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A peer learning event in Western Kansas.

As collaboration between community foundations become more important in addressing today’s challenges, a peer learning event was hosted in Garden City to bring western Kansas community foundations together to talk about opportunities and ways to work together to meet these challenges. The event was underwritten through grant funds made available by the Kansas Association of Community Foundations. Held August 27th and 28th, 2010, the training was also a collaboration in terms of planning and execution as well. Several western Kansas community foundations planned the session and played host to many participating foundations in the area. Western Kansas Community Foundation (Garden City), Scott County Community Foundation (Scott City), Wichita County Community Foundation (Leoti), Greeley County Community Foundation (Tribune), Thomas County Community Foundation (Colby) and Bird City Century II Development Foundation (Bird City) each played a role in designing the agenda that included fun and interesting opportunities to learn more about each other and open lines of communication between entities in an effort to share experiences and learn from each other.

“The chance to meet, better understand and develop cooperation between my regional foundation peers has been an exciting outcome of this training. Through the session, I better understand challenges and opportunities affecting other foundations regardless of asset size and the chance to share programs and processes opened a line of communication that I can build on in the future,” said Shea Sinclair, Executive Director of the Western Kansas Community Foundation. “I feel connected to and more likely to reach out to my peers for feedback, advice and collaboration now that I better understand we are all under comparable circumstances and share similar goals and expectations.”

The two day event began Friday evening over dinner followed by an upbeat learning opportunity to build alliances and break down barriers. The group reconvened Saturday morning over breakfast to continue building relationships between foundations that will grow in serving communities in western Kansas. Twenty eight regional community foundation peers shared the opportunity to better understand how engaging regional partners and building cooperation can generate energy and enthusiasm around addressing challenges.

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