The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City recently announced four appointments to its Community Development Advisory Council (CDAC) for the 2019-21 term. The CDAC was established in 2001 to provide Bank leaders a deeper understanding of the community and economic development issues that affect low- and moderate-income communities.

We recently asked the new council representatives their thoughts on strategies to strengthen low- and moderate-income communities.

Niki Donawa, chief community relations officer, Truman Medical Centers

“As a health-care executive, workforce development is critical in filling the pipeline with individuals that mirror the population that we serve. It's important to engineer opportunities for the underserved by ensuring that they are educated and equipped to fill the many positions available in health care. The correlation between poverty, one's health and the economic health of the community should be of concern for all. Whether it's small business opportunities or ensuring that the digital gap is narrowed in order for all community members to have access to knowledge, information and resources is critical. In my current role, I consistently work on creative ways to shore up the community.”

Don Greenwell, president, The Builders' Association and Kansas City Chapter-Associated General Contractors of America

“It is the belief of The Builders’ Association that diversity and inclusion yield improved economic conditions and a more united sense of fulfillment throughout the community.  For business owners, the benefit of accessing broader experiences and perspectives has very pragmatic positive impacts, including competitive advantages. By delivering value, we have more than doubled the number of our members certified as minority, woman and disadvantaged businesses over the past three years. We are helping them expand their capacity to do more business.”

Aubrey Patterson, president and chief executive officer, Hutchinson Community Foundation

“The community foundation is involved in funding neighborhood development and housing initiatives. In 2015, for the first time, we made a gap loan to complete the capital stack for a sustainably built workforce housing development which is walkable to downtown and creates a pocket community in a previously blighted area. My current passion is helping other community foundations and anchor institutions in rural Kansas learn how to move beyond grant-making and begin using their financial capital as local investments—or “impact investments”—in terms of loans, loan guarantees and equity investments.”

Awais Sufi, chief executive officer, SchoolSmartKC

“Education is the foundation of a productive and fully engaged citizenry. We’ve seen far too often that due to historic inequities, select communities have struggled to benefit fully from the extraordinary advances we have made socially and economically. Bringing the benefits of this development to all members of our community is a long and challenging road, but must start by ensuring all young people are equipped with the skills and capabilities to succeed in our global economy. My work centers on bringing together stakeholders focused on community development to a common understanding of challenges to our educational system. We then find creative solutions to address these challenges, all to amplify the enormous potential of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

The CDAC is composed of community, banking and labor leaders from throughout the Tenth District of the Federal Reserve: Colorado, Kansas, western Missouri, Nebraska, northern New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming.

The new members join existing council members:

  • Ruben Alonso, president, AltCap, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Marcos Hernandez, vice president-corporate social responsibility manager and CRA officer, U.S. Bank, Omaha, Neb.
  • Judy Petersen, executive director, Central Nebraska Economic Development District, Chambers, Neb.
  • Shawn Reese, chief executive officer, Wyoming Business Council, Cheyenne, Wyo.
  • Rebecca Reynolds, executive director, Little Dixie Community Action Agency, Hugo, Okla.
  • Cecilia Robinson-Woods, superintendent, Millwood Public Schools, Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Liddy Romero, executive director, WorkLife Partnership, Denver, Colo.
  • Reginald Thomas, president and business manager, Laborer’ Union of North America, Local Union No. 264, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Cris White, executive director and chief executive officer, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, Denver, Colo.

Author

Jeremy Hegle

Senior Community Development Advisor

Jeremy W. Hegle, a native Missourian, was 12 when he began helping on his grandfather’s farm. He later served in the Army National Guard, launched a business support organization…