Community Engagement

The Division of Community Engagement is devoted to empowering residents through education and neighborhood leadership development. Community Engagement works to increase dialog between local government and residents.  Through these outreach programs, Community Engagement hopes to encourage all Topeka neighborhoods to take an active part in their own improvements.

A community brings people together to advocate and support each other. Having a sense of community unites us. Being a part of a community make us feel as though we are a part of something greater than ourselves. This section is dedicated to providing community leaders with information, ideas, and opportunities to learn more about creating or enhancing meaningful connections, offering support to each other, and building relationships and systems of exchange in neighborhoods throughout Topeka. For more information on Neighborhood Associations and community building resources, please contact LaToya Burnett 785-368-3663 or lburnett@topeka.org. 180 Awesome Ideas for Community Engagement, Projects & Events

TIPS

Incorporate corporate business strategies into your neighborhood community building approach: https://www.businessforunicorns.com/customer-service/10-quick-tips-for-building-community/ Planning a successful community event: https://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2013/feb/05/tipa-planning-successful-community-event

IDEAS

Ideas for Bridging the Generational Divide: links to multiple articles with ideas on how to improve community relations between the ages. 10 Fun Community Event Ideas:  https://wp-eventmanager.com/community-event-ideas-to-bring-together/

INSPIRATION VIDEO

Check out how one couple inspired community and value in their neighborhood by bringing fresh food to a food desert in their neighborhood. How to Host a Fun Neighborhood Block Party

Topeka Neighborhood Feature Stories – we want YOUR stories!  Share inspiring events, projects, or activities led by everyday heroes right here in our own backyard.

Share your story and a photo of your event, project, or activity here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WD33BXC

TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES

Free Leadership Training for Nonprofit Professionals  Free Community Development Courses College learners Top NonProfits Teachable Top NonProfits 
One of the biggest challenges in providing help to those in need, especially when our neighbors may be experiencing need for the first time, is to provide information about services and systems available. The Community Resource information provided below seeks to help our neighbors find assistance immediately. With better information, not only can our community use finite program resources more efficiently but also our neighbors can be matched more effectively. We hope to rapidly connect people in new ways to create real and impactful change, whether it be a streamlined way to find "(a local food bank)" a quick and easy community engagements.

Please visit the link frequently for the most up-to-date information. If your agency/organization has information that you would like shared with our neighbors please contact Monique Y. Glaude mglaude@topeka.org or 785-368-4470.

Please check back frequently for updated information.
10,200 distributed in the community in 2020
11,414 distributed in the community in 2021
2,832 distributed in the community as of May 2022

The Community Resource Bag is a printed version of local community resource information to give a quick view of helping agencies you are mostly liked to need when helping yourself or someone else. We probably haven’t captured everything, but our team is working hard to constantly improve the information by adding verified community programming on a weekly basis.

If you are interested in obtaining resource bags for your agency/organization please contact Monique Y. Glaude mglaude@topeka.org or 785-368-4470.
Community Engagement values our partners; non-profit organizations, neighborhood leaders, volunteers and for-profit businesses contributions to community-building efforts. We are excited that when the different sectors of our community partners (businesses, neighborhood organizations, non-profits volunteers and government entities) come together to build community, our efforts can yield results greater than the sum of our individual parts.
  • Communities in Schools
  • Community Resource Council
  • COVID-19 Response and Coordination Team
  • Doorstep
  • El Centro de Topeka
  • Forest Park
  • Harvesters
  • Housing Credit Counseling, Inc. (HCCI)
  • ISBA, Inc.
  • JAGK
  • Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging
  • Let’s Help, Inc.
  • Kansas National Guard
  • Midland Care
  • Momentum 2022
  • Neighborhood Associations
  • Neighborhood Improvement Associations
  • New Dawn Wellness & Recovery Center
  • Oxford Houses
  • Positive Connections
  • RMI Ministries
  • Salvation Army
  • SENT
  • Shawnee County Parks & Recreation
  • Sunshine Connection
  • TARC
  • Topeka Housing Authority
  • Topeka Probation Department
  • Topeka Rescue Mission
  • Topeka Youth Commissions
  • United Way of Greater of Topeka
  • US Probation and Pretrail Services
  • VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System
  • YWCA
Community Engagement has identified potential community partnership opportunities. Please feel free to utilize the information The listing contains the following grant information:

Business Name, Contact, Business Address, Business Phone number, Employee Volunteerism, Donations, Matching Funds, Grant Opportunities and other.

The Community Engagement team will also offer the following scope of services Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. by appointment in-person or via Zoom for applicants:

Office Services: computer usage, printer, copier, scanner, telephone, fax machine

Technical Assistance: Community Engagement will be available to assist with brainstorming sessions and proofreading. However, will not be responsible to complete and/or submit grant applications on behalf of applicants.

Please check back frequently for updated information.
Community Partnership Opportunities as of 5/17/21

The goal of the Ombudsman’s office is to foster closer, more effective, and efficient working relationships to better anticipate and meet citizen needs, and to develop a more detailed working understanding of what citizens want, expect, and need from those who serve them. As a citizen, you can contact the Ombudsman’s Office to:
  • Submit, track and manage service requests
  • File a complaint against a City department, official or employee
  • Ask questions relating the City government and/or get referrals to a suitable agency or entity to get answers
ombudsman@topeka.org 785-368-3947 Cyrus K. Holliday Building 620 SE Madison

Past Initiatives


Stressed About Your Finances? The City of Topeka Financial Navigators program helps residents deal with financial impacts of COVID-19 thru free, remote assistance in navigating financial issues & making referrals to resources. Sign up here: https://finnav.org/topeka or call 785-670-5900. Topeka Financial Navigator infographic In partnership with national nonprofit organization the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund), the City of Topeka announced today the launch of a free Financial Navigators Program to help residents navigate critical financial issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial Navigators will be available remotely starting September 21st to provide guidance over the phone to help Residents access available programs and services to manage income disruptions and other financial concerns. Financial Navigators help residents one-on-one to triage personal financial issues, identify immediate action steps to manage expenses and maximize income, and make referrals to other services such as meeting daily living expenses, maximizing income, managing debt, budgeting and avoiding predatory scams. The City of Topeka will offer these Financial Navigator services in partnership with Housing and Credit Counseling Inc. “We are in unprecedented times that are greatly affecting families and their finances. The Financial Navigator program with support from Cities for Financial Empowerment and Housing and Credit Counselling, is an amazing tool that will help our families have access to great partners in our community. This support can help our citizens navigate challenges and stay self-sufficient during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Michelle De La Isla. Residents can access these remote services by completing the web form here: https://finnav.org/topeka or calling (785) 670-5900 to sign up. The financial navigator will then send a short service agreement and call the client to begin their personal session. Organizations across Topeka can also refer clients directly to a financial navigator. The City of Topeka is launching the Financial Navigators program in partnership with the CFE Fund, who provided grant funding along with significant technical assistance and training to launch the program in Topeka and other cities and counties across the nation. The Financial Navigators initiative is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Citi Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and the Wells Fargo Foundation. “Financial distress is a primary part of the COVID-19 crisis, and we’re pleased Mayor De La Isla and her team is making this a priority for Topeka residents,” said Jonathan Mintz, President and CEO of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “The Financial Navigators program will help City of Topeka residents assess and prioritize their financial concerns and get connected with the right resources.” “The pandemic and resulting economic crises have hit low- and middle-income households, contingent and undocumented workers, and many others very hard,” said James Anderson, Head of Government Innovation at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “We are very pleased to help the CFE Fund expand its high quality and impactful financial empowerment services to reach many more people in more cities.” “Sound financial health is a critical component of addressing the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on low-income and diverse communities in the U.S,” said Sarah Bainton Kahn, VP of Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase & Co. “We are pleased to collaborate with the CFE Fund to help people in Topeka to access the tools and services they need to build resiliency and advance their financial health.” “Communities across the country continue to face significant economic challenges as a result of COVID-19,” said Brandee McHale, Head of Citi Community Investing and Development and President of the Citi Foundation. “To provide residents in Topeka with the vital financial tools and support necessary to navigate the financial impacts of the pandemic, the Citi Foundation is proud to partner once again with the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund to launch the Financial Navigators program.” “The pandemic has clearly heightened awareness around the financial hardships that so many people were already facing here in Topeka and deep disparities that exist in society,” said Darlene Goins, head of financial health philanthropy with the Wells Fargo Foundation. “We applaud the CFE Fund for bringing together the City of Topeka, philanthropists, and financial services and other industries to reimagine solutions that can help improve financial stability and resiliency for individuals and families, particularly during this economic crisis.”
15,000 bottles distributed in the community as of July 15, 2021 Taking precautions and practicing healthy habits is extremely important with the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community. Thanks to a generous donor the City of Topeka is working to help our community by providing hand sanitizer throughout our community,” said Monique Glaudeˊ, Division Director of Community Engagement. In December of 2020, 14,500 bottles of FABER 20 ounce bottles of hand sanitizer was donated by an anonymous community partner. Various pop-up events hosted by the City of Topeka Division of Community Engagement will take place through April 2021. In addition, our amazing community partners serving our low-to-moderate income neighbors are assisting with the distribution efforts. If you are interested in obtaining hand sanitizer for your agency/organization please contact Monique Y. Glaude mglaude@topeka.org or 785-368-4470. Limited supplies available
3,816 hours 438.5 hours (volunteerism hours in Topeka) The Sun 3 team was comprised of nine young future world leaders who dedicated their lives to our community that started their tour on January 22nd and ended April 15, 2021. The team’s service has strengthened the community primarily through slowing the spread of COVID-19 through screenings, contact tracing calls, and vaccination efforts. Sun 3 also facilitated Operation Hand Sanitizer Pop-Up events, administered COVID-19 community surveys, scheduled COVID-19 vaccination appointments for 60+ neighbors and served as screeners at the VA Eastern Health Care System. Thank you Sun 3 for your unwavering commitment to our community! Please visit AmeriCorps NCCC | AmeriCorps to learn more about AmeriCorps NCCC.
October 2020 & Final Totals for Food Distribution September 2020 Food Distribution

During the months of September and October 2020, the Division of Community Engagement (DCE) partnered with the Topeka Rescue Mission and United Way of Greater Topeka to provide food boxes to families in need through the Operation Food Secure program.  DCE hosted twenty outdoor truck to trunk Pop-Up site events, throughout the community, in areas where food sites were needed. All events were held from 6-8 p.m. to accommodate working families.

Operation Food Secure is a Farmers to Families Food Box program. The primary focus of the program is to distribute food boxes through neighborhood sites by equipping them with volunteers and resources for out-reach in their neighborhoods.

About The Landlord Expo
The City of Topeka is proud to host our first Landlord Expo in partnership with the Shawnee County Landlords Association and Housing and Credit Counseling Inc. Our purpose is simple; We want to provide landlords with the advice, resources, and knowledge needed to be successful, and we want tenants to have decent, safe, and affordable homes in safe neighborhoods.

The Expo is the perfect opportunity whether you are a first time or accidental landlord, agent, property investor, managing an existing portfolio, or considering entering the private rental market.

The key features of the Expo include over 80 exhibitors ranging from suppliers to professional advisors and local authorities, and an action packed schedule of free workshops!

When & Where
The Expo will be held September 14 from 9am – 1pm at the Ramada Inn, 420 SE 6th Avenue, Topeka KS.

Exhibitors
View the exhibitor prospectus
Exhibitor Agreement and Guidelines

Questions
Have Questions? Please contact Division Director of Community Engagement Monique Glaudé by email or 785-368-4470

Event Schedule
Download the event schedule.