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Kansas Beats the Virus initiative mobilized 7,000 Kansans

February 1, 2021


‘Kansas Beats the Virus’ project mobilized 7,000 Kansans

launching 827 action plans to combat COVID across the state

Wichita, Kan. – “Kansas Beats the Virus”– a statewide, bi-partisan public health intervention to combat the spread of COVID-19 – has concluded its initial phase which resulted in more than 7,000 Kansans from 72 counties participating in 851 meetings that led to the implementation of 827 unique action plans across the state.

“Kansas Beats the Virus” is a partnership between the Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). The effort was announced on November 18, 2020 at Governor Laura Kelly’s press conference as part of the state’s “all-of-the-above” strategy to keep Kansans healthy, keep schools and businesses open and protect Kansas’ economy.

“KLC’s statewide network of partners and 12,000 leadership program graduates stepped up to the plate and hit this one out of the park! Over five weeks – which included the holidays – there were virtual meetings convening in all corners of the state. At one point, we had 100 meetings scheduled for each of three days in a row. This was an incredible example of how KLC’s network could be mobilized for the sake of the greater good of Kansas and it was an honor to be called on for this purpose,” said Ed O’Malley, president and CEO of the Kansas Leadership Center.

Bennington zoom meetingSince late November, leaders across Kansas – pastors, coaches, high school classes, 4-H clubs, neighborhood leaders, business owners, community officials, volunteers and everyday Kansans – have convened and facilitated virtual meetings with neighbors and community members. Those gathered identified, discussed and created action plans to combat the spread of COVID-19 within their community.

Today, the action plans that were created continue to be put into action across the state with the support of mini grants.

The project was funded by the state of Kansas through the federal CARES Act. Of the funds, $800,000 was available to implement the action plans across the state. Recently, the Kansas Health Foundation – the nonprofit organization that established KLC in 2007 – contributed an additional $50,000 for those grants, making a total of $850,000 available to execute 318 action plans in communities across Kansas. Other groups used their own funds to purchase supplies and printing or sought out in-kind donations from local businesses.

“We’ve seen action plans for all kinds of great ideas – from organizing pen pals for seniors stuck at home to yard signs printed in Spanish, billboards with COVID safety reminders and exercise equipment given away as a way to stay healthy while staying home. These grants helped organizations make their action plan possible,” said Julia Fabris McBride, vice president of the Kansas Leadership Center.

The Kansas Beats the Virus effort resulted in:

  • More than 7,000 Kansans from 72 counties mobilized
  • 851 meetings convened
  • 827 action plans launched
  • 318 projects awarded funds
  • $850,000 funded action plans

A sampling of action plans that emerged from local meetings:

  • The congregation at Tyro Christian Church in Independence organized teams to deliver meals to people who were sick, quarantined or reluctant to leave their homes.
  • The Emporia Public Library plans to create Family Grab and Go Kits consisting of COVID information sheets, coupons for food and entertainment and board games to encourage families to stay home.
  • The 4:10 Irish Den Youth Facility in Chapman plans to create a heated outdoor space where young people can convene to socialize or study while remaining in compliance with social distancing requirements.
  • Rise Up for Youth in Wichita plans to hold a social media contest encouraging young people to take selfies while wearing a mask to show that wearing a mask is “cool,” and not just something you’re forced to do.
  • The Verde Clover 4-H Club of Riley County are making 100 goodie bags for the frontline workers in the Latinx community.

Learn more about the Kansas Beats the Virus campaign and read in-depth stories on some of the action plans on the KLC website. Discover 21 easy-to-implement ideas to inspire others to take action in their Kansas community.


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.


Carrie Lindeman
[email protected]


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