SPARK Executive Committee Announces Investment Recommendations


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TOPEKA – Today, Governor Laura Kelly announced that the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Executive Committee has made recommendations regarding the high-level distribution of $374 million of investments toward broadband infrastructure and adoption, the modernization and improvement of government services, economic development, and health and education.

“We are now one step closer to distributing these funds and addressing Kansas’s most critical needs — from expanding our broadband infrastructure to improving our education and health care systems,” Governor Kelly said. “I appreciate our Executive Committee and Advisory Panel members for committing their time, energy, and expertise into shaping these investments and helping to build a stronger state for future generations.”

The four SPARK Advisory Panels — Connectivity, Efficiency & Modernization, Health & Education, and Economic Revitalization — met between January and April 2022 to review information and feedback from Kansans and prepare proposals for the most effective statewide distribution of federal coronavirus relief funds allocated to Kansas through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of March 2021.

“Friday’s action has allowed us to better define the resources that will be available in these four important areas that impact all Kansans,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “Now that the high-level decisions are made about investments in each of the four areas, we look forward to finalizing the program details so these dollars can flow to Kansas communities quickly.”

The Executive Committee recommended $374 million in investments across the four Advisory Panels. The recommendations include:

  • Connectivity – $35 million
  • Efficiency and Modernization – $100 million
  • Health and Education – $109 million
  • Economic Revitalization – $130 million

Program details, including eligibility information and how to apply for funding, will be determined at a later date. Per the legislation that enacted the SPARK process, the Executive Committee’s recommendations must be approved by the State Finance Council before funding can be allocated and expended.

For more information about ARPA, the SPARK Executive Committee, or the Office of Recovery, please visit

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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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