Looking Ahead to 2017

Bringing a community back: Thrive moves to renovate Kress 5-10-25 Cent Store

In the Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George Bailey is gifted in a moment of crisis with the vision of what his life and work meant to the tiny community of Bedford Falls. In that spirit, we invite you to reflect on Thrive’s decade of service to Allen County, how life here is better because Thrive exists, and what you can do to help sustain these successes.

Thrive’s influence is felt in ways large and small, seen and unseen. There’s no question that, without the leadership of Thrive, there would not be a new hospital in Allen County. There would be no trail connecting Humboldt and Iola. There wouldn’t be a supermarket being built on the old hospital site, a community foundation, the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas clinic in Iola, a new playground in Elsmore, $3 million in new grant dollars brought into our county…and the list goes on.

The community mood would be different, too, without Thrive. Our county’s newfound emphasis on health and wellness—a rarity in middle America—probably wouldn’t exist. The sense of being “one county” wouldn’t exist among communities. And there probably wouldn’t be a belief among anyone that tomorrow can be better than today.

Ours is one of the few rural counties that is striving to turn itself around, and we are proud to have played in a role in creating the conditions to allow this spirit to flourish.

Looking back, we remember when it was questionable whether this fledgling organization would have staying power. Ten years later, those doubts are gone. Thrive is the largest and strongest organization of its kind in rural Kansas, and with 12 staff we are poised to do bigger and better things than ever before.

But with growth comes new challenges. After outgrowing two rental offices Thrive has purchased the former Kress Store on the east side of the Iola square as a permanent home that will allow us to continue our growth. A major renovation project is expected to begin next year to bring the building up to code and create modern office and public spaces on the first and second floors.
And, as with many renovation projects, it is more expensive than we had anticipated. We have a $30,000 gap in our project, and cannot begin until we raise this amount.

The purchase and renovation of this building into a revitalized community asset is one of many exciting projects for us as we move into 2017, and Thrive’s staff and board want to invite the community to participate in that project with us. The Kress Building is a highly visible sign that Thrive will be here for the long haul, and that our dedication to serve our community and improve our county’s health and well-being has not faded, but rather redoubled over the years.

As you consider your year-end giving in 2016 and look forward to giving in 2017, we ask that you think about the ways Thrive has touched your life and community, and consider financial gifts that can sustain that work for another decade. We are here to serve the community, and we hope that we can count on the community to sustain that service and help us build a solid financial foundation for Thrive’s future.

Thank you for considering our request, and for all the ways that you help build a better Allen County.


Brian D. Wolfe, MD


David C. Toland