The Kansas Health Foundation isn’t the only nonprofit group benefiting from Deanell Tacha’s 18 years of service on the organization’s board.
This week, Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area will receive a $25,000 grant in recognition of Tacha’s contributions to the Kansas Health Foundation’s board.
“This is a pretty major contribution for us,” said Judy Billings, executive director of Freedom’s Frontier, an organization with its headquarters in Lawrence that connects Civil War-era heritage sites in 41 counties along the Kansas and Missouri border.
Tacha, a U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals judge who lives in Lawrence, has reached her term limit on the Kansas Health Foundation Board. As each board member leaves, the Kansas Health Foundation has made a tradition of donating $25,000 to the board member’s favorite charity as a way to honor him or her.
In the case of Tacha, that charity is Freedom’s Frontier, where she chairs the board of trustees.
“Over the years, I’ve been very, very honored to be involved in so many things that affect the health of Kansans. So I’m grateful to them,” Tacha said of her work with the Kansas Health Foundation. “And it means a lot to a fledgling organization like Freedom’s Frontier.”
During her time on the Kansas Health Foundation board, Tacha has helped establish leadership programs, community foundations and research on public health policy issues.
As for Freedom’s Frontier, Tacha has been working with the organization for more than a decade.
“She is our biggest cheerleader and spokesperson. She is the most enthusiastic and articulate of anyone we have,” Billings said.
The $25,000 donation will go toward developing a comprehensive heritage map — both in print and online — that overlays the important events connected to conflicts leading up to and during the Civil War. The map will show battle sites, locations that were burned by border ruffians and Free Staters and the route William Quantrill took during his raid of Lawrence.
“If we don’t pull these things out and present them to the public, they will just be buried and go away,” Billings said.
For Tacha, both her work on the Kansas Health Foundation and Freedom’s Frontier shared a common goal.
“At their heart, each is dedicated to enriching the lives of Kansans,” she said.