Tower Foundation Awards More Than $72,000 in Grants To Seven Applicants


TOPEKA – (October 7, 2019) − Seven organizations have been awarded grants from the Tower Foundation totaling $72,383 to support suicide prevention and mental health services in Kansas, Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced today.

Pawnee Mental Health Services, which is based in Manhattan and serves 11 counties in North Central Kansas, was awarded $5,500 to fund a series of short personalized videos providing information on suicide prevention and locally available intervention services that will be distributed via social media and online advertising targeted at youth and young adults in an effort to reach them directly.

Stand Up For Your Sister, based in Manhattan, was awarded $2,500 to expand its peer-based services to young adults in Greek housing at Kansas colleges and universities. The program will provide presentations in Greek houses to help support, empower and educate college-aged women on mental health struggles.

The Greenwood County Hospital Foundation, based in Eureka, was awarded $3,790 to train 200 community members in Greenwood County on mental health first aid. The training will cultivate skills to recognize and assist those who may be developing a mental health problem or are experiencing a worsening of existing mental health problems. Individuals targeted for training will include hospital staff, law enforcement, teachers, clergy and business owners.

Central Kansas Mental Health Center, based in Salina, was awarded $4,000 to teach applied suicide intervention skills and training to young adults ages 16-24 in an attempt to prevent situations from developing to the point where young adults attempt suicide.

Four County Mental Health Center, which is based in Independence and serves five counties in Southeast Kansas, was awarded $11,593 to collaborate with 11 school districts across the region to create Local Mental Health Responders for Community Youth. Each school district will identify and recruit 30 individuals who will be trained in mental health first aid and will become the first line of response to youth in distress.

The Jefferson County Alliance of Service Councils, Inc., based in Oskaloosa, was awarded $10,000 to provide applied suicide intervention training to 60 individuals who have regular contact with youth and young adults, and to provide youth mental health first aid training to 40 individuals who also have regular contact with youth and young adults, all in Jefferson County.

The Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, Inc., which is based in Topeka and represents 26 licensed Community Mental Health Centers in Kansas, was awarded $35,000 to fund training in assessing and managing suicide risk (AMSR) for 25 clinicians who can then train other mental and behavioral health professionals across the state in AMSR. AMSR is an in-depth training focusing on clinical decision-making for assessing suicide risk and developing safety plans and key strategies to care for individuals at risk of suicide.

The Tower Mental Health Foundation of Kansas was created as a result of an agreement between the attorney general’s office and the Menninger Foundation in 2007. It offers support to organizations that provide mental health services in Kansas. The attorney general is the sole member of the Foundation, which is staffed by the office of the attorney general. The Foundation’s board of directors is composed of nine Kansans with a keen interest in mental health issues. Dr. Walter Menninger serves as an emeritus member of the board.

More information about the Tower Foundation is available at

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
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.

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