Partner Feature: Topeka Community Foundation

By NetWork Kansas



Connecting the Dots between Community Development and Economic Development
The Topeka Community Foundation spotlights its impact in new video

In 2016, the Topeka Community Foundation recognized an opportunity to leverage its role of providing donor services, performing grant making and convening the community to lead on issues of importance. Through economic development philanthropy, the foundation began mobilizing attention and funding on some of the challenges facing the Topeka community.

“Our purpose for stepping into this work was to provide the credibility for the idea of inclusive prosperity and the leadership and resources to begin making change,” said Marsha Pope, President of the Topeka Community Foundation in a new video the foundation produced to explain their shift.

NetWork Kansas has worked in close partnership with the Foundation to help make funding and resources available as the foundation worked to incorporate “Impact Investing” or – investments made to generate a positive social impact while also producing a financial return  – as a strategy to implement its more aggressive philanthropic approach.

What’s resulted: the Topeka Community Foundation is now seen as a catalyst for projects that have included transforming an empty childcare center in a low-income community to a thriving preschool campus in collaboration with SENT (Strengthening and Equipping Neighborhoods Together) as well as helping Habitat for Humanity launch a new approach to affordable housing through its House to Home initiative.

“We are ready to invest in those who need us the most,” said Tara Dimick, Vice Chair of the Topeka Community Foundation in the video, “and we have the partnerships across the community and the state committed to the same goal. Even more than that, we’re investing in our people and our future.”

NetWork Kansas’ President and CEO, Steve Radley, encourages people to view the video to understand the shifts the organization made to its philanthropic approaches:

“It’s a great way to show the path they took from considering doing impact investing (through loans) to actual execution,” Radley said.

Please click here to view the entire video.


About NetWork Kansas:
NetWork Kansas, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, is dedicated to making entrepreneurship a priority for economic and community development in the State of Kansas. NetWork Kansas connects aspiring entrepreneurs, emerging and established businesses, to a deep network of business-building and community development resource organizations across the state. NetWork Kansas is also the home of e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems (e2). e2 provides best practice solutions to entrepreneurial ecosystem building in Kansas and nationally.
NetWork Kansas facilitates the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem within participating communities through the E-Community Partnership. Contributing factors to successful development include availability of financial capital, support by local leadership and development of educational resources. All of these factors combine to increase entrepreneurial activity in participating towns, leading to increased startup activity, business expansion, job creation and more. For more information about NetWork Kansas, visit or call 877.521.8600.


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