Serving as Lacasa’s president for the past 17 years has been an adventure and a real honor. Over the years, I’ve operated with the assumption that if we focus on the most challenging housing and community development priorities of our community, we can trust that the resources will follow. That strategy resulted in numerous adrenaline-generating experiences: struggling to meet payroll in the early years, the unexpected collapse of the 3-story back wall of the Hattle during construction, the onset of the great recession within months of Lacasa’s commitment to $8 million in housing development in Elkhart, deploying staff resources to provide foreclosure counseling without an established funding source, to name a few.
Despite the challenges, Lacasa has continued to mature as an organization, significantly expand the scope and impact of services, extend opportunity to thousands of families, and make a noticeable impact in many neighborhoods.
I am particularly grateful for:
- Our many donors and volunteers who consistently support and advocate for our mission.
- Our first-time homebuyers, financial empowerment graduates, tenants, foreclosure survivors, and immigration clients who willingly share their success stories and promote Lacasa services.
- Lacasa’s reputation that consistently attracts a very talented, mission-driven staff and board of directors.
- Productive partnerships with other quality service organizations: Oaklawn, Habitat for Humanity, Campus Center for Young Children, ADEC, and others that enhance our community impact.
- Leveraging Lacasa resources for greater community benefit through partnerships with local government, neighborhood associations, churches, civic organizations, and the business community.
- Consistent support from United Way, the Community Foundation of Elkhart County and external partners at the state and national level that invest millions of dollars in Elkhart County annually.
As I turn over CEO responsibilities to Chris Kingsley on August 3, it is with great confidence in the Lacasa team to continue the mission of creating “opportunity for personal empowerment, family stability, and neighborhood vitality”. Lacasa’s strategic 5-year plan is designed for significant growth, extending Lacasa resources to all of Elkhart County. The Impact Fund campaign will make that expansion of services possible.
On behalf of the many persons enriched by your support, thank you for all the ways you have supported Lacasa’s mission over the past 17 years! I hope you will join me in continuing to support this great work, providing “strong foundations, for everyone” in our communities.
Larry Gautsche President