With a growing need for funds to improve and maintain its properties, Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas launched its first capital campaign Tuesday with a goal of $5 million.

The initial launch came Tuesday morning at the organization’s annual Fall Fest at the Ellis County Fairgrounds, a gathering of staff, volunteers and individuals served from across the region.

The festival goers took a break from dancing to the Jimmy Dee Band and other activities to hear from DSNWK officials, including Jerry Michaud, president and CEO, and his predecessor, Jim Blume.

The Hays launch was to be followed by announcements Wednesday in Russell, Stockton, Hill City, Hoxie, Atwood and Norton.

Blume, who retired in 2005 and is now a deacon at St. Pius X Church in Aurora, Colo., and volunteers in a homeless shelter, said the campaign will help fill in the gaps of funding.

“We have such great support from county commissioners and from state and federal government. It just simply is not enough,” he said.

Michaud agreed.

“We’re grateful for the support we’ve got in terms of our state and federal funds. Those are absolutely needed, but they haven’t kept up,” he said.

According to its 2017 annual report, DSNWK had revenue totaling nearly $13.6 million. About 44 percent of that came from federal funding and 35 percent from the state, with the majority of both those funds from Medicaid Home and Community Based Services.

County mill levies in 2017 came in at just under $900,000, or 6.6 percent of total revenue.

DSNWK’s total expenses for 2017 was $13.9 million, with facilities services and property management costs at about $404,000, or 2.9 percent of total costs.

DSNWK has 10 locations — administrative offices, Employment Connections and a transportation center in Hays, as well as developmental centers in Hays, Hill City, Russell, Atwood, Stockton and Hoxie. It also owns and operates several supervised living homes across the region.

None of the facilities are in a condition that puts anyone in danger, Michaud said, but the delayed improvements are much needed.

“For so many years, what would be routine kind of upkeep and things like that have been kicked to the side. Not neglected, but there were just no resources to do it,” Michaud said.

Those issues include foundation repairs, replacing aging HVAC systems and new roofs.

The campaign will address those needs both now and in the future.

“By creating an endowment, we’re creating a future funding source that’s in perpetuity. In a sense, it’s necessary for us to go this way,” he said.

The capital campaign is new territory for DSNWK. The organization has an internal team, an external campaign committee consisting of people from across northwest Kansas and a consultant, he said.

“This is a brand-new deal, but we’re not afraid to venture into finding solutions. That’s our world, finding solutions,” he said.

The campaign will also help ensure the 51-year-old organization is known throughout the region.

“Sometimes we believe we’re well-known, everybody knows who we are, what we do, and that reality isn’t true,” Michaud said.

His goal is to make sure people understand DSNWK is not just a charity, but a mission — one they will think of when planning their estates.

“This is people joining a mission to do the right thing, and that is helping people. They just want to succeed just like everybody else,” he said.