What group of individuals continues to gather at 7 a.m. once a month to work toward improving the way of life in Hiawatha? The Board of Directors of the Hiawatha Foundation for Economic Development.

The Hiawatha Foundation for Economic Development (HFED) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to finding ways to help current businesses expand, enlist new business, and develop community resources that will attract families to the Hiawatha community. As a testament to HFED’s commitment, the organization has been operational for over thirty years deriving largely from the efforts of volunteer civic leaders.

HFED exists to be a resource for businesses and individuals looking to start or expand their business. Strong working relationships with the Kansas Department of Commerce, Northeast Kansas Enterprise Facilitation, and the Washburn Small Business Development Center, among others, has assisted new businesses and resulted in job opportunities for Hiawatha.

Membership is open to any interested businesses and individuals who support community development and envision a prospering Hiawatha for years to come. Members elect a board of 15 individuals, who meet the second Thursday of every month to deliberate on economic development initiatives. This year two non-voting student positions were also added to the board in an effort to engage the area youth and give them an opportunity to learn and give back to their community. These are appointed positions filled by a junior and senior from Hiawatha High School. The student positions are each eligible for a $250 scholarship for each year of service so long as attendance requirements are met.

The Brown County Microloan program is available to any Brown County resident who may be looking to start a new business or expand their existing business. The borrower must have modest credit needs and may not qualify for financing from traditional credit institutions. HFED is an integral partner working with Brown County to provide this program.

In 2013, Brown County became a certified Rural Opportunity Zone (ROZ). HFED, along with the Kansas Department of Commerce has partnered to help students who move to Brown County with student loan debt. The ROZ program allows for qualifying individuals to receive student loan repayments of up to $15,000.

HFED has Commercial lots in varying sizes that are available for new or expanding businesses. Free residential lots on Aztec Street in Pleasant View Second Addition for new home construction are also available from HFED. This year, the first house is being built on Aztec Street, as part of the free lots for owner-occupied housing program.

Plans for the coming year include a focus on HFED’s four major priorities — business and industry recruitment and retention, housing, membership/marketing and youth.

HFED is co-sponsoring the upcoming Cyber Security Lunch and Learn that is free for the public to attend on July 2. Contact the HFED office to inquire about registering at (785) 740-4333.

For more details about HFED or to become a member, please contact HFED at: 785-740-HFED (4333), hfedoffice1@gmail.com or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/hiawathaed.

Active members:

Ag Partners Cooperative, Inc.

AHRS Construction


Bebermeyer, Charles & Jane

Bruce and Jenny Knudson Farms

Bruna Brothers Implement

Brown County

Bruning, Jere & Patty


Chapel Oaks Funeral Home

City of Hiawatha

Citizen’s State Bank

ADM/Crosswind Pet Foods

Delaney Law Office

Virginia Freese


Dr. Jordan D. Haedt, DDS

Leland Hansen

Heartland Realty of Hiawatha, LLC

Hiawatha Family Dentistry

Hiawatha Tire and Lube

Highland Community College

Hiawatha Chamber & Visitor’s Bureau

Highland Community College

Hillyer Farms, Inc.

Horizon Mental Health

Howard Seed

Jade Millwrights, Inc.

Jordan Haedt, DDS

Just For You Jewelry and Gifts

Kanza Mental Health

Kex RX

KNZA, Inc.

Koch & Co., Inc.

Fonda Lafrenz

Laus Creek Farm, Inc.

Mainstreet Flower Shoppe

Maple Heights

Mathewson, Connie

Maximum Insurance

Maximum Realty, Inc.

McCauley, William

McPeak Optometry

Morrill & Janes Bank

Moore, John

Dave Nachtigal

Nations Financial Group

NEK Veterinary Services

NEK Area Agency on Aging

Outback Guidance

Pederson Seed

PRTS, LLC.-Nachtigal

Rainbow Communications

SBS Insurance

Marianne Schmidt

Irv Schwalm

Shelter Insurance-Dan Lierz

Stallbaumer Family Chiropractic

Thrivent Financial

Tice Health Mart

Tres Soles Medical Clinic & Spa

USD 415

Wilde Tool Company, Inc.

Wisdom CPA

Denise Wolney

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