Our Future is Promising: Strategic Initiative Grants

Last year, the Greater Salina Community Foundation was challenged by the Dane G. Hansen Foundation to use community grant funds more strategically. As a result, two area organizations received large, multi-year grants in July 2017. After the first year, both strategic initiative projects are already seeing positive results.

Artists gather at SPARK to discuss the film “Loving Vincent” in November.Artists gather at SPARK to discuss the film “Loving Vincent” in November.

SPARK Artist Resource Exchange

The Artist’s Initiative for Creative Ingenuity, Healing and Neighborhood Development, a project of Salina Arts and Humanities, received a total of $130,000 over three years from and GSCF’s Dane G. Hansen Community Grant Fund and the Fund for Greater Salina.

By investing in the professional development of local writers, musicians, visual artists and performers, the initiative aims to immerse artists into a community where they can thrive. This collaborative effort, now known as the SPARK Artist Resource Exchange, will help social service agencies integrate art as a healing mechanism for under-served individuals, as well as creatively enhance the downtown neighborhood.

“The strategic initiative grant has infused a sense of hope, energy, and optimism into the lives of artists in the community in a very short time,” said Brad Anderson, executive director of Salina Arts and Humanities. “Artists from all disciplines are actively engaged in new ways to connect with their community as new opportunities and professional development programs have been launched.”

Anderson said the project has also attracted the interest of artists far beyond the Salina community.

“Most recently, we have had inquiries from artists in Kansas City, Denver, and western Kansas about living and employment opportunities in Salina due to what they are seeing and reading about the initiative and its impact,” he said.

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Volunteers build a front porch for a home on Ninth Street during Fall Fix-Up 2017.Volunteers build a front porch for a home on Ninth Street during Fall Fix-Up 2017.

North Salina Community Development

North Salina Community Development, Inc. was awarded a three-year, $150,000 grant from GSCF’s Dane G. Hansen Community Grant Fund for aesthetic and safety improvements to Salina’s aging NorthTown District.

The project, which aims to revitalize the city’s Ninth Street gateway and instill a renewed sense of community pride among its residents, consists of four main components: a front porch program along the north Ninth Street corridor, community art implementation, installation of “little libraries” at north Salina bus stops, and re-branding of the NorthTown neighborhood through a new billboard and signage.

“Although we are only in the first year of “front porch” projects, our work has started a physical transformation in the north Ninth Street area,” said Barb Young, board president of North Salina Community Development, Inc. “Two community partners, Westar and the City of Salina, have been willing to think outside the box to cost share and generally help stretch our grant funds. Property owners and the community-at-large have become engaged, willing to volunteer in assisting others.”

Young said the Department of Public Works has even gone outside its normal sidewalk replacement policy, due to the collaboration and public and private investment on the project. The intangible benefit has been the shifting perception of NorthTown throughout Salina.

“Posts to NSCD’s social media accounts and multiple opportunities to visit with groups speak volumes to the larger impact throughout the city and visitors traveling the North Ninth Street corridor into Salina,” she said.

Click here to connect with North Salina Community Development on Facebook!


Learn more about the strategic initiative grants here.

To learn more about the great work of our donors and grantees, click here.