Annual Meeting 2023

UCS Hosts Annual Meeting with Highlights from the Year

Nearly 100 community members gathered at Johnson County Community College on Friday, December 8 for the United Community Services 2023 Annual Meeting.

The event celebrated community partnerships, reflected on UCS's accomplishments over the past year, and honored several Human Service Award winners for their contributions. UCS also welcomed incoming board members for 2024-2026, including Judge Jenifer Ashford, Reverend Cheryl Jefferson Bell, Rogeana Patterson-King, Nolan Sunderman, and Vicki Webster. In addition, Dr. L. Michael McCloud was nominated for a second three-year board term. The board recognized and thanked departing board members for their service, including Janet Barrow, Marshaun Butler, Rev. Adam Hamilton, and Beccy Yocham.

UCS Executive Director Kristy Baughman led a presentation called “UCS at Work” to highlight several key initiatives and partnerships in 2023:

  • UCS published several fact sheets to illuminate needs and identify gaps in our community, from data about those experiencing homelessness in our community to snapshots of the lives of Johnson County seniors. Each of those data points helps us paint a picture of Johnson County and helps us to illuminate needs and identify gaps. The research and data analysis work helps our community to better understand important realities, such as the fact that nearly 40% of people in our county experiencing homelessness are employed, or that 30% are fleeing domestic violence, or that more than 3 in 5 seniors pay at least 30% of their income on housing costs. This data highlights where support and resources are most needed.
  • In 2022, $437,830 committed by local jurisdictions was distributed as grants to local nonprofits through the Human Service Fund. This resulted in 19 HSF grantees providing more than 221,000 units of service to 61,000 individuals in Johnson County, including nearly 23,000 medical/dental appointments and screenings; more than 45,000 meals, and more than 12,000 nights of safe shelter.
  • In 2022, 23 agencies, including school districts, received $1,898,797 in funding through the Alcohol Tax Fund grant review process, administered by the Drug and Alcoholism Council and supported by UCS. Over 42,000 Johnson County residents received direct services related to substance abuse education, prevention, intervention, treatment, or recovery through these programs. In 2023, UCS developed a framework to expand the Alcohol Tax Fund (ATF) annual competitive grant process to incorporate a second funding source - local opioid settlement funds – which will allow for expansion in Johnson County’s continuum of care that addresses substance abuse. In 2024, ATF will be called the Substance Use Continuum of Care Fund or SUF, supported by the contribution of $2,943,318 in alcohol tax and opioid settlement funds from Johnson County and ten cities. This substantial increase in funding allows funding for additional competitive applications as well as programs that fill gaps and create additional linkages in Johnson County’s continuum of care addressing substance use through substance use education and prevention programs, including mental health supports, as well as intervention, treatment, recovery and reintegration programs to ensure that Johnson Countians in recovery can remain in recovery.
  • In August, UCS launched the second program year of Racial Equity in Community (REIC), a leadership development program to support the implementation of culturally responsive systems change in Johnson County governmental jurisdictions. REIC provides a customized series of workshops and technical assistance to a community of practice that includes residents, staff, and elected officials from jurisdictions in Johnson County, KS. This year, the cities of Overland Park and Lenexa joined the communities that participated in the REIC pilot in 2021-2022. REIC is made possible with funding from the Health Forward Foundation and Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
  • UCS took a new approach to public policy and advocacy in 2023 by convening a statewide coalition of partner experts to coordinate proactive education, messaging, and advocacy on the issue of Housing Insecurity and Homelessness in Johnson County and throughout the state of Kansas. Strategies include engaging the Kansas Legislature’s Special Committee on Homelessness and sharing Best Practices and data-driven policy recommendations. UCS has also coordinated several statewide educational events for elected officials and city and county staff working to address homelessness hosted in Olathe (with Salvation Army Family Lodge), Manhattan (with Manhattan Emergency Shelter), and Pittsburg (with Safehouse and Building) Health. This work received national attention from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, which provided additional financial support for these educational efforts. Health Forward Foundation also supports these policy and advocacy strategies.

UCS is grateful to our supporters, especially the Annual Meeting sponsors who made this celebratory event possible.

UCS Honors Human Service Award Recipients at 2023 Annual Meeting

UCS' annual Human Service Awards were presented at the Annual Meeting. These awards recognize the profound impact we have in improving the human condition when we make the effort to care, to help, and to connect with those around us. You can learn more about the awardees by watching the videos at the links below.

The Citizen of the Year Award recognized Komal Kaur, founder of the nonprofit Eye of An Immigrant, which aims to overcome financial barriers to citizenship and tell immigrant stories. The award was presented by UCS Board Member Vanessa Vaughn West.

Citizen of the Year

The Distinguished Public Service Award honored outgoing Lenexa Mayor Mike Boehm for his visionary two-decade leadership of Lenexa and lasting positive impact on both the city and Johnson County. UCS Board Development Chair Beccy Yocham presented the award.

Distinguished Public Service

The Johnson County Museum received the Excellence in Community Service Award for its 2022 exhibit and programming on the history of redlining and its enduring consequences, presented by UCS Board Vice President Robin Rollins Harold.

Excellence in Community Service

Finally, the Karen Wulfkuhle Bridge Spanner Award was presented to outgoing Leawood Mayor Peggy Dunn by UCS Board Member and Prairie Village Mayor Eric Mikkelson in recognition of her 30+ years of public service and regional leadership.

Bridge Spanner Award