Philanthropist of the Year

2013 Recipients

Bill Parker, McPherson Area Habitat for Humanity was recognized as the 2013 Philanthropist of the Year. The organization received a $1000 grant on Bill’s behalf.

BILL PARKER. After retiring as principal of the McPherson High School, Bill began another career as a volunteer. He has volunteered for the Cedars, the McPherson Optimist Club, the American Red Cross, First Baptist Church, and the nominating organization – McPherson Area Habitat for Humanity.

Since Habitat for Humanity’s inception in McPherson County in 1992, the organization has built 26 houses for 26 low income families – 15 of which have     been built since Bill joined the organization in 2002.

An excerpt from the nomination form: “We call Bill our “Volunteer Executive Director”! Bill organizes and schedules all of our builds. That means scheduling building contractors, building materials and vendors, and of course volunteers for the builds. Our partner families are required to put at least 200 hours of sweat equity into the house they are building. Bill works alongside those families to help them work their hours. He is at each building site most days that work is being done. Bill manages our website which provides information for volunteers and housing applicants. He serves on all of our committees – finance, family selection, family advocate, building and site selection committee. He organizes monthly board meetings and agenda and he is the contact for communication between the public and Habitat for Humanity. Since we are an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, Bill serves as the conduit for communication between the two partner entities. As you can see, this is a full-time job.”

Circles of McPherson County received a $750 grant on Neisha’s behalf.

NEISHA DAHLSTROM. Awareness of poverty in McPherson’s community increased for members of the congregation, when the First United Methodist Church partnered with Head Start to house the Hand in Hand Academy. Eyes became open to the disparity some families faced economically in this county. Neisha Dahlstrom became restless in a pursuit to “do something”. She began to invite people to the table for discussion and an extended study as to how to make a difference in families’ lives who lived day in and day out with very little resources.

Countless hours of phone calls, research and searching led Neisha to the Circles Initiative. Investigation and recruitment from the church and other community members resulted in Bi-weekly, then weekly meetings to focus on bringing Circles to McPherson County. The primary need for the immense task of beginning a Circles initiative in a community is to have a Champion- a point person passionate about the cause. Someone, who is willing to sacrifice their own life for an extended amount of time to build the organization; clearly this Champion is Neisha.

Her unending dedication to the families served by Circles of McPherson County, plays out in her life every single day. Besides serving as the Organization’s president and serving on the Resource Team- she never stops sharing the how and the why’s of Circles. From phone calls, meetings and conversations with friends in the grocery store, church or the office, she is always gathering more people to the dream of seeing poverty end in the lives of local families.

A quote from the nomination form: “To exemplify the depth and breadth of Neisha’s commitment, one needs only to look into her eyes and hear her voice when she speaks of what Circles is doing.”

Angels’ Attic received a $500 grant on behalf of Ruby and Delonna.

Angels Attic in Moundridge provides gently used clothing and household items at no cost. The motto has become “Share what you have….Take what you need…. Pay it forward.” In a world that is overstuffed, people have been encouraged to recycle. Angels’ Attic exists as an outlet for those items no longer needed for one but useful to another. No conditions are placed on why people come to shop or what is taken out. This is not a place for handouts, rather, hand-in-hand needs are met. By paying it forward, all improve.

In the business of meeting people’s needs, relationship building is #1 priority at the Attic. Angels’ Attic brings the diversity of community together, across gender lines, class lines, professional lines, and religious lines. Two women, Ruby Jantzen and Delonna Barnett serve as the volunteer co-directors. Both have gone the extra mile to make sure that Angels’ Attic open five days a week and running smoothly. They not only volunteer at the facility, but also on off hours work to help improve relationship between volunteers and work as a unit. They coordinate other organizations that want to come in and work to improve the functionality of the Attic. Many off hours are spent in getting supplies and keeping the Attic in presentable condition.


Past Recipients


  • LaVon Ediger - ReUse It Center
  • Sondra Frank – McPherson County Resource Council
  • David Nigh – McPherson Opera House

2011 – Jim and Barb Greischar
2010 – Jeff and Sue Odermann
2009 – Patsy Magelssen
2008 – Jim Loving

Guests @ the 2012 Reception