investment and spending policies of GSCF. In his free time, Cole enjoys hanging with family, watching the Kansas Jayhawks, and playing golf.
Shanna King joined GSCF in June 2022. She served as the Accounting Services Director to the Presbyterian Manor for 17.5 years prior to joining the GSCF team. She has been a Meals on Wheels volunteer to the Salina Community for the past 8 years. Shanna enjoys spending time with her family and grandchildren, hiking, camping, fitness and supporting the Kansas Jayhawks. She is looking forward to working with everyone on the GSCF team and expanding her business and personal relationships within the area.
Director of Grants & Scholarships
Jessica joined GSCF in February 2018. A Salina native, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Kansas Wesleyan University. Previously, Jessica has worked as the assistant winemaker at Smoky Hill Vineyards and Winery. For the last seven years, she served as the assistant director of admissions at Kansas Wesleyan University. Jessica and her husband, Andrew, have two children, Kinsley and Kace.
Affiliate Relations & Grants Coordinator
Natalie joined GSCF in August 2019. She grew up in Randall, Kansas, and earned a B.A. in Communication and B.S. in Physical Education (Recreation/Sports Management) with a field of emphasis in leadership studies from Fort Hays State University. Previously, Natalie worked in parks and recreation and education. She is actively engaged in her community and especially loves working with youth organizations. Natalie and her husband, David, have four children: Alana, Isaac, Evan and Odin. Together, they farm and raise their family near Solomon. Natalie also enjoys reading whenever she gets the chance and relaxing with family.
Grants & Scholarships Coordinator
Taylor is a proud Salina native. Prior to joining GSCF in 2021, Taylor taught eighth grade English Language Arts at Salina South Middle School for six years. She holds a B.S. in Education from Kansas State University and a M.S. in Education from Baker University. Taylor also served as a Teacher Representative on the Salina Education Foundation Board of Trustees and as the Allocations Chair on the SEF Grant Committee. One of Taylor’s passions is coaching, and she loves having the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the children and young adults in her community. She gets to explore that passion at her baton twirling studio, Taylor’s Twirlers, and as an assistant coach for Salina South High School Color Guard. Taylor is married to Phillip Urban and recently welcomed a son, Theodore, to their family.
Director of Marketing & Communications
Annika Wilson joined GSCF in November 2020. She was born and raised in Salina, Kansas. After graduating from the University of Kansas in Journalism and Mass Communications she moved to Phoenix, Arizona. While in Phoenix, Annika furthered her career in sales and marketing by working as the Marketing Director of a technology company and an Account Executive for a full service advertising agency. She completed her Master’s in Business Administration in 2010 and moved to Denver, Colorado in 2013 to be closer to family and take on a new marketing position for an out-patient surgery company. Annika recently moved back to Salina with her husband and is looking forward to using her marketing experience at the Greater Salina Community Foundation. Annika and her husband, Mike, have a daughter named Isla.
Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Jeree Hughbanks joined GSCF in June 2022. She grew up on a family farm in Grainfield, a small town in Western Kansas. After graduating from Kansas State University in Technology Management, she put roots down in Salina and began her career in the automotive industry as Videographer and Graphic Designer. She then moved into healthcare where she expanded her role as a Marketing Specialist, and helped bring specialty healthcare services to rural Kansans. Jeree and her husband, Shawn, have a dog, Baxter, who loves going on car rides, vacations, and getting all of the attention. In her free time, Jeree enjoys spending time with family and friends, attending nieces and nephews activities, volleyball, and of course playing with her fur-baby, Baxter. Jeree is excited to be more involved in the Salina community and help the foundation make an impact in the community.