Norton County Community Foundation Awards Five Grants in April

Norton, Kansas, April 2023 – Norton County Community Foundation (NCCF) awarded $14,671.50 in the April grant cycle. Funds were part of the Dane G. Hansen Community Grant Fund, which offers financial support to qualifying and deserving projects and programs in Northwest Kansas. Grant funds supported the following projects:

  • Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas received $2,171.50 for Technology Upgrades
  • Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland Inc. received $4,000 for the Girl Scout Convention in Orlando
  • K-State Research & Extension Twin Creeks District received $500 for an Invasive Plant/Cedar Tree Roundup Program
  • Norton County Health Department received $2,500 for a Spot Vision Screener
  • USD 211 received $5,500 for the JAG-K Program

DSNWK will use grant funds to replace outdated technology in their group homes and Frontier Developmental Center in Norton. Upgrades include tablets that will provide opportunities for distance learning, conferencing, and telemedicine, as well as hardware and network equipment to improve workflow and efficiency for staff.
The Norton Girl Scouts Troop 10425 received $4,000 to attend the National Girl Scout Convention in Orlando, Florida in July 2023. Girls from across the country will gather to celebrate and work towards their mission of “building girls of courage, confidence & character who make the world a better place.” The girls will participate in activities such as an educational day with Disney cast members, hands-on activity booths, a collaborative art mural, and a mentoring zone where they can meet with industry leaders to learn how to transform their passions into careers. Funds will help with the costs of flights, lodging, and convention fees for the 7 local girls who are attending.
K-State Research & Extension Twin Creeks District is planning a program aimed at helping landowners understand invasive plant encroachment of usable grassland areas. The goal is for participants to be aware of options to control and monitor invasive and noxious plants (Easter Red Cedar, Honey Locust, Must Thistle, Canada Thistle, Soapweed). People interested in the program can contact Keith VanSkike at
Norton County Health Department received funding to help purchase a Spot Vision Screener. This handheld, portable device will be used during physicals to detect vision problems in children as young as 6 months of age. Compared to the “old-fashioned” way of using an eye chart (which isn’t effective in children who cannot read letters or name shapes), the spot vision machine uses lights and sounds to perform an efficient screening process and detect conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. A thorough vision screen is an important part of a child’s overall health, as poor vision can directly impact a child’s learning, development, and classroom behaviors, and the early detection of problems can lead to quicker referrals and treatment.
USD 211 received funds to support the local JAG-K program. JAG-K is a 501(c)3 non-profit that partners with public schools to offer an elective class that provides academic and other positive supports to ensure students earn their diploma. By exploring career opportunities and practicing soft skills, students are prepared to successfully transition to post-secondary education, military service, or into the workforce following their graduation. Currently, Norton’s JAG-K classes have around 60 students. “The JAG program has been successful in engaging a group of students at NCHS who are in need of additional opportunities and avenues to connect to school and community,” said Jennifer Hauser, NCHS Counselor. “Students have been exposed to job opportunities in Norton and the surrounding areas that they most likely would not have had the same exposure to had it not been for JAG.”
The guidelines and application for the Hansen Community Grant can be found on NCCF’s website at Applications are due the last day of the month to be considered for the next month’s funding. For more information, please contact Bethany Shirk at 785.874.5106,, or visit the NCCF office at the Heaton Building in Downtown Norton, KS, located at 112 S. Kansas Street. About Norton County Community FoundationThe 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

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 2020 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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