New staff member and new services at Travois

eva kathleen schulte* is new to the Travois team! She is our new vice president for economic opportunity and helps develop new partnerships and leverage economic opportunities for clients.

If you have ideas about leveraging foundations or impact investments in American Indian, Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian communities, get in touch with her. If you have a local organizing or advocacy need and want a partner, please reach out to her.

Read on for an introduction!

1. *Can you tell us why you decapitalize your name? Dr. john a. powell, an important guide and teacher, teaches us a vision for inclusion and a new path for spiritual justice. It’s this future, moving toward a de-centered self, that inspired me to drop the capitals in my name and continue the hard work toward building an inclusive society.

2. In your own words, what do you do for Travois? I support the mission of Travois in leveraging economic opportunity and new partnerships for the American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities we serve. I also support the Travois leadership team in public policy and advocacy priorities including economic development, equity and inclusion, affordable housing, water protection and environmental resiliency.

3. What education or certifications do you have? I have a M.A. in ethics and social theory from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA.

4. Where did you work before you started here? I chose a career in community organizing and civic engagement nearly 20 years ago. I bring this rich training to serve the mission of Travois along with 12 years of executive leadership as president and CEO of Communities Creating Opportunity, a nonprofit committed to moving human dignity to the center of public life in the heartland. I believe that the vision for a community and nation must originate from within. I am honored to walk alongside any community that is committed to the change they seek, and it is why I admire the mission of Travois.

5. What are some of your strengths and how do you use them in your position? I care deeply for the cause of justice and the value of human dignity. This core motivation drives me in my work and relationship building. I am an “includer” and strive to make connections that implement solutions to our most challenging problems. I see the future path to opportunity, despite the odds, when a community comes together to claim their power and voice.

6. Do you hold any professional certifications or designations? I have full professional proficiency in Spanish, which served me well as I lived and worked in the Mayan indigenous communities of the Yucatan, Mexico. I wrote my master’s thesis on the power of Mayan women who formed an artisan doll cooperative; resisting maquiladoras/sweat shops and integrating their own spiritual identity and familial responsibility into a new economic cooperative model in Dzibichaltun and Chablekal.

7. Do you have any family details that you’d like to share? I am the mother of two: a daughter filled with light and abundance named Nicha and a beautiful son, born still, named Lincoln. My spouse, Brock, believes in the power of women, as modeled by the strength of his mom. I could not engage the work I do on behalf of the world if not for his support over these 18 years of marriage. My dad is a Lutheran minister, and my mom is a Reiki Master, and they live next to the Lummi Nation in Birch Bay, WA, with my brother and family. I grew up in Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, directly neighboring the Ojibwe Nation, which was formative to my earliest memories. We have found ‘home’ in Kansas City.

8. What accomplishments are you most proud of? In my previous roles, I am most proud of my work to build new models of economic inclusion through raising capital and developing innovative loan funds that support small-dollar, short-term credit for families who need a path out of the debt spiral. I am most humbled by the connecting role I was able to play with Rev. John Rutsindintwarane, to seed the work of community organizing and his founding of a powerful, community-led organization in Rwanda, Africa.

9. Have you won any professional awards? The work I do is only possible because of the voices and leadership of so many others. I am honored by these awards and see them as collectively owned:

  • Distinguished Executive Director presented by Communities Creating Opportunity
  • Neighborhood Excellence award and grant by Bank of America
  • New Ideas grant by Kauffman Fund
  • Young Alumni Achievement of the Year, presented by Central College
  • Voice of Faith award, presented by Congressman Cleaver and Bishop Johnston
  • Agitator Award, presented by the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Commission and City Council for leadership in change-making

10. Do you volunteer? I am volunteering my time to activate citizenship in my Kansas City community and position a slate of young, values-driven, progressive voices for leadership in public life. I do this by door knocking and the hard, slow work of community organizing.

I serve on the board of Girls to School, an organization that sends girls to school in Mauritania, Africa.

11. Who has the most influence in your life? Dr. john a. powell is an important teacher and mentor.

Dr. George Ann Huck taught me how to take a bus in a country not my own and find my way home once I rode the bus to the end of the line. She introduced me to liberation theology, which set my life’s path.

12. Do you have a slogan, wise words, or life philosophy that represents you? I continue to be inspired by Margaret Mead’s words, “Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world; Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”

13. Who’s the one person who makes you laugh the hardest? My brother and sister-in-law. They lead a mental health healing center, Touch Stone Behavioral Health, and are very good at how they support families. Sometimes the best support is at home, when laughter takes over. I also catch a laugh from my mom, and we pass it back and forth until both of us have tears of happiness, and we forget what we were laughing about.

14. My favorite place I’ve traveled was: Bangkok, Thailand, because it’s where we met our daughter.

15. The best gift I ever received was: the gift of song from my dad and my daughter, Nicha.

16. I love Kansas City because: I love the look and feel of brick. And KC is small enough where even one person can make a difference and big enough to have some of the best food, art, culture, entrepreneurship, and diversity of peoples in the country.

17. I’d love to meet: Lincoln.

18. My claim to fame is: I am in Eric Liu’s fan club and through his guiding light now more fully understand how small our world is and how relationally reciprocal we all can be. Read “You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen.”


12 thoughts on “New staff member and new services at Travois

  1. Eva, I stand in awe of all you have done and will do. Continued blessings!

    • You never cease to amaze me eva. I love this and I can’t wait to see how much you accomplish in this new role!

  2. Kudos, eva…..

    ……bell hooks was the first to decentralize her name & her self for social equity ?

  3. Dear Eva,
    I learned some things reading this and I am very proud to be your mother. May we continue to laugh together and together with your daughter!
    Much love!

  4. I thought you were amazing before, but after reading this it just proves that you are more amazing then what I initially thought! Best of luck my friend on your new journey, they are lucky to have you….:)

  5. Eva congratulations and wow! You are awesome!! Can’t wait to see your mom and dad. Hope we can see you again sometime.

  6. Congratulations and best wishes on your new endeavor! Wow! I’m so glad I read this and learned a little more about your work.

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