Category Archives: Nonprofit

Haysville leaders and residents are weary of being ‘portrayed as illiterate bumpkins’

The Gridiron cast usually makes Haysville jokes as an aside, not a full skit. Still, the city is not amused by them.

The Gridiron cast usually makes Haysville jokes as an aside, not a full skit. Still, the city is not amused by them.

UPDATED — The joke’s on them, and Haysville leaders and residents are not amused.

“We request that you remove all jokes about Haysville and other area communities from Gridiron,” said Haysville Mayor Bruce Armstrong in a Thursday e-mail to several people involved with the show.

Gridiron is an annual satirical production put on by the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists to spoof the news and raise scholarship money for journalism students.

Armstrong said “compromising the well being of the citizens and businesses of Haysville with snide, hurtful and untrue remarks is not an acceptable means to securing the funds for those scholarships.”

Armstrong’s wife, Susan Armstrong of Armstrong Chamberlin Strategic Marketing, also wrote to “respectfully request that you reconsider any skits that portray an entire city–any city–as ignorant or toothless, or cheap. It’s the equivalent of bullying, and it shouldn’t be done.”

She said that “Haysville is growing weary of having our whole community portrayed as illiterate bumpkins. We are working hard to improve the awareness of all the wonderful qualities our city has to offer. Every time you mention Haysville at Gridiron, you hurt our efforts.”

John Burke, superintendent of schools for Haysville USD 261, wrote, “I find this counterproductive to our image campaign and am respectively requesting that you stop making fun of Haysville as part of your production.”

One resident wrote to invite those involved with Gridiron to visit Haysville for a tour – along with coming up with new material and giving Haysville a break.

Sedgwick County Commissioner Tim Norton, who regularly attends Gridiron and spars with the cast, says enough probably is enough.

“Well, I’ve always been a very, very good sport with the sarcasm, the innuendo, the poking and everything,” he says. Norton says, though, the joke is wearing thin.

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You don’t say

“We aren’t much accustomed to third-place finishes at Wichita State.”

WSU director of athletics Eric Sexton, who says he hopes “the Shocker Nation” step ups and votes angry for Coach Gregg Marshall in the Infiniti Coaches’ Charity Challenge to benefit the Wichita Children’s Home

You don’t say

“Dawson who?”

Rene Steven’s response to car dealer Dawson Grimsley’s goading challenge to raise money on Saturday for the Salvation Army’s Mission of Hope

You don’t say

“Obviously, I’m a lot better salesman than she is.”

– Car dealer Dawson Grimsley once again goading Spangles spokeswoman Rene Steven, who is one of ten celebrities trying to raise $40,000 in three hours on Saturday for the Salvation Army’s Mission of Hope

Lord’s Diner to start a food truck

WICHITA — Food trucks are so popular, even God is getting one.

Well, his diner is anyway.

The Lord’s Diner is going to begin operating a food truck this month and park it at the Evergreen Recreation Center near 26th and Arkansas.

“It’s for everyone – particularly people in need,” says Lord’s Diner director Jan Haberly.

The Kansas Food Bank suggested that area, which is where Cloud Elementary School is. Haberly says about 90 percent of the school’s lunches are free or reduced in price.

“That’s kind of a key that there’s need in that area.”

Even before the food truck craze hit Wichita a couple of years ago, the Lord’s Diner started considering a truck.

Someone on the Lord’s Diner board saw a similar nonprofit truck in Texas several years ago.

“We were looking at ways to expand our mission, and we just thought that was kind of a cool idea,” Haberly says.

Starting Sept. 23, the truck with be at the rec center from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. every Monday through Thursday, which is what worked for the center.

Haberly says the Lord’s Diner wanted a dining area for potential truck patrons, which the rec center is providing. She says the Lord’s Diner didn’t want to use someone else’s kitchen, though.

“We keep the food safety controls in our hands.”

Haberly says the Lord’s Diner wants the flexibility of a truck to potentially drive to other sites as well. There are already discussions about a second truck.

Each of the free truck meals will have a meat, starch, vegetable and fruit or salad along with dessert.

“We try and do a balanced meal,” Haberly says.

The truck doesn’t have an official name, though Haberly teasingly named it while working on it recently.

“I named it Francis today after the pope.”

Envision closes Kansas City plant, lays off 30 employees while restructuring

WICHITA — Envision has closed a Kansas City manufacturing plant and laid off 21 people there and nine in Wichita, but new president and CEO Michael Monteferrante says he’s instituting a restructuring that will position the nonprofit to flourish.

“Obviously, it’s a very difficult and painful situation to lay off employees, especially blind (employees),” he says. “Sometimes it takes a very tough decision.”

Monteferrante says the government’s sequestration “has caused a reduction of revenue of about 36 percent at Envision, which is a tough situation because 92 percent of our revenue is generated through the United States military.”

Although Envision has done what Monteferrante calls a “magnificent job” in expanding services for the blind and visually impaired, he says, “What we’ve done is we’ve remained very one dimensional on our revenue stream, which is making bags for the military.”

Envision manufactures a variety of plastic bags.

“We have to focus on diversification,” Monteferrante says. “We’re not going to be so dependent on the government.”

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Wichita Habitat for Humanity moving to Inter-Faith Ministries building

WICHITA — Wichita Habitat for Humanity is getting a new habitat of its own.

The nonprofit is moving into the building that Inter-Faith Ministries owns at 829 N. Market.

“We’ll be in business there on July 1,” says Habitat executive director Ann Fox.

“We’ll have our own entrance,” she says.

Habitat’s address will be 130 E. Murdock since its entrance is on that street.

“That’s important to us that we have our own identity in that building,” Fox says.

She also likes that it’s close to residential areas.

“So it’s more comfortable and accessible for families that we serve.”

Currently, Habitat is at 420 E. English just east of Intrust Bank Arena. Habitat’s lease is up.

Fox says that building has been great, but she says, “As a conscientious not-for-profit, you always look for what is out there.”

The Inter-Faith lease is at a good price, Fox says.

“That becomes a nice benefit for us,” she says. “This is a very economic decision for us.”

At the new space, Habitat will have 2,200 square feet for its offices and another 2,200 square feet of common area that it will share with other tenants.

Carl Hebert of InSite Real Estate Group handled the deal.

“He is just incredible,” Fox says. She says Hebert “made our decision making easy.”

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Saint Francis Community Services to take 30,000 square feet at the former Office This

WICHITA — Saint Francis Community Services, which is taking over child welfare services previously provided by Youthville, is going to occupy 31,000 square feet at the former Office This.

The organization currently operates in about 4,000 square feet on North Amidon.

“We have to significantly expand that space,” says John Hoskins, vice president of marketing for the Salina-based group.

Saint Francis will occupy space that technically was part of the Office This development at 4031 E. Harry but wasn’t in the main area that was rented for office and conference space.

Developer Max Cole has closed that space in anticipation of a new tenant that will take as much as 100,000 square feet, though the deal isn’t done. The Saint Francis deal is separate from that.

In 1996, Kansas privatized management of its child welfare system that handles foster care, adoption services, residential treatment facilities and family preservation services.

There are five groups that bid on contracts to handle those services every four years.

Saint Francis won work for the next four years in two regions, including the Wichita region which is comprised of Wichita and almost a dozen surrounding counties.

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Kansas Legal Services to move to former Rainbows United space downtown

WICHITA — The Wichita office of Kansas Legal Services is moving to a new home not far from its existing one.

The organization, which is based in Topeka, has offices in 11 counties throughout the state and offers a variety of legal aid to a variety of people and groups.

Currently, the Wichita office is in 7,000 square feet at 200 N. Broadway.

The new office is at 340 S. Broadway where Rainbows United used to be.

“This building is better suited for our needs,” says Rhonda Sullivan, managing attorney.

The new 8,400 square feet will offer more storage space and a conference room, which she says “makes me really happy.”

Sullivan says Kansas Legal Services has been in its current space a dozen years.

“We’ve changed a lot in those years.”

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Michael Monteferrante named Envision CEO

WICHITA — The fixer is back.

Michael Monteferrante, the turnaround specialist who first came to Wichita in 2003 as CEO of Optima Bus, is returning as the new president and CEO of Envision.

“It’s a nonprofit, and we didn’t know if someone with as entrepreneurial spirit as Michael has would want to make the leap to the nonprofit world,” says Sam Williams, chairman of Envision’s board.

“This opportunity I’m looking at completely different than I have at previous opportunities of employment,” Monteferrante says. “I can’t be more excited than to take all the things I’ve learned over the years and apply it to a company that helps people.”

In addition to serving the blind and low-vision community through services and education, Envision is the second-largest employer of blind and low-vision people nationally. Envision Industries has a number of production and distribution divisions.

“I’ve always been extremely passionate about the mission of Envision,” Monteferrante says.

He still remembers his first tour of the Envision plant on Water Street years ago.

“I could not tell who was blind and who wasn’t, and I just said, ‘Wow. I want to be a part of this. This is one of the most inspirational plant tours I’ve had.’”

Monteferrante sees bigger things for Envision, though.

“While it has grown – it’s grown tremendously over the years – I believe that the boundaries of growth for the mission of Envision … are endless,” he says. “I’ve always felt that the mission at Envision could be more than a Wichita-based, Kansas-based situation.”

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