By BECKY KISER
Sunday, Feb. 28 is the end of the month and also the end of the "Twice As Nice" fundraising campaign by Heartland Community Foundation (HCF).
Ellis, Rooks and Trego counties could each earn an additional $50,000 for charitable grants in the community through the gift matching campaign.
This month the Dane G. Hansen Foundation of Logan is matching all public gifts to each county’s Legacy Fund at the Heartland Community Foundation, up to $50,000 per fund, for a total of another $150,000.
During the past two years, the “Twice As Nice” campaign has raised more than $900,000 for the three Legacy Funds, which to date have granted $30,212 to charitable projects across the counties of Rooks, Trego and Ellis.
Sandy Jacobs, the current Hays mayor, recently retired as HCF's first - and only - executive director and was thanked in a special ceremony by current and past board members at the foundation's headquarters in downtown Hays.
"Without her, we couldn't have done any of this," said Hardy Howard, HCF board president and WaKeeney city administrator. "She's kept us on track. She's kept us focused."
His joke about Jacobs' multi-colored emails drew a laugh from the crowd.
"We're super-appreciative of Sandy and can't say enough about her."
In her honor, board members made a $3,600 donation to the HCF administrative fund, presented by Hardy.
"You can't give a greater gift than something like this which is going to continue on giving in our communities," Jacobs said with a choked voice.
"This organization is so special," she added. "I'm not going away."
The match month has an extra bonus, according to Sarah Meitner, the new HCF executive director.
"If we hit that $50,000 goal, the Hansen Foundation kicks in a bonus $20,000 per county to support our administrative fund and for the administrative fund and keep our foundation sustainable and growing," Meitner explained.
"The trust that Hansen has put into all the community foundations in northwest Kansas just goes to show the priceless value that they see in the long term growth of northwest Kansas and the generational growth."
This is the fourth year for the "Twice As Nice" match campaign. The Hansen Foundation has guaranteed a total five years of the program.
"So we have this year and next year where the match is on the table. After that, we don't know," Meitner said. "So it's really important we capture every dollar we can while they're offering it.
"To continue to grant at the level we are, we need to make sure that we are growing these funds to support our non-profits and our charitable projects."
The "Legacy Fund" in Ellis, Rooks and Trego counties is currently at almost half a million dollars in each county.
"When you can have a positive multi-generational impact on your communities with an organization like this, that is a rare thing," Howard said.
Heartland Community Foundation is a member of the Greater Salina Community Foundation.