Thank You, Meadowlark Friends!

By Becky Fitzgerald on May 11, 2023
Becky Fitzgerald, Development Director for Meadowlark Foundation, and Vern Henricks, President/CEO of GMCF.

Hip! Hip! HOORAY!! The 11th annual Grow Green Match Day, hosted April 21 by Greater Manhattan Community Foundation, was Meadowlark Foundation’s best ever in terms of the number of contributions received. According to the Leaderboard at, 88 friends of Meadowlark contributed a whopping $51,667 to benefit our Nursing Scholarship Program.

Our organization was one of 28 local non-profits receiving $20,000 or more, and so is eligible for the maximum match of $10,000. Add this amount to a prize of $100, won by  Meadowlark resident and Grow Green donor John Walters, and our unofficial grand total is a whopping $61,677 (rounding to the nearest dollar and subtracting credit card fees). Amazing!

Manhattan business man and philanthropist Phil Howe again is providing matching funds through Howe Family Foundation.

The financial boost to 95 community not-for profit organizations is expected to top $1.5 million. According to Kendra Kuhlman, GMCF’s Director of Program Services, the Community Foundation is in the process of verifying the gifts, with organizations receiving their final donation and matching totals once the reconciliation process is complete.

As was the case in 2022, a contribution from a longtime business partner of Meadowlark’s, BHS Construction, provided a significant boost to this year’s total. The company’s motto is “Build Together,” and according to Patrick Schutter, company president, BHS seeks opportunities to build up an organization’s programming and projects as well as meet their construction needs. Currently, BHS employees can be seen on the Meadowlark campus, steadily working toward completion of The Monarch, a three-story apartment tower.

GMCF shared the following Match Day numbers:

   ~ Total Dollars Donated: $1,552,275
   ~ Total Number of Gifts: 6329

GMCF is allowing organizations to receive all donations for their immediate use, with the matching money going into the nonprofits’ endowed funds at the community foundation.

“We try to make it possible for these non-profits to connect with philanthropists in the community,” said Vernon Henricks, GMCF’s president/CEO during an interview with KSNT News of Topeka. “A lot of times, (the organizations) are good at what they do, and sometimes, the organizations are very confidential, and nobody knows a lot about them, and the organizations don’t know about the philanthropists in the town. We try to make those connections.

“I tell people we are the original,” he added with a chuckle, referring to an online dating service.

Prior to the event, Meadowlark Foundation announced donations would support scholarships for current Meadowlark employees who would like to further their education to become licensed practical nurses or registered nurses. The 2023 scholarship recipient is Alexandria “Andria” Anderson, who currently works part-time as an aide for Meadowlark Home Health. She plans to study to be a licensed practical nurse at Manhattan Area Technical College.

Now in its fifth year, Meadowlark’s scholarship program rewards the initiative of talented current employees, while, in the future, providing Meadowlark’s licensed care households with highly trained staff in what appears to be a perpetual nurses shortage. Employees who receive a scholarship agree to work at Meadowlark for at least two years following graduation.

Meadowlark’s 2023 giving total appears to have earned the seventh spot on the Grow Green Leaderboard. Shepherd’s Crossing, No Stone Unturned Foundation, and Be Able finished first through third in dollars raised.

Thank you to everyone who helped make Manhattan’s and Meadowlark’s “green” grow significantly! Your generosity is contributing to our short-term and future success.