By Beccy Tanner

Two teams and four St. John High School students are the county winners in this year’s Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge.

Ryer Ward, placed first in the contest, which was held Feb. 7 at the Stafford County Annex.

He receives $750 and a chance to compete at the state competition on April 16th at Kansas State University in Manhattan.

His entry was called “The Pocket Shop” and details a business that would make breakfast rolls or pockets with filling.

Second place winners are Garrett McAlister, Willow Murphy, and Uricke Engelbrecht for their entry of “Unraveling Fibers.” Their business would include a subscription service for crocheting and needlework projects.

They receive $500 and have a chance at applying to be a wild card team in the statewide contest.

To participate, students must submit an executive summary of a business proposal and do an in-person presentation.

Each team is then judged on their business’s marketability, niche, and ability to grow their company as well as model.

This year’s judges included: Lea Ann Seiler, from Network Kansas; Trisha Greene, 21st Central District K-State Extension; Angela Peterson, St. John-Hudson USD 350 elementary principal; and Ryan Russell, director of Stafford County Economic Development.

Stafford County Economic Development with funding from South Central Community Foundation hosted the local YEC competition and sponsors the students to attend the state-wide competition.

 EcoDevo is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a mission to promote economic and population growth throughout the county by assisting local businesses, engaging in community activities, and promoting Stafford County as a great place to live, work, and play.

By Beccy Tanner

Stafford County’s two area community foundations are gearing up one of the largest global giving days ever – Giving Tuesday, which falls this year on Nov. 28.

Worldwide, it’s a movement that promotes “radical generosity,” according to the organization’s website: www.givingtuesday.org.

Locally, it means the Golden Belt Community Foundation and the South-Central Community Foundation are promoting local nonprofits and encouraging residents to give as generously as they can to support their favorite nonprofits.

For Golden Belt Community Foundation, this is their 10th year in promoting Giving Tuesday.

They have 100 local nonprofits participating in this year’s event.

“You can give to your favorite nonprofits and those funds can move directly to them or you can give to your favorite nonprofit endowment fund and that money can stay here with us and can grow that fund to continue to support that nonprofit organization,” said Teresa Powelson, program officer for Golden Belt.

The Golden Belt’s Community Foundation area covers counties in Barton, Pawnee, Rush and Stafford County.

In year’s past, the foundation raised more than $288,000 in Giving Tuesday.

“Last year was one of our biggest giving years,” Powelson said. “I think the thing that means the most to us is that we get to continue to support the nonprofit agencies in our community. This is a way that we can continue to help them grow, build their programs and serve the community just by allowing them to participate in Giving Tuesday.

“I think that’s one of the greatest benefits we can provide to the community.”

People who have participated in Giving Tuesday with Golden Belt before can expect to receive forms in the mail informing them of Giving Tuesday.

If they haven’t participated before and would like to, they may go to the Golden Belt Community Foundation’s Facebook page or website or stop by the foundation’s office in Great Bend to find out more information.

 The office is located at 1307 Williams St, Great Bend, KS., 67530.

The website is www.goldenbeltcf.org.

The South Central Community Foundation in Pratt represents Barber, Comanche, Kiowa, Kingman, Rice and Stafford counties.

This is the foundation’s first year participating in Giving Tuesday and has 10 nonprofiit organiztions signed up to participate.

“It’s a big deal,” said Holly Launchbaugh, the foundation’s executive director of this year’s event. “It’s not just about the actual monetary donations but about giving back to your community, as well. It’s volunteering in every capacity. It has a lot of different meanings, for sure.”

Through a grant with the Patterson Family Foundation, which was established to reinvest in rural communities, the South Central Community Foundation is able to provide for the first time up to $70,000 in matching funds.

“We have a matching pool,” Launchbaugh said. “So, if we raise $70,000 or above, we will receive that full amount. Of course, if we received from the community, $30,000, that’s what we will get. So, it depends on how much you raise up to $70,000.”

Last summer, the South Central Community Foundation did a listening tour of each of its seven participating counties. The counties are, of course, all rural and all face similar issues with housing, childcare and the workforce topping the main concerns.

“When we received this opportunity to receive this grant, we really wanted to help out the nonprofits that serve our counties,” she said. “Helping our communities is something that we all support.”

The money goes straight to the nonprofit of choice.

“So, it’s really helping with whatever the nonprofit’s specific need is,” Launchbaugh said. “This is open-ended to let the nonprofit select where the money goes.”

The Patterson Family Foundation grant opened up an opportunity this year for the SCCF, Launchbaugh said. In the past, much of the foundation’s dollars was spent specifically on other grants or scholarships. The Patterson grant allowed the foundation to participate for the first time in Giving Tuesday.

People wanting to participate in Giving Tuesday can drop checks off at the office beginning Nov. 14th in Pratt or by mailing checks to the office.  The office is located at 114 W. 5th, Pratt, KS., 67124.

“As long as the check is postmarked by Nov. 28, they will be counted for that matching grant this year,” she said. South Central’s website is https://www.sccfmatchday.org/.

Grant Writing Certification 

If your organization wants to build capacity in grant writing, then check out these great opportunities where you can send someone to get trained.  Stafford County Economic Development will have some limited funds available to give scholarships to individuals that wish to attend. 

Fort Hays State University Grant Certification Program  

• 8 Weeks  

• All Online  

• September 6th Start Date  

• Program cost $175 USD  

This is an introduction to the grant proposal writing, although several highly experienced proposal writers have found great value in our course as a review and refresher course. The areas of focus will be the key parts of the most sophisticated type of proposals: title page, abstract, statement of need, goal, objectives, procedures, budget, qualifications, evaluation, sustainability, dissemination, sources cited, and appendix.  

https://www.fhsu.edu/sociology/grant-writing-certification-program/

Nancy Daniels Grant Writing Workshop  

• 1 day  

• In person (Dodge City)  

• September 26th or 27th 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.  

• Program cost $40 USD includes lunch  

K-State Research and Extension Office Community Vitality Specialist, Nancy Daniels, will share her knowledge on how to write a grant and where to find grants.  

raisingthewest.org

People living in Stafford County know that this county has an abundance of raw materials. 

We are agriculturally focused. 

 We have everything from orchards, a tree farm, a flour mill, watermelons, honey, vegetables and several farms producing high-quality meat and dairy products to name a few. However, there are still just a few farm to table products developed within Stafford County.  

The reason for this has to do with available facilities and also the cost of setting up manufacturing.  There are opportunities to get support from places like Land of Kansas that help support local small food producers (https://www.fromthelandofkansas.com/) with advice on setup, labeling, and even have a marketplace to sell products they support. 

Hudson Cream Flour ships flour to biscuit makers and bakeries.  We have the ability to not only create products within our own communities but because Hudson Cream Flour ships anywhere in the U.S. and with the market access the internet give us today through platforms like etsy.com., it would be great to see Stafford County products in stores across the U.S. and around the world. 

 What about salsa?  What about cheese?  What about jelly for your PB and J?  What if you created those things? 

That’s why Stafford County Economic Development is working on a pilot project to support Farm to Table Food Processors.  We will be launching this pilot project soon to 1) locate all the people and businesses developing value-added food products, 2) provide mentoring through the business plan/product development process, 3) connect these entrepreneurs or businesses to food processing resource experts (production, packaging and marketing), and 4) help them make connections with sales channels in and outside of the county. 

If you have a desire to create a food product for commercial purposes, please reach out to us.  We want to hear from you.  Whether you want to create a product or support the pilot project as a partner business, please reach out to Ryan Russell at [email protected] or 620-314-5561.