Marci Penner and her father, Mil Penner, traveled the state in the early 1990s and the result was three small Kansas guidebooks and the formation of the Kansas Sampler Foundation. The mission of the foundation is to preserve and sustain rural culture. Marci has served as director of the Inman-based non-profit since its inception.
Some of the most well-known projects of the organization have been the 8 Wonders of Kansas, the Kansas Explorers Club, the Kansas Sampler Festival, the We Kan! Conference, the Big Rural Brainstorm, We Kan! Tidbits e-blast, the PowerUp Movement, and the Kansas Guidebook for Explorers.
From 2012-2016 Marci and assistant director WenDee Rowe visited every one of the 626 incorporated cities in Kansas to research for their new Kansas Guidebook 2 for Explorers that debuted in May 2017. The research duo has been traveling the state again to do guidebook programs and motivate people to get out and explore.
Marci graduated from the University of Kansas and received a Masters degree in Counseling and Guidance from the University of Wisconsin. She spent five years in the Philadelphia area as an elementary guidance counselor before returning to Kansas in 1990.