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Beach donation will aid four organizations in Hays




Heartland Community Foundation announced it received $100,000 from the Ross and Marianna Beach Foundation.

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Heartland Community Foundation announced it received $100,000 from the Ross and Marianna Beach Foundation.

Mendi Alexander, board chairwoman of the foundation, said at a press conference Thursday morning at Hays Welcome Center the donation has been divided into four funds.

Bob Lowen, executive director of the foundation, said donors can contribute to the new funds or the other 20 funds within the foundation.

The four agencies named to receive the established money are First Care Clinic, Heartland Community Theatre, Hays Arts Council and Hays Beautification Program.

First Care Clinic received $40,000, Heartland Community Theatre received $30,000, and Hays Arts Council and Hays Beautification Program both received $15,000.

Each fund is endowed, meaning each agency's fund will stay with the foundation but the earnings do not.

"The earnings off the invested funds will be used for these four agencies to support their needs for many years to come," Alexander said.

Alexander said the Beach Foundation has been Heartland Community Foundation's largest contributor since its inception in 2007.

She also added Kansas Health Foundation will be matching the Beach gift by donating $35,000.

"It is indeed an honor to be here today, and while it was delightedly unexpected to receive the phone call about this endowment, it certainly, in the big picture, wasn't a surprise," said Brenda Meder, director of HAC.

"The Beach family has long supported arts and culture in Hays."

Ross and Marianna Beach lived in Hays for many years. Ross died in 2010.

In addition to supporting the arts, the Beach Foundation supports education, health and the disabled.

The endowment has Bryan Brady, CEO of First Care Clinic, focusing on the future and expanding the dental portion of the clinic.

"We've got big plans for the future, and we are looking to grow more because we know there is more need out there -- especially in the dental area," Brady said.

Aside from the surprise, each representative commented on how grateful their agency was to receive funds and to move forward with their goals.

"This is an incredible milestone for the Heartland Community Theatre," said Barb Wasinger, city commissioner and secretary of Heartland Community Theatre Inc. "We are so grateful for the Ross and Marianna Beach Foundation. It allows us to grow as a community theater and become that fixture in the Hays and surrounding areas for people to do entertainment and showcase their talents."

Wasinger also said the fund could serve as a stepping stone and also as an influence.

"Our hope is that endowment gets added to," Wasinger said. "We would love to get a permanent venue and a permanent director in the future, but this is a stepping stone to that. We are so grateful for them getting us started and hope that other people follow."

Jeff Boyle, director of Hays parks and a member of the Hays Beautification Program, said many of the projects on hold will be revisited at the next program meeting.

"Funding for the committee has been very limited, and we now have a new way, or means, of making some of these projects happen," Boyle said.