May 28, 2023 Supporting Manhattan-area entrepreneurs, businesses, events

GMCF Young Trustee’s Hosting Inaugural Chili Cook Off Benefiting Local Nonprofits

On November 4th, the Greater Manhattan Community Foundation Young Trustee’s will be hosting their first ever chili cook off in downtown Manhattan and will be raising money for over 15 local nonprofits while doing so.

“My vision for this event is to one day be held in the Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium,” said Jamie Coones, a Greater Manhattan Community Foundation Young Trustee member, and one of the organizers. “We’re pitching it like a tailgate party. The K-State vs Texas Tech game will be displayed on a 16-foot Jumbo Tron that we’re having installed near the Blue Earth Plaza.”

The event begins with a Chili Day 3K run at 9:15 a.m., sponsored by the Manhattan Running Company. Vendors will have set up their booths by 11 a.m. and have chili ready to serve until 4 p.m at the Blue Earth Plaza located at 315 S. 3rd St.

Vern Henricks, President and CEO of the Greater Manhattan Community Foundation, said the chili cook off was entirely the young trustees’ idea.

“They wanted to create a fundraiser where they, as young trustees, could make grants to community nonprofits that came from funds they raised,” Henricks said. “This is their first fundraiser and largest undertaking thus far.”

Coones said about 25 businesses are pledging their winnings to local nonprofits and have formed teams to cook up winning recipes.

Prizes range from $3,000 to $1,000 for first, second and third place, as well as an award for the people’s choice chili. Tickets for general admission are $10 and include tastings of each kind of chili, as well as a bead that guests will put in a container at each station to vote for their favorites.

“By partnering with local nonprofits, we’re able to get them to also help campaign for us,” Coones said about spreading the word of the new event. “Nonprofits are asking businesses to represent them in the cook off, so we’ve had hundreds of people spreading the word.”

On the community foundation website,, the foundation lists what nonprofits are participating, with about 15 still available.

At halftime, there will also be a pepper-eating contest, live entertainment, a beer garden, as well as children’s activities throughout the day, including inflatables, activities with the police and fire departments, Manhattan Parks and Rec, Fort Riley and more.

Manhattan locals, including Gordon Hibbard, Dennis Lang, and Bud and Bobby Cox, will be judging the chili competition. Coones said chili will be judged on a one to 10 scale, based on aroma, red coloring, consistency, taste and aftertaste.

For information about the event or to buy tickets, visit

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