About Marci

Marci Penner, continued

Marci has served as executive director since the formation of the 501c3. She has a unique perspective of Kansas having been to every one of the 627 incorporated cities several times for guidebook research. Having a reason to observe, have conversations, and note common issues and differences led to the PowerUp Movement (empowerment of those 21-39 who are rural by choice) and the access to resources and topics for the Big Rural Brainstorm and We Kan! Conference. With the opportunity to do guidebook programs and speak at conferences, Marci enjoys the continual journey around the state. She thrives on matching those seeking guidance with resources and to bringing together Good Thinkers who use collective brilliance to move rural communities forward.

A graduate and double-sport letter-winner at the University of Kansas, Marci received her Master’s degree in Counseling and Guidance from the University of Wisconsin. She spent five years as an elementary guidance counselor in the Philadelphia area. She’s happy to be home on the family farm near Inman where the offices of the Kansas Sampler Foundation are located. Marci is dedicated to helping Kansans see Kansas with new eyes and to keeping our communities alive and thriving.

Marci's Resume

978 Arapaho Road, Inman, KS 67546

Executive Director,Kansas Sampler Foundation

Current outside affiliations
  • Board member of Kansas Association of Community Foundations
  • Convener for Kansas Dialogue
  • Child Care Licensing Systems Improvement Team
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Pathways to a Healthy Kansas Advisory Team

Publications and positions
Co-authored the Kansas Guidebook 2 for Explorers with WenDee Rowe.
Authored the 8 Wonders of Kansas Guidebook.  The book has won gold from the North American Travel Journalists Association for Travel Guide.

Authored the Kansas Guidebook for Explorers.

Appointed co-chair of Governor's Rural Life Task Force

Founded the Kansas Sampler Foundation with father, Mil Penner.

1990 - 1993
Co-authored Kansas guidebooks with father, Mil Penner
  • Kansas Weekend Guide
  • Kansas Event Guide
  • Kansas Weekend Guide II
Elementary guidance counselor in and around the Philadelphia area.

Received Masters degree in Counseling & Guidance from the University of Wisconsin.

Received Bachelors degree in Radio, TV, Film from the University of Kansas.
Professional Awards
  • 2019 - Paul & Pat Phillips Award Distinguished Service to Geography from Kansas Geographic Alliance.
  • 2018 - Literary Contribution Award from the Mountain Plains Library Association.
  • 2018 - Leader of the Year for Tourism Development Award from the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development
  • 2016 -  KU Pioneer Award from the Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equity
  • 2007 - Leader of the Year for Tourism Development Award from the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development
  • 2005 - Grassroots Community Education Award from the UFM Community Learning Center, Manhattan
  • 2005 - Distinguished Kansan of the Year from the Kansas Native Sons and Daughters
  • 2005 - Momentous Achievement Award from Osborne County Tourism
  • 2003 - Tourism Award of Merit for Individual Achievement from the KDOC State Travel and Tourism Division
  • 2003 - Rural Leadership Award presented by the National Rural Economic Developers Association.
  • 2002 - Brass Ring Award from Kinsley
  • 2001 - U.S. Small Business Administration Plains Spirit of the Year award
  • 2000 - Governor's Tourism Award presented by the Kansas Association of Broadcasters
  • 1996 - TIAK (Travel Industry Association of Kansas) Distinguished Service Award