Kathy Niehoff is a person who loves helping her community.
“I guess I am just the kind of person who enjoys being involved in the community,” Niehoff said. “I just enjoy doing it.”
After almost 26 years of service in multiple organizations, Niehoff was awarded by being inducted into the Kansas Business and Professional Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame June 8 at the yearly BPW convention in McPherson. She, along with Jane Hanks of Bonner Springs, were the new 2013 inductees.
“It was overwhelming and awing,” Niehoff said. “My family was there, and I didn’t know they were there. Anytime someone can make you feel that special, it is overwhelming.”
Niehoff joins the Hall of Fame after being involved with BPW Kansas for nearly 26 years. During that time, she has served seven different positions on the BPW board of directors, including convention chair four times. She is currently serving her fifth year as the organization’s executive secretary.
“It is an organization that is very dear to my heart,” Niehoff said. “When I joined I thought, ‘Boy, this is something for me.’ It is an organization that supports women in whatever part of life they are in.”
According to their website, BPW Kansas is “an organization dedicated to the personal and professional development and growth of its members and women in the workforce.”
Niehoff said the organization does many things such as award scholarships, and help with children’s issues and domestic violence issues.
Niehoff and her husband, George, lived in rural Baldwin City before moving to Ottawa 21 years ago. Several other local organizations have benefited from Niehoff’s service in that time.
In spring 1998, Niehoff became one of the founding members for the Franklin County Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises funds to aid active cancer patients in Franklin County.
“The thing I enjoy the most is seeing the results of what we do,” Niehoff said. “That is so important to me when I see (the patients) come into the office and the look on their face when they know they are going to get help and they don’t have to beg or borrow to get it.”
In her time with the organization, Niehoff has served every board position and been chair for several fundraising events. She is currently the board secretary and volunteers one day a week in the office to work with cancer patients.
She also has been a part of the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce for nearly 26 years and has been on the Events and Promotions (Retail) Committee for 24 years, including several years as the committee chair. She also has been on the board of directors for three years.
Niehoff’s service doesn’t stop there. She has served 12 years on the Franklin County Fair Board, nine as its treasurer and one year as secretary. She also puts together the fair book apart from working at the fair and being the chair of three separate committees every year.
In her many years of service to the Ottawa community, Niehoff said she has seen a lot of changes.
“It has been such a positive growth,” Niehoff said. “I am really excited to see all the changes.”