Essay and ReflectionNon-Profit

What is the Kearney Enrichment Council?

by Kurt Hamilton

What is the Kearney Enrichment Council (KEC)? A question I hear almost daily in my position as the Executive Director of our 501(c)3 non-profit. Then I continue to speak about all the different programs and events we offer and get, “Oh wow! I have been to that before. I didn’t know that was the KEC.” We constantly work behind the scenes to bring all this programming without recognition. Did you know that more than 35,000 people attend events that the KEC organizes each year? Or that we have seventeen members of our staff that are paid, including three full-time positions? Or, my personal favorite, finding out that the Old Firehouse is run by the KEC.

I’m not looking for credit. What I crave instead is to inform more people about what we do. As we continue into our tenth year, there have been a lot of stimulating changes in Kearney. The splash pad project has been brought to fruition. Our senior programming has expanded its services to include exciting opportunities such as new exercise and social options. Youth camps tripled in size last year during a pandemic. We have even expanded our events to include the first-ever Christmas parade and annual Oktoberfest. Each of these programs takes time, talent, and donations to bring to life. Something that we always need more of.

My challenge for you as you read this is to imagine there was no KEC. What if we failed to reach our donation goals and could not survive? That would mean no Movies in the Park, Halloween Blast, or Christmas Parade. It would mean eliminating our local Farmer’s and Artisan Market, youth summer camps, and weekly senior programming. Our committees that talk monthly about downtown enhancements would dissolve. Would you even notice? You bet. Who would step up to support the community with these annual memory-creating events around the holidays?

And now, we need your support more than ever. This can be through donations, volunteering, or even finding a use for some extra items you have lying around the house. You can make a difference in your hometown. We offer a little bit of everything and are just waiting to see when you can start. Send me a message today at [email protected] to see how you can become Kearney’s next visionary.

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