Meet Our Staff
The Greater Salina Community Foundation staff works both locally and throughout the region though our office in Salina, Kansas. Additionally, our affiliate directors live and work in the communities they serve.
President & Executive Director
Jessica joined the community foundation in 2010 and has served in many different roles, including affiliate and youth coordinator, grants and scholarships coordinator, and, now, president and executive director. Her experience has given her a thorough understanding of the community and helped develop strong relationships throughout the region.
Jessica grew up in Andover, Kansas, and received her B.S. degree at Kansas State University. She is married to husband, Aaron and mom to their sons Oliver and Jack. Her favorite part about the foundation is working with people and helping them make a difference.
Rita is a lifetime resident of Salina. Prior to joining GSCF in June of 2015, she worked in customer service and management for local Salina banks for 24 years, then spent nine years as the administrative assistant to the Executive VP/Provost at Kansas Wesleyan University. She and her husband Charles have two children and three grandchildren. She has been involved in Noon Network Ambucs for the past 20 years. Rita is a graduate of Brown Mackie College and is excited to be with the Greater Salina Community Foundation!
Director of Donor Services
Chris joined GSCF in February 2020. He was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas. After graduating from Kansas State University and earning his B.S. in Sociology, he earned his M.S. in Professional Leadership through Fort Hays State. In 2010, Chris got involved with coaching college women’s basketball for 8 years. Prior to GSCF Chris worked at Alert360 out of Wichita, dealing with surveillance and security systems. Chris is excited to build relationships throughout the region, help donors through their experience with the foundation, and work to connect donors and the nonprofits. Chris enjoys running and playing outside with the kids and his wife Tawni. Chris and Tawni have three kids, Skylar, Cooper, and Sydney.
Donor Services Coordinator
Jessica grew up in Salina and graduated from Salina South High School. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology with a minor in Business from Kansas State University. She has been a volunteer with the Love, Chloe Foundation for the past 13 years and previously worked as a Case Manager and Program Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Salina. Most recently, Jessica worked at Salina Regional Health Center as a member of the Physician Recruitment and Business Development team. Jessica and her husband, Matt, have four daughters, Emily, Grace, Katie and Olivia. They also have three spoiled dogs and a cat, Winston, Hazel, Harvey and Patrick. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys spending time with family and friends, kayaking, attending school activities, and volunteering. Jessica is excited to start her new role at the Greater Salina Community Foundation!
Director of Operations
Brandee grew up in Minneapolis, Kansas. After earning her Bachelor of Science from Kansas State University in Life Sciences, she lived in the Kansas City area for 14 years before returning to the region. She is married to her husband Brent, who is a local dentist, and is mom to their twins, Ava and Carter, and twin pups Duff and Dash. She worked in the healthcare field for almost 15 years before joining the Greater Salina Community Foundation in December 2016.
Director of Finance
Cole joined GSCF in August 2021. He is a Salina native who has returned home. Upon graduating from The University of Kansas with a degree in Economics, Cole worked at The Mortgage Company, a local Salina business, advancing to Chief Operating Officer. Most recently, he obtained a real estate license and was a realtor with the Keller Williams Integrity office in Lawrence. Cole is very appreciative of this special opportunity to re-connect with the Salina community and the surrounding area. He is excited to work with the GSCF staff and board to continue to provide and monitor solid and safe investments for the GSCF’s assets. Cole is looking forward to communicating with donors and prospective donors regarding the investment and spending policies of GSCF. In his free time, Cole enjoys hanging with family, watching the Kansas Jayhawks, and playing golf.
Shanna King joined GSCF in June 2022. She served as the Accounting Services Director to the Presbyterian Manor for 17.5 years prior to joining the GSCF team. She has been a Meals on Wheels volunteer to the Salina Community for the past 8 years. Shanna enjoys spending time with her family and grandchildren, hiking, camping, fitness and supporting the Kansas Jayhawks. She is looking forward to working with everyone on the GSCF team and expanding her business and personal relationships within the area.
Director of Grants & Scholarships
Jessica joined GSCF in February 2018. A Salina native, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Kansas Wesleyan University. Previously, Jessica has worked as the assistant winemaker at Smoky Hill Vineyards and Winery. For the last seven years, she served as the assistant director of admissions at Kansas Wesleyan University. Jessica and her husband, Andrew, have two children, Kinsley and Kace.
Affiliate Relations & Grants Coordinator
Natalie joined GSCF in August 2019. She grew up in Randall, Kansas, and earned a B.A. in Communication and B.S. in Physical Education (Recreation/Sports Management) with a field of emphasis in leadership studies from Fort Hays State University. Previously, Natalie worked in parks and recreation and education. She is actively engaged in her community and especially loves working with youth organizations. Natalie and her husband, David, have four children: Alana, Isaac, Evan and Odin. Together, they farm and raise their family near Solomon. Natalie also enjoys reading whenever she gets the chance and relaxing with family.
Grants & Scholarships Coordinator
Taylor is a proud Salina native. Prior to joining GSCF in 2021, Taylor taught eighth grade English Language Arts at Salina South Middle School for six years. She holds a B.S. in Education from Kansas State University and a M.S. in Education from Baker University. Taylor also served as a Teacher Representative on the Salina Education Foundation Board of Trustees and as the Allocations Chair on the SEF Grant Committee. One of Taylor’s passions is coaching, and she loves having the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the children and young adults in her community. She gets to explore that passion at her baton twirling studio, Taylor’s Twirlers, and as an assistant coach for Salina South High School Color Guard. Taylor is married to Phillip Urban and recently welcomed a son, Theodore, to their family.
Director of Marketing & Communications
Annika Wilson joined GSCF in November 2020. She was born and raised in Salina, Kansas. After graduating from the University of Kansas in Journalism and Mass Communications she moved to Phoenix, Arizona. While in Phoenix, Annika furthered her career in sales and marketing by working as the Marketing Director of a technology company and an Account Executive for a full service advertising agency. She completed her Master’s in Business Administration in 2010 and moved to Denver, Colorado in 2013 to be closer to family and take on a new marketing position for an out-patient surgery company. Annika recently moved back to Salina with her husband and is looking forward to using her marketing experience at the Greater Salina Community Foundation. Annika and her husband, Mike, have two daughters.
Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Jeree Hughbanks joined GSCF in June 2022. She grew up on a family farm in Grainfield, a small town in Western Kansas. After graduating from Kansas State University in Technology Management, she put roots down in Salina and began her career in the automotive industry as Videographer and Graphic Designer. She then moved into healthcare where she expanded her role as a Marketing Specialist, and helped bring specialty healthcare services to rural Kansans. Jeree and her husband, Shawn, have a dog, Baxter, who loves going on car rides, vacations, and getting all of the attention. In her free time, Jeree enjoys spending time with family and friends, attending nieces and nephews activities, volleyball, and of course playing with her fur-baby, Baxter. Jeree is excited to be more involved in the Salina community and help the foundation make an impact in the community.
Executive Director-Heartland Community Foundation
Executive Director Sarah Meitner has a passion for storytelling, promoting nonprofit programs, and ensuring that the region is thriving in sustainable ways for generations to come. She began her career more than 20 years ago in business journalism working at major metro newspapers, but transitioned to copywriting and marketing, with an emphasis in nonprofit work and development. That career change allowed her and her family to return home to Kansas. Sarah continued to provide freelance and contract work to businesses and other organizations, while also serving in an advocacy role for disability rights groups. She helped lead development of the Hays Accessible Recreation Complex (ARC Park) and was appointed by Gov. Jeff Colyer to the Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities. She looks forward to working with the Heartland Community Foundation board members, donors, and community partners to grow the foundation and enhance Ellis, Trego, and Rooks counties. Sarah is married to Chad Meitner and they have five children.
Executive Director-Solomon Valley Community Foundation
Julia Rabe is a Texas native who has lived in Beloit, Kansas for 6 years with her husband and 3 children. She is passionate about her community and what makes it special, the people. Her desire is to see Mitchell County continue to grow and thrive through relevance and relationships. She believes the quality of life we enjoy in North Central Kansas is a treasure to maintain for generations to come.
Director of Communications-Solomon Valley Community Foundation
Executive Director, Community Foundation for Cloud County
Brenda Gilliland was born and grew up in Plainville, Kansas. After earning a degree in Business Education from Fort Hays State University, she and her husband, Phil moved to Colby where she taught business classes at Colby Community College. In 1992 they moved to Concordia and Brenda continued her career as an educator, teaching accounting, business, and Microsoft Office applications at Concordia High School and concurrently for Cloud County Community College. Since leaving formal education in 2019, she has worked part-time in banking and remotely in agricultural real estate marketing. She looks forward to using her passion for helping and educating people by working with the wonderful residents of North Central Kansas to grow the Community Foundation for Cloud County. Brenda’s husband, Phil Gilliland, is a banker in Concordia. They have three grown children (Ryan, Eric, & Mallory), and five very active grandsons. Brenda enjoys watching CCCC baseball and is known for her yummy monster, chocolate chip, and chocolate mint cookies!
Executive Director-Ottawa County Community Foundation
Ashley joined our team in September 2022 to serve as the director of the Ottawa County Community Foundation. She is honored to accept the position due to her passion to serve in rural communities. Growing up on a farm in Jewell County, enjoying middle and high school years in rural Riley County, and now laying down roots in Ottawa County, she understands community and believes in building a strong foundation for sustainability. She is a follower of Christ, supportive wife, charismatic mother and creative entrepreneur. She, her husband, Keir, and their two boys, Madex and Rowen, love all things outdoors, anything with athletics and the competiveness in learning more! Ashley stresses that she does not do much without the amazing people and family she has around her, therefore any role she takes on, the credit goes to her teams. A "foundation" of community—what an opportunity!
Coordinator-Jewell County Community Foundation
Kyra joined the Jewell County Community Foundation in August 2022. A native of Jetmore, KS, she is proud to be a lifelong Kansan and has a passion for serving rural communities. Kyra graduated from Kansas State University in May 2021 with one Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies and another in Political Science. She is currently pursuing her Master's in Public Administration through Wichita State University's online program. Following graduation, Kyra moved to Courtland, KS, where she began working for JenRus Freelance as the Jewell County Community Development Coordinator. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, playing the violin, and keeping track of her dog, Roscoe.