After conducting a nationwide search for Lacasa’s next President/CEO, Lacasa, Inc.’s Board of Directors is announcing today its selection of Chris Kingsley to fill that role. Mr. Kingsley is currently the Vice President of Resource Development at the agency and will assume leadership on August 6 of this year, immediately following Larry Gautsche’s retirement on August 3
Mr. Kingsley has been with the agency more than 7 years, beginning as a Financial Capabilities Instructor, later serving as the Financial Capabilities Program Manager, and currently serving in the VP Resource Development role. During that time, he has had extensive involvement in the development and expansion of Lacasa’s Financial Empowerment services, spearheading new partnerships, developing curriculum, and introducing new technologies to workflow processes. He has overseen growth in fundraising efforts and a recent agency brand refresh.
Current President Larry Gautsche states “I’m very pleased with the board’s selection of Chris Kingsley as Lacasa’s next president. Chris has years of experience working directly with Lacasa clients, has been instrumental in the design of new, innovative programs and has made a significant contribution as a member of Lacasa’s management team and VP of Development. Chris grew up in Elkhart and brings a valuable mix of professional education, multicultural experience, personal integrity and proven leadership that will serve Lacasa well.”
Lacasa has made significant efforts in the past two years to gather community input regarding its strategic planning for the next 5 years. Specific input was sought by the board to guide the selection of Mr. Gautsche’s successor. “One component of the board’s search process was seeking input from a wide variety of stakeholders across the county,” states Lacasa Board Chair Nathan Mateer Rempel. “We asked what qualities were needed in leadership for Lacasa going forward, and how Lacasa could support our community. Chris’ strengths align beautifully with what we heard from the community and we look forward to working with Chris in bringing LaCasa to a new level of service in Elkhart County.”
A new level of service in Elkhart County is exactly what is outlined in Lacasa’s strategic plan. The plan recognizes a need for more financial empowerment services, housing options, and neighborhood revitalization work throughout the county and outlines strategies for scaling Lacasa’s effective services to impact more people and neighborhoods.
Mr. Gautsche says, “Lacasa is energized by a new strategic plan, a very talented management team and staff, an engaged board of directors and exceptional community support. The organization is well-positioned to expand partnerships for even greater countywide impact. I’m proud of what we have been able to accomplish and excited about Lacasa’s future contributions to our community.”
Mr. Kingsley states, “Personally, it’s a true honor to be able to serve in this capacity. I believe deeply in Lacasa’s work and I am passionate about services that give a hand up to people who are working hard to improve their circumstances. I’ve had the privilege of working with so many inspiring, hard-working people from our community who have committed to their goals and successfully created stability for their families. My commitment is to work hard to effectively serve a greater number of these people in our community who are seeking betterment and who are willing to do what it takes to get there.”
“What’s so great about Elkhart County is that there are so many who care about and give of their own resources to support hard-working people who are struggling. In the end, this is work that not only impacts families and neighborhoods directly, but also contributes to the community’s overall health and economic development. I believe in the people we serve and in the many players in this community who are working for the betterment of all. It’s what makes me eager to lead Lacasa’s next chapter.”
Mr. Gautsche will have served as Lacasa’s President/CEO for 17 years when he retires. He has overseen tremendous growth and change at Lacasa during his tenure in leadership. This growth is highlighted by an increase of 550% in net assets, an increase in Lacasa residential communities from 109 units to 327 units, more than 500 families assisted in purchasing their first homes, and over 150 home owners who could not afford needed repairs being assisted.
Says Mr. Kingsley, “I’m sure I’ve only just begun hearing of the size of the shoes I have to fill. Larry’s leadership has made an enormous impact on Lacasa and on the community. He’s set the bar high. There’s more to be done and when he hands off the baton, the only thing to do is run with it! I’ve spent my whole life in this community. Growing up, I walked to Roosevelt Elementary and then Pierre Moran Middle School every day. I love this place and will do all I can, in collaboration with others in Elkhart, Goshen, and all Elkhart County communities to ensure Lacasa is fulfilling its mission to create opportunity for personal empowerment, family stability and neighborhood vitality.”