Northwest Kansas community leaders recognize there is a deficit in the “leadership pool” in their communities.  This deficit was reinforced through the Strategic Doing process as county residents came together to identify needs. The need for leadership development was identified in all 26 counties across the Dane G. Hansen service area.

Research shows individuals who participate in a community leadership program are empowered as they:

  • Learn about important organizational and social skills which will assist them as leaders of various activities or organizations in the community.
  • Learn about the community itself and how it “works” so they can operate effectively as leaders.
  • Develop a social network of individuals who share a mutual interest regarding the future of their community and a willingness to collaborate for change.
  • Most importantly, become motivated to act or “do something” which will benefit their community.     

In response, the Hansen Foundation is announcing the Community Leadership Program initiative which aligns with their guiding principle: Leadership, management and volunteerism are essential ingredients of dynamic communities.


The Community Leadership Program initiative is for the creation of new and the modification of existing community leadership programs offered in the 26-county service area.  Leadership programs should be designed to serve a county or multi-county area and not a specific community.

The grant will allow community leadership programs to apply a maximum of three times, for up to $3,000 per class.

The Community Leadership Program initiative will start January 2021 and end December 2026.  Applications received by 9:00 a.m. on the 25th day of the month will be considered at the regular meeting of the Hansen Trustees the following month.

How it works

Typical community leadership programs are offered on an annual or bi-annual basis as determined by the steering committee.  An average of 6 to 8 day-long sessions are held which includes both classroom style learning and touring of the area. Class trips to visit state government or another community of interest may be included.

Session topics center around individual and group capacity building and knowledge of the area. To build individual and group capacity, topics focus on:

• Nature of community leadership
• Personality assessment and valuing others’ differences
• Interpersonal communication
• Working with others, volunteerism, and getting things done
• Serving on boards and committees and running effective meetings
• Conflict management

At the local level, topics include:
• County history
• Demographics
• Economic development
• Education and workforce development
• Local government, including what’s involved in running for or serving in local government positions
• Community health

Classes are expected to complete a class project utilizing the Strategic Doing process which enables them to work together and complete a valuable project for the community.  Fund raising for the project is the responsibility of the class.

Year 1
January & February:  Steering Committee formation, submission of grant application
March thru June: Program development and fundraising
July & August: Participant recruitment
September thru December: Class sessions

Year 2
January thru March: Continued class sessions
April: Graduation and evaluation
April thru December:  Class project and wrap-up celebration

If offering on an annual basis, the steering committee would start working on revisions following each of the class sessions and start their participant recruitment process again in July & August.

  • Composed of stakeholders from local businesses, economic development, community organizations, local community foundation, local government or chamber. May also include Extension agents, association members such as, Farm Bureau, church leaders, etc.
  • Responsible for preparing and submitting the grant application
  • Identifying a qualified non-profit entity (or equivalent) to act as the fiscal agent
  • With assistance from the community vitality specialist, plan, conduct and evaluate the leadership class
  • Supervise the planning and completion of class project
  • Evaluations will be conducted at the end of each class session
  • A wrap-up evaluation will be conducted at the end of the course
  • Photos documenting the program and completion of the class project will be taken
  • Follow-up evaluations will be conducted with class participants and their employers
  • A ripple effect mapping session will be held to celebrate the success of the program and collect qualitative impacts.
  • Long-term evaluation will include tracking involvement of leadership class participants in local boards, offices and other leadership roles.

Questions: Contact Nadine Sigle at nadine@danehansenfoundation.org or call 785-346-6256.