Norton Co. Community Foundation Awards Grant

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Norton, Kansas, September 2019 — In May 2018, the Norton County Community Foundation’s Grant Advisory Committee granted $12,500 to Kansas Children’s Service League (KCSL) to fund the Kansas Power of the Positive’s (KPoP) Family-Friendly Workplaces campaign in Norton County.

Kansas is one of seven states participating in a five-year initiative by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop comprehensive strategies that create safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments (SSNREs) in order to prevent and mitigate the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). KCSL, along with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and Wichita State University Community Engagement Institute, serve as the leadership team in Kansas. Their combined efforts began in 2013 while leading KPoP, a coalition of over 40 statewide partners focused on implementing child abuse and neglect prevention practices.

Now with the CDC’s initiative, KPoP’s unique focus is to work with businesses to create SSNREs in the workplace. Research shows that there is a link between ACEs (i.e. abuse, neglect, and family dysfunction) and decreased workforce productivity. However, ACEs can be prevented and their effects mitigated through the development of SSNREs in the workplace.

“This campaign aims to increase safety and stability for Kansas children by partnering with workplace allies to support family-friendly policy change,” said Dona Booe, KCSL President and CEO. “KCSL and KPoP believe strong families build strong businesses. It’s important to help employers understand the needs of people who are not engaging effectively in the workplace because of family struggles.”

Employer support for developing SSNREs can help recruit and retain employees, reduce employee absenteeism and turnover, and improve a business’ public image. Therefore, it is beneficial for businesses to institute family-friendly workplace policies, such as a flexible work schedule to allow time for family issues (i.e. parent teacher conferences) and subsidized child care costs as part of the employee benefits package.

In Norton County, four businesses are participating in the Family-Friendly Workplaces campaign including the Norton County Hospital, the Norton Correctional Facility, Almena State Bank, and New Age Industrial. “As a source of primary healthcare in Norton County and the region, we have a moral obligation to address ACEs for the patients, families and communities we serve, as well as the workforce that we employ,” said Gina Frack, Chief Executive Officer of Norton County Hospital.

Funding provided by NCCF is being used to implement the project in Norton County, specifically through the creation of an online survey tool that participating businesses can use with their workforce to capture employee challenges and needs. This survey, built by Wichita State University Community Engagement Institute, has enhanced analytic capabilities that provides robust reports and insight on what areas the business needs to address in order to make their workplace more family-friendly.

“NCCF is proud to help fund KPoP’s Family-Friendly Workplaces campaign in Norton County,” said Tara Vance, NCCF Executive Director. “We strive to fund programs that meet critical needs in our community and benefit a large number of people. To know that 603 Norton County employees and their families will be served by this funding is a fulfillment of our mission.”

For more information, please contact Tara Vance via phone at 785.874.5106, email at, or visit the office at 112 S. Kansas in Norton, Kansas.

About Norton County Community Foundation

The Norton County Community Foundation was established in 1994 for the purpose of supporting local charitable activities in Norton County through endowments made to the foundation. Dedicated to serving today for tomorrow, to make our community a better place in which to live. Connect with the Norton County Community Foundation at

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.