Vanier family supports KARL program
Gift honors Jack Vanier’s vision for service and leadership
April 8, 2020
MANHATTAN, Kan. – The children of Jack and Donna Vanier are teaming up with Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership with a three-year gift to support deepened leadership experiences and growth through the program.
KARL was established in 1989. Jack Vanier served as a member of KARL’s original board of directors and helped set high standards for its mission to prepare and connect rural leaders for service to agriculture and the state of Kansas.
Barry Flinchbaugh, professor emeritus in Kansas State University’s Department of Agricultural Economics who also served on the original board, describes Jack Vanier as “a tough cowboy with a great big heart and great judgment.”
“When we approached him about establishing KARL 30 years ago, he responded immediately with advice and support,” Flinchbaugh said. “Vanier was pivotal in creating a vision for the KARL program. This new gift from the Vanier family is critical to ensuring that together we can help Kansans work through the inherent cycles in agriculture that impact rural Kansas.”
Steve Baccus, board chair and graduate of the program’s first class, said he is grateful for the Vanier family gift.
“The skills I gained from going through the program made a real difference to me personally and being able to serve my community and Kansas,” Baccus said. “With the support of the Vanier family, the KARL program will continue to honor the traditions that enhance community and industry leadership and service by Kansans at all levels – local, state, regionally, and nationally, and for future generations.”
The Vanier’s daughter, Mary, said of the family’s gift: “Marty, John and I are proud to provide this gift to the KARL program in honor of our dad. Having grown up in rural Kansas, we understand and appreciate the great work KARL does to advance agricultural leadership in Kansas.”
KARL provides seminars and study tours for agriculture and rural stakeholders. Since the program began 30 years ago, there are now more than 400 graduates of the program. Twenty-eight members of the current class recently completed the first year of the two year program, experiencing five seminars and the national study tour to Washington, D.C. and Gettysburg. A new class is selected every two years.
The KARL program is a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to developing leaders for agriculture, business and rural communities, and is a member of the International Association of Programs for Agricultural Leadership (IAPAL), represented in 40 states and multiple countries.