Make A Difference Grants

2023 Make A Difference Grant Recipients


Theatre Salina - $10,000

Theatre Salina received $10,000 to assist with the cost of bussing from Durham School Services for USD305 students to experience live theatre field trips at the Center for Theatre Arts. 

"Center for Theatre Arts will be using these funds to pay for bussing in order to invite as many USD305 and Saline County area students to join us for our fall and spring musicals. We pay for the bussing in order to encourage as many local students to join us for the theatre productions, because we know the benefits of being an audience member for theatre when it comes to their emotional and mental health." - Maggie Spicer Brown | Education Director at the Center for Theatre Arts


Friends of the River Foundation - $5,000

Friends of the River Foundation received $5,000 to support the Friends of the River Foundation Education Outreach and their educational opportunities offered throughout the year.

"The funding from the Make A Difference grant is going to help us further our mission, which is increasing appreciation and stewardship of the Smoky Hill River by connecting with community members through avenues such as history, recreation and the arts. We are so excited about the different projects that we have coming up that connects us with the local schools, universities and organizations, that ultimately further connects folks back to the river. We're sos grateful for this grant that we will use as an organization and for it to go back into the community!"  - Anne Hoekstra | Education Outreach Coordinator at The Friends of the River Foundation


Central Kansas Mental Health Center - $4,300

Central Kansas Mental Health Center received $4,300 to offer adult and youth Mental Health First Aid classes to community members in Salina, Ellsworth, Lincoln and Ottawa counties.

"CKMHC is excited to receive SAUW grant funding to support Mental Health First Aid training in our communities! The SAUW Make A Difference grant will support four Mental Health First Aid trainings, and help us train 80 new First Aiders. Funds are integral in allowing us to provide training at a reduced cost and support trainings and partnerships in our rural communities, helping to remove barriers to participation. MHFA has been proven to reduce stigma and increase empathy toward those facing mental health challenges, and the impact is incremental. If everyone had at least one First Aider in their close circle of friends, family, and peers, we could connect more people to help and provide support to those in need. Training 80 new First Aiders will help us get closer to that goal."  - Gretchen Boyum | Grants & Communications Specialist at Central Kansas Mental Health Center


Prairieland Market - $4,100

Prairieland Market received $4,100 for a six-month program where Community Support Agriculture (CSA) boxes will. be provided to people in need as identified and distributed through the Salina Emergency Aid Food Bank.

"We are so pleased to receive this grant from Salina Area United Way! We are using the funds so that we can provide Community Support Agriculture (CSA) to families that are in need in Saline County, and we're working with the Salina Emergency Aid Food Bank to distribute the CSA. This also helps support our local farmers by giving them a larger quantity that they can get into our community."  - Vickee Spicer | Executive Director at Prairieland Market


Salina Grace - $8,600

Salina Grace received $8,600 for the hiring of an Entry Coordinator to be the first touch point for all guests, to conduct an initial Assessment of Needs, and to utilize program data for the community navigator program to extend the reach of services and resources available in our community for individuals who step through the doors of Salina Grace.

"This grant will help enable us to help our homeless neighbors and those who are in need of help in our community get connected with the help that they need. There are so many different agencies in town to go to for help and assistance, but many don't know where to start. The community navigator program helps people find the services and programs that are best suited to help them."  - Chad Young | Director of Salina Grace


Salina Shares - $10,000

Salina Shares received $10,000 to assist with the costs of "Snack Sacks", a sack of snacks to help curb hunger and offer aa temporary solution as a meal to those who are food insecure.

"We are so excited to receive this grant of $10,000 for our Snack Sacks! Every week we are challenged to put more nutrition in them and more calories for the people that are receiving them. With this money we can finally do that. We're also anticipating a huge increase in need over the summer, so this money is so timely for the increase of families in need that come in during the summer months."  - Debbie Rivers | Executive Director at Salina Shares


Salina Family Healthcare Center - $5,000

Salina Family Healthcare Center received $5,000 to support the Community Outreach department with providing health education for youth and Heartsaver CPR/AED/First Aid classes to community members in vulnerable populations at no cost.

"This grant allows us to get more out into the community so that we can have more of a community presence, because we can provide these educational classes outside of the clinic. We can now partner with other community partners through this avenue and be better stewards of community care. Thank you!"  - Genell Heimer | Community Outreach Supervisor at SFHC


Kansas Wesleyan University - $3,000

KWU received $3,000 to assist with the costs of the 3rd Annual Women in Leadership Speaker Series, a community-wide event, celebrating women in leadership roles throughout the city of Salina.

"Kansas Wesleyan University is excited to be partnering with Salina Area United Way through the Make A Difference Grant, supporting the Women in Leadership Speaker Series. These dollars will provide KWU students, and more the opportunity to learn, network, and achieve community leadership support, celebrating women in leadership roles throughout the community. Students and community leaders will network, learning from each other, while strengthening community awareness and collaboration while highlighting the unlimited opportunities for women in leadership."  - Annie Grevas | Assistant Director of Grants at KWU