The Topeka Community Foundation recently awarded their first grant as they further their work to impact the social determinants of health in Shawnee County.
- $149,758.00 was awarded to SENT (Strengthening and Empowering Neighborhoods Together) to support their work in providing educational, counseling and career training programs in Hi Crest.
This grant marks the first of many commitments the Foundation will make as they focus their grantmaking and leadership around improving the health of targeted neighborhoods in Shawnee County.
“Our ‘Impact Topeka’ initiative is a direct result of learning about the relationship between health and education and economic productivity,” said Foundation President Marsha Pope. “Good health allows people to get a better education and be more productive. Education and income allow people to be make healthier choices.”
These larger, more transformational, grants are possible because of increased resources the Foundation gained in 2017 as a result of the $8.5 million St. Francis Foundation transfer and an estate gift.
“We have been entrusted to invest these dollars in the health of our community in the very best way possible,” Pope said. “It is our commitment to focus our time, leadership and resources on our community’s health … a complex challenge with no easy solutions.”
To that end, the Foundation announced it is retiring Topeka Gives. The one-day of giving event hosted for six years at Fairlawn Plaza Mall was created in 2013 as a one-time event to celebrate the Foundation’s 30thanniversary. It continued five additional years, raising more than $2.6 million in total for 234 different organizations.
“It’s been an honor to serve as the host of Topeka Gives for six years,” Pope said. “We are grateful to our generous community for making this event a success and have complete faith that the many donors who used this day to support the important work of our nonprofit partners will continue to do so. But the time is right for the Foundation to focus its efforts on the significant work of improving the health of our neighbors … especially those who need help the most.”
For 35 years, the Topeka Community Foundation has connected donors to causes they care about. The organization began in 1983 with a $10,000.00 grant from the Junior League and now manages assets totaling $75 million. In 2017, almost $7 million was granted to programs and projects to improve the quality of life in Shawnee County.
Topeka Community Foundation Mission:
Encourage philanthropy by providing leadership on key community issues, by connecting donors with their interests and community needs, and by ensuring accountability for effective investment of donor dollars.