When the Dust Bowl threatened the lives and prosperity of many in Northwest Kansas, Dane G. Hansen stepped in to help. Farmers in the area were filing bankruptcy and leaving Kansas as the land dried up and there was no way to make a living. For many in the counties near his home in Logan, Mr. Hansen purchased the farms and immediately leased them back to the families he bought them from. That allowed the families to stay home in Kansas, and when the rains returned and farming was again viable, they were able to prosper as tenant farmers.
Upon Mr. Hansen’s death in 1965, the farms he purchased those many years before became assets of the Dane G. Hansen Foundation. The property owned by the Foundation has been a part of a diversified portfolio that includes investments in the stock market, the DGH Oil company, and other holdings – until now.
The Hansen Foundation Board of Trustees has donated the farm properties owned by Mr. Hansen, and subsequently the Foundation, to the Greater Northwest Kansas Community Foundation in Bird City. The donation includes 12,000 acres of property, but reserves the mineral rights, which will continue to be owned by the Hansen Foundation. The approximate value of the combined properties, located in eight Kansas and one Colorado counties, is $13 million. The donation is expected to be finalized next month.
The donation is designed to provide annual grant funds of about $200,000 to Mr. Hansen’s hometown of Logan.
Just as Mr. Hansen looked at every investment he made as a way to serve his hometown and his broader home of Northwest Kansas; the Hansen Trustees determined that they can best continue the mission of Mr. Hansen’s Foundation by removing the farm properties from the Foundation’s portfolio.
With a strong desire to limit any change to the tenant farmers and ranchers, the Trustees determined that donating the property, rather than selling it, was the best avenue for all parties.
They selected the Greater Northwest Kansas Foundation to be the recipient of this important gift, because the Trustees believe that GNWKCF will be thoughtful stewards of the land and its tenants, just as the Hansen Foundation and Mr. Hansen were.
The Greater Northwest Kansas Community Foundation serves the farthest Northwest corner of the Hansen Foundation service area. It is a foundation that has proven to be a trusted partner to the Hansen Foundation, has demonstrated its ability to receive and manage agricultural property, and has a mission to serve the communities where much of the donated property lies.
As a part of the gift, the Hansen Trustees have requested that Northwest Kansas farm holdings not be sold for at least five years, and that the farm manager remain the same. The board members of GNWKCF are very much like the Hansen Trustees in their desire to be respectful to the tenants who have cultivated this property. Many of the GNWKCF board members are farmers and ranchers themselves. There should be little change in the daily lives of the tenants of the donated properties.
The donation will create a new fund at GNWKCF called the Dane G. Hansen Foundation Fund for Logan. From the profits of the property, annual grants will be awarded by GNWKCF to the Logan Community Development Foundation for programs and projects that will forever benefit Mr. Hansen’s hometown. The funds can be used for enhancements to the city, the schools, and nonprofit organizations that serve the community.