eva kathleen schulte*

eva kathleen schulte*

Vice president for economic opportunity | Travois

In my nearly 20-year vocation in community organizing and civic engagement, I continue to be driven by the words of Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the word; Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

I’ve seen citizens create change as I lived within the Mayan Indigenous communities of the Yucatan, Mexico. I wrote my master’s thesis on the power of a group of Mayan women who integrated their own spiritual identity and familial responsibility into a new economic cooperative model, an artisan doll collective. In Rwanda, Africa, I saw small groups in action as I supported the co-founding of a powerful community-led organization. And, most recently, I saw people in action in Kansas City, as I worked with grassroots partners for 12 years as president and CEO of Communities Creating Opportunity, a nonprofit that advances systemic change to move human dignity to the center of public life, including a key initiative to increase life expectancy and quality of life in high unemployment zip codes.

I believe that the vision for a community and nation must originate from within.

I have learned so much from each community organizing effort, securing tens of millions of dollars of investments for housing stabilization, public health demonstration projects, and neighborhood infrastructure improvements, along with public policy advances for inclusion and consumer protection. I combine these experiences with my education (bachelor’s degrees in international studies and Spanish and a master’s degree in ethics and social theory) in my work with Travois.

As vice president for economic opportunity, I walk alongside leaders and engaged citizens of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities who are committed to the change they seek.

Let’s work together to develop new partnerships and leverage economic opportunity and new streams of capital in your community. Let’s advance public policy for economic development and affordable housing. Let’s advocate for equity and inclusion, water protection and environmental resiliency.

Tell me about your most challenging problems. Call me today. I want to work with you to implement solutions. I see the future path to opportunity, despite the odds, when a community comes together to claim their power and voice. 

(*And, you may have noticed, I decapitalize my name, following the “de-centered self” movement inspired by Dr. john a. powell, an important guide and teacher, to recognize that leadership comes when we see our interconnectedness, belonging and common human right to exist. This may not conform to your preferred writing style, but I appreciate your efforts!)



Twitter: @evakathleen

LinkedIn: eva kathleen (creydt) schulte