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February 16, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 1,162 Kansans led ‘Kansas Beats the Virus’ effort to conclusion,
launched 1,010 action projects to combat COVID-19 across state

 

Wichita, Kan. – “Kansas Beats the Virus” (KBTV) – a public health partnership between the Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) – has reached the end of its nearly 14-month run as a statewide, public health intervention to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Kansas. Between May 1 and December 31, 2021, the second phase of the effort resulted in 1,162 Kansans serving as conveners and partners to implement 1,010 unique action projects that reached an estimated 1.35 million Kansans across the state.

Kansas Beats the Virus was an extraordinary effort that relied upon the participation of our statewide network of partners and 12,000 leadership program graduates. Because of their dedication and tenacity, we surpassed our goal of launching 1,000 action projects across Kansas during the second and final phase of this initiative in 2021,” said Julia Fabris McBride, vice president of the Kansas Leadership Center.

Kansas Beats the Virus Dashboard graphic

“The KBTV initiative moved the needle for accessible and widely available vaccination clinics throughout Douglas County.  Action plans for on-site vaccination clinics with community partners provided the opportunity to vaccinate 751 individuals in our community, and to have questions answered about the vaccine and Covid by public health professionals at each event. The mission of DCCF is to enrich the quality of lives of Douglas County citizens, and the KBTV campaign positively changed the health and well-being of our entire community.”

Heather Hoy

Director of Philanthropy and Community Relations, Douglas County Community Foundation

The first phase of KBTV took place during the last six weeks of 2020. At that time, nearly 4,600 Kansans participated in community meetings that resulted in creating 827 action projects. To continue the momentum, Kansas Beats the Virus was extended in 2021 for a second phase as a more robust mass action civic engagement effort focused on the goal of launching 1,000 community-based action projects in just eight months.

“At the end of 2020, the disproportionate impact of COVID on racially and ethnically diverse populations became clear. We also knew from research conducted by KLC’s Third Floor Research that tapping into personal networks makes all the difference in engagement on community issues. With these factors in mind, our efforts in 2021 allowed for a racially and ethnically diverse group of community members to be reached, engaged and energized to take on this initiative,” said Dennis Clary, director of custom civic engagement at the Kansas Leadership Center.

“Our vaccination clinic more than met our expectations during a time when very few people were getting vaccinated.”

Lance Carrithers

Senior Pastor, Woodlawn United Methodist Church, Derby, Kansas

In 2021, KLC called on partners, alumni, and existing and new friends to recruit untapped communities in the “movable middle,” and engaged with referrals from local, civically engaged community members across Kansas.

People like Peggy Jones-Foxx, president and CEO of Wichita Black Nurses Association; Lance Carrithers, senior pastor at Woodlawn United Methodist Church in Derby; Leslie Fleuranges, owner of Tender Loving Care Pet Nursing Hotel in Topeka; Heather Hoy, director of philanthropy and community relations of the Douglas County Community Foundation; and Phil Black, president of Kansas Public Media Center, Inc.

These networks convened and facilitated meetings with neighbors and community members with the purpose of creating action projects that encouraged COVID testing and vaccination as well as distributing PPE.

Examples of action plans that emerged from local meetings:

  • The Wichita Black Nurses Association partnered with St. Mark United Methodist Church in Wichita to host a vaccination clinic.
  • Personal Touch Events provided N95 masks to Cloud County Community College nursing students.
  • New Bethel Church in Wyandotte County celebrated their seventy-third anniversary with a block party and classical/sports car show while providing COVID testing and vaccinations.

Wichita Black Nurses Association

partnered with St. Mark United Methodist Church in Wichita to host a vaccination clinic.

Personal Touch Events

provided N95 masks to Cloud County Community College nursing students.

New Bethel Church

in Wyandotte County celebrated its 73rd anniversary with a block party and classical/sports car show while providing COVID testing and vaccinations.

New Bethel Church

in Wyandotte County celebrated its 73rd anniversary with a block party and classical/sports car show while providing COVID testing and vaccinations.

New Bethel Church

in Wyandotte County celebrated its 73rd anniversary with a block party and classical/sports car show while providing COVID testing and vaccinations.

New Bethel Church

in Wyandotte County celebrated its 73rd anniversary with a block party and classical/sports car show while providing COVID testing and vaccinations.

New Bethel Church

in Wyandotte County celebrated its 73rd anniversary with a block party and classical/sports car show while providing COVID testing and vaccinations.

New Bethel Church

in Wyandotte County celebrated its 73rd anniversary with a block party and classical/sports car show while providing COVID testing and vaccinations.

“The financial support and human resource support provided to the Wichita Black Nurses Association by Kansas Beats the Virus Initiative empowered us; like Florence Nightingale of long ago, we fearlessly served the Wichita Community during the Covid-19 Pandemic.  We not only have a dream we have a plan!”

Peggy Jones-Foxx, LPN, BA, MAJ

President and Chief Executive Officer, Wichita Black Nurses Association

“Being involved in the KBTV program for 2021 allowed me to help several small businesses increase their awareness in the community by offering wellness resources to their customers and constituents during the pandemic.”

Leslie Fleuranges

Founder, Tender Loving Care Pet Nursing Hotel, Topeka, Kansas

Of the 1,010 action projects launched across Kansas, a majority (53%) of the participants were racially and ethnically diverse. While Kansans from 24 counties completed action projects in their local communities, 94% of the action projects were completed in just three counties: Sedgwick (420), Shawnee (337) and Wyandotte (81).

KBTV Projects by County graphic
KBTV web app users by Race and ethnicity

To support the implementation of their community action projects, groups could apply for a mini grant of up to $2,000. A total of $1,425,000 was made available through federal funding. In addition, some groups used their own funds to purchase supplies and printing or sought out in-kind donations from local businesses.

The 2021 Kansas Beats the Virus effort resulted in:

  • Estimated outreach to 1.35 million Kansans among 24 counties
  • 1,097 meetings completed (Goal: 1,000)
  • 1,010 action projects launched (Goal: 1,000)
  • 934 projects awarded funds
  • $1,424,343 distributed in mini grants

Learn more about the Kansas Beats the Virus campaign and read in-depth stories on some of the action plans on the KLC website.

“KLC made it clear – and we agree – that arguing is the least effective method. One thing we did that seemed to have very positive effects was to wear buttons. The first one we had said, ‘I’m vaxxed! How about you?’ The second one was a play on music, ‘Let’s get (vaxxed) together!”

Phil Black

Musician and President, Kansas Public Media Center, Inc., Salina, Kansas

Learn more about the Kansas Beats the Virus campaign or read more news from KLC.

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About the Kansas Leadership Center

The Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) is a singular educational organization founded to foster civic leadership for healthier Kansas communities. Its programs and teachings present leadership as an activity available to anyone at any time. KLC offers training for organizations, teams and individuals as well as advanced programs for leadership development practitioners. It provides development grants for civically oriented organizations in Kansas, partners with community leadership programs and offers customized trainings for businesses and non-profits alike. KLC hosts civic leadership forums and encourages Kansans to take active part in public life for the common good. KLC Press publishes books on leadership and The Journal, a nationally recognized, award-winning civic issues magazine. Based in Wichita, KLC receives core funding from the Kansas Health Foundation. Learn more.

 
MEDIA CONTACT:

Carrie Lindeman
316-393-1076
[email protected]