by Jill Ragar Esfeld
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The new executive director of the Catholic Education Foundation, Vince Anch, has grand plans for the future.
“My hope is that we build one of the premier nonprofit organizations in the Kansas City metropolitan area,” he said.
If past experience is any indication, Anch can make that happen.
“Vince has performed at a very high level over the course of his 30-year career in nonprofit leadership and fundraising,” said CEF board chair Terry Sexton. “He’s had deep experience leading both Catholic and secular nonprofits.
“And that was very attractive to our executive committee.”
Anch’s resume is full of his accomplishments for nonprofits, but that wasn’t always his goal. In college, he studied business with a plan to enter the corporate world.
“But I’ve always had a strong faith,” he said. “And I’ve always had a heart wired to want to give back.”
His first job was with the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
“I got it really to get experience working in fundraising and special events and working with volunteers,” he said. “I thought I’d go back into marketing or the corporate world.”
He ended up working with ADA for 19 years. He’s also worked for Catholic Charities of Kansas City–St. Joseph and for Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City, Missouri.
“If you take a look at his resume,” said Sexton, “you see that everything Vince has touched in the nonprofit world he’s made more successful.
“Frankly, this is a candidate with a strong record of success in nonprofit leadership and development.”
Sexton had high praise for the executive committee of the CEF for its diligence in finding the best person for this important position
“I’m grateful for their effort,” he said. “The executive committee has worked incredibly hard and interviewed many excellent candidates.
“In Vince Anch, they have found the right leader to take us to the next level.”
That’s exactly what Anch plans to do, and he wants to see growth in both numbers and in faith.
“We want to grow financially,” he said. “Grow in the number of people we serve and the number of volunteers we attract.
“And then, ultimately, [we want to] grow the faith of those who are touched by the organization — whether they’re a student, a family, a volunteer, donor or even a staff person.”
Anch is a member of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Gladstone, Missouri, along with his wife Carolyn, who is the parish youth minister.
“We have a daughter, Adriana, who is 10, and three others that we lost, but they’re still our children,” he said.
The executive committee valued Anch’s deep commitment to the Catholic faith.
“That’s very important to us,” said Sexton. “We wanted a leader who understood the value of a Catholic education and the importance of transmitting the faith to future generations of Catholics.”
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann agreed.
“I am delighted that Vince Anch has agreed to serve as the executive director of the Catholic Education Foundation,” he said. “The foundation is so important in our efforts to keep Catholic education affordable and financially accessible to everyone in the community.”
As Anch researched the position, met with board members and prayed over the decision, he became more convinced this was a move God wanted him to make.
“I loved what I was doing in the previous job,” he said. “But because [CEF] is faith-based and it helps children — especially children from low-income families — it just had an immediate appeal to me.
“I felt in my heart this was God really calling me.”
Anch was especially impressed by the commitment and passion he saw in staff, volunteers and board members.
“That really sold me,” he said. “They were just so inspired by God and the church’s mission and education.
“Once I met them, I thought, “This is amazing — this is a really special organization.’”
Like the CEF board, Anch views Catholic education as an important piece of the new evangelization.
“We’re evangelizing the entire family by bringing Catholic education to their children first,” he said. “That has a beautiful ripple effect.”
After only a few weeks on the job, Anch is convinced he made the right decision and is looking forward to his future with CEF.
“I certainly understand and appreciate the value of what [Catholic education] did for me,” he said. “And I want to share that and give that gift to as many people as possible.
“I just can’t wait for each day to come so I can continue to do that.”
The archbishop agrees with that plan, too.
“I am grateful for Vince’s background in development,” he said, “but also for his personal commitment to the church and the importance of Catholic schools.
“I think he will be a great leader for the foundation.”