Governor Laura Kelly Announces 12 “Rural Champions” Leading Local Community Efforts

Joe Denoyer - October 18, 2022 11:19 am

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced the 12 grant recipients of the Rural by Choice Champions Program (Rural Champions) that launched earlier this year in collaboration with the Patterson Family Foundation. The selected Rural Champions will be a part of a statewide network of grassroots individuals tackling critical projects in their respective communities.

Inspired by a Kansas Sampler Foundation program, the Office of Rural Prosperity created the Rural Champions program as a way for rural communities to move the needle in areas where a lack of capital or other resources hinders progress. The Rural Champion program provides a one-year stipend to communities and pairs them with a team that will provide training and resources to accomplish a critical community project.

The 2022 Rural by Choice Champions include:

City of Harper, Harper County – Housing Champion
City of Kingman, Kingman County – Child care Champion
Clay County – Child care Champion
Community Foundation for Independence, Montgomery County – Trails and Wellness Champion
Dodge City, Ford County – Child care Champion
Graham County – Economic Development and Entrepreneurship Champion
Junction City, Geary County –Entrepreneurship Champion
Lincoln County – Placemaking and Workforce Champion
Linn County – Housing Champion
Morton County – Mental Health Champion
Oberlin Unified School District 294, Decatur County – Child care Champion
Wallace County – Community Development Champion

“We received many outstanding applications – making the selection of 12 communities very competitive,” Director of the Office of Rural Prosperity Trisha Purdon said. “We are excited to work with these communities over the next year in building replicable processes that can be shared with communities across the state.” 

Rural Champions will work with the Office of Rural Prosperity throughout the project completion. At the completion of the projects, information will be compiled in the form of guidebooks that will be made available to support additional communities. More information on the Rural Champions program is available at

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