Scholarships Provide Opportunity to Earn an Education

The Community Foundation Announces 2018 Scholarship Recipients 


The Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas had the privilege to assist in the granting of scholarship funds to 37 area students valuing nearly $50,000 for the 2018-2019 school year.  The scholarships administered by the Community Foundation are funded by donors who believe in the youth of our area and support their pursuit of higher education.  A scholarship fund established with the Community Foundation is another way a family can leave a legacy and impact the future of our community.  If you would like to know more about establishing a scholarship fund, contact the Foundation office for more details at 620-231-8897 or email  The Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas would like to thank the donors and congratulate the following scholarship recipients.


M. Lee and Noretta Caldwell Scholarship                            

Ashley Dillinger – Erie High School                           

Breanna Grewing – Chanute High School                              

Tayler George – Fort Scott Community College                   

Samantha Nighswonger – Frontenac High School                              

Cori Watts – Frontenac High School                                                       

Commerce Bank Scholarship                                                     

Hannah Zerr – St. Mary’s Colgan High School                                                                       

Daniel Eichenberger – Pittsburg High School                                        

Craig Crespino Scholarship                                                         

Bailey Yoakam – St. Mary’s Colgan High School                                  

Luke Martin – Girard High School             

Jeanette Edwards Scholarship

Clayton Romans – Fredonia High School

Pat Forbes Scholarship 

Hannah Zerr – St. Mary’s Colgan High School

Dylan Meier Get Busy Livin’ Scholarship

Abigail Dainty – Frontenac High School

Kaitlynn Kidd – Pittsburg High School *

Ilyanna Knopp – Girard High School *

Taylor Redd – Pittsburg High School

Matthew Sanders – St. Mary’s Colgan High School *

Reese Willis – Pittsburg High School

Eric Underwood – Southeast High School

*Chosen to receive Get Busy Livin’ Volunteer Abroad Grant

Dylan Meier Get Busy Livin’ Dragon Award

Chase Curtis – Pittsburg High School

Dylan Meier Get Busy Livin’ KPREPS Player of the Year Award

Carter Putz – Bishop Miege High School

Stacy Goedeke Scholarship

Mardi Traskowsky – Kansas State University

Haberbosch Family Scholarship

Megan Ensminger – Marmaton Valley High School

Makayla Brooks – Marmaton Valley High School

Bill House Hereford Scholarship

Colton Massey – Fort Hays State University

Kayla Signer – Coffeyville Community College

Kylar Walker – Sedan High School

Kalee Rhodes – Sedan High School

Hunter O’Toole – Ark City High school

Tyler Jeck Scholarship

Marci VanBecelaere – St. Mary’s Colgan High School

William Lehman History Scholarship

Tayton Majors – Fort Scott High School

Joe & Margarita Sauer Scholarship

Dan Mosier – Girard High School

Jaylynn Blythe – Girard High School

Short Family Fine Arts Scholarship

Matther Buck – Pittsburg High School

Cassie Hurt-McLarty – Pittsburg High School

Vinylplex, Inc. Scholarship

Zach Dee – Pittsburg State University

Austin Sievert – Kansas State University

Lukas Amershek – Frontenac High School

Tabitha Claeys – St. Mary’s Colgan High School

Bailey Henry – Pittsburg State University

Women's Health Fund Grants



The Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas Announces 2018 Rita J. Bicknell

Women’s Health Fund grant recipients


The Rita J. Bicknell Women’s Health Fund once again supports women’s health initiatives in the southeast Kansas surrounding area. In 2007, the establishment of the Rita J. Bicknell Women’s Giving Circle was the philanthropic beginning for women helping women in Southeast Kansas.  “To improve the health and well being of women by supporting education, increasing awareness, and sharing quality of life opportunities to benefit all women” is the mission of the Rita J. Bicknell (RJB) Women’s Health Fund. In 2012, the Circle of Friends giving circle grew out of the Women’s Giving Circle and today the RJB Women’s Health Fund is made up of the Women’s Giving Circle and the Circle of Friends. These giving circle memberships support area organizations through a granting process to promote their mission in southeast Kansas communities. Since its inception, the Rita J. Bicknell giving circles have generously given over $221,000 impacting women’s health in our community.

The Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas is pleased to be the host agency for the Rita J. Bicknell Women’s Health Fund, established in 2001. The Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas is a public non-profit Foundation.  Specifically, the Foundation serves the region helping individuals, businesses and municipalities fulfill their charitable giving goals in ways that benefit the common good and improve the quality of life. The Fort Scott Area Community Foundation and the Girard Area Community Foundation are affiliates. The Foundation inspires a passion for generosity in each community that we serve. The Foundation is an affiliate of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. If you would like to know more about the CFSEK or the Women’s Giving Circles, we invite you to visit the foundation website or call 620-231-8897.

The Rita J. Bicknell giving circles granted a total of $41,951 this year to worthy projects supporting women’s health throughout southeast Kansas area. The Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas would like to congratulate the following 2018 grant recipients:


Angels Among Us Inc.: Any and all financial Needs of cancer patients in the southeast Kansas area throughout their treatment process. 

Community Health Center of SEK, Inc.: Picture This…. Bringing State–of–the–Art Ultrasound into the Exam Room will purchase a portable diagnostic ultrasound system to be housed at the Cherokee County clinic but utilized at the Pittsburg facility as well. 

Labette Health Foundation: Emergency Room Gynecological Response Project will provide a gynecological cart to deal more rapidly and effectively with acute women’s health issues. 

Pittsburg State University School of Nursing: Super Tory, a Newborn High-Fidelity Simulator will offer students advanced neonatal patient simulation. 

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Four States: Family Resource Library will expand existing women’s and family resources at the Ronald McDonald House and add a resource library at the new Ronald McDonald Family Room. 

Special Olympics Kansas: Women’s Fitness Implementation will start a Fit Friends program between women with intellectual disabilities and friends or organizations within the community to be active and healthy together. 

Crawford County Health Department: The Lactation Station, which is sponsored by the Southeast Kansas Regional Breastfeeding Coalition, will provide space for breastfeeding families to nurse or express breastmilk at public events in area communities. 

Southeast Kansas Special Education Interlocal 637: Healthy Relationships project will purchase two sets of the CIRCLES Intimacy and Relationships Curriculum for instructional use with students with autism and developmental delays at the middle and high school level. 

Women’s Resource Center SEK: Educational Curriculum Upgrades: Supporting Women’s Health and Emotional Education will upgrade the center’s parenting, parenting toddlers, and special circumstance curriculum. 

The Women’s Health fund is proud to be able to contribute to the success of these organizations and projects in support of women and their health in the SEK region.

Stacy Goedeke Scholarship Established and Awarded




The Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas is pleased to announce the establishment and awarding of the Stacy Goedeke Scholarship. The scholarship was established by her family in memory of Stacy through memorial contributions following her death in 2017.


A graduate of Kansas State University, College of Agriculture, Stacy received a Bachelor of Science degree in Milling Science and Management in 2008. 

The Stacy Goedeke Scholarship fund was established to support an individual pursuing a grain science career who may not have qualified for other achievement based scholarships. Stacy was very proud to be a KSU Wildcat and her degree in Milling Science and Management was the foundation of a successful career.  Stacy was an independent, free-spirit who succeeded at living life to its fullest. She loved to travel, visit her friends and family and never met an adventure she did not want to experience. She loved rural life and had a special love for Kansas sunsets and prairies. During her youth, Stacy was an avid 4-H’er.  Priority for the scholarship recipients is given to individuals who can demonstrate a passion for grain science, strong work ethic, community involvement, and moral character.  

Scholarship funds will be distributed from the Stacy Goedeke Scholarship Fund through the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas.


The first recipient of the Stacy Goedeke Scholarship is Mardi Traskowsky.  Mardi will be a third year Milling Science and Management Operations student at Kansas State University this fall. She is currently interning in Ayer, Massachusetts. Mardi is from Herrington, KS.


Mardi was a natural choice for the Stacy Goedeke Scholarship based on her history of hard work, activity in 4-H, community involvement, and academic status.


We are Saddened by the Loss of CFSEK Founder, Grady Smoot

Joseph G. Smoot, better known as Grady, died recently at the age of 85 leaving a legacy of numerous contributions to history, education and philanthropy. Grady came to Pittsburg in 1984, after being born in Florida, raised in Tennessee, educated in the south, and having a successful early career in Maryland and Michigan as an educator and author. Grady resided in Pittsburg until his death earlier this month.  During that time, his energy and enthusiasm left many accomplishments to the Pittsburg community. A former Morning Sun Patrick's People article quoted Grady as saying, "I'm a great believer in philanthropy. It's been my life".


While living in Pittsburg, he was the Vice President of Development and Public Affairs at Pittsburg State University. During that time, he organized the PSU Foundation, established the public radio station KRPS, founded the University Magazine, and created a substantial endowment fund for University operations. He brought one of America's finest concert organs to the campus and provided funding for numerous building and renovation projects. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the University campus was a special project to him. After retirement, he returned as Assistant to the President of Pittsburg State University and vice president emeritus.

In 1994, he became a Director of Gold Bank Pittsburg and served for nine years in that capacity. In 1999, the Pittsburg City Commission appointed him to a four-year term to the Pittsburg Public Library Board of Trustees where he became a founder of the PPL Foundation in 2000 and its president in 2004. The Pittsburg City Commission appointed him to a second four-year term to the Board of Trustees in 2003. In 2001, he became a founder of the Pittsburg Area Community Foundation, now the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas, and served on its Board of Trustees.


We at the CFSEK are grateful to Grady for his role as a founder of the foundation 17 years ago and for his role in philanthropy and the development of many things 'good and great' in our community. Gordon Elliott, former founder and trustee member who served with Grady on the Pittsburg Area Community Foundation board, commented, "We of course all looked to Grady for his expertise when we set up the structure for the foundation. He was always affable, helpful and a pleasure to be with. Grady's obituary outlined many of his achievements in Pittsburg and helping to establish our Community Foundation was one of the important ones. I was fortunate to work with Grady on a number of occasions so I got a clear picture of the impact he had on our Foundation and the community."


If not for people like Grady, much to be done would still be in front of us instead of already accomplished.

Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas Raises $83,000 on Match Day In support of 17 local organizations


On November 28th, the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas hosted its second Match Day on National Giving Tuesday.  The purpose of the event was to celebrate giving back to the community on “Giving Tuesday”, the day proclaimed for giving and philanthropy.


The results were even greater than anticipated. CFSEK is extremely pleased to announce a grand Match Day total, including donations and match funding, in the amount of $110,339!  Private contributions raised $83,339 and an additional $27,000 in matching funds was given by the Community Foundation to the organizations on a pro-rated percentage basis.  The seventeen participating non-profit organizations benefited by increasing their endowed funds which will generate present and future income annually to address community needs.

“CFSEK is thrilled to be able to provide an opportunity such as Match Day to organizations who do so much for their community day in and day out.  It’s incredible to see so many people in our area come together in the spirit of generosity.  We are grateful to all who supported and contributed to our Match Day organizations” stated Community Foundation director, Kit Parks.