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Three new business and civic leaders join Kauffman Foundation Board of Trustees

Carlos Rangel, Carmen Tapio, and Maurice Watson bring powerful mix of expertise and energy to the Foundation.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has announced the appointment of Carlos Rangel, Carmen Tapio, and Maurice Watson to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

The new appointments bring a powerful mix of expertise in the fields of investment, philanthropy, law, civil rights, education, and entrepreneurship to the Foundation’s mission of preparing people for success in their jobs and careers so that everyone has the opportunity to achieve economic stability, mobility, and prosperity.

“Our new trustees will help us sharpen the Foundation’s strategy as we seek to strengthen access to opportunity that has not historically existed for enough people,” said Esther George, chair of the Kauffman Foundation Board of Trustees. “Each new trustee brings critical life experiences as leaders who have experienced first-hand what it’s like to access education as an immigrant, start and grow a small business as a person of color, and be called ‘firsts’ in their fields.

The new trustees are:

Carlos Rangel

Carlos Rangel (Battle Creek, Michigan): A socially responsible investor driven by racial equity

Carlos Rangel has spent more than a decade working to further racial equity through philanthropic investments in his work with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, where he has served in various capacities, from portfolio manager in 2010 to chief investment officer beginning in 2021.

But his passion for investing in people to give them opportunities began much earlier than that. The son of college educated Mexican immigrants, he has seen firsthand the power of education to provide upward mobility – and how important it is to address systemic inequities.

WATCH: “Introducing Carlos Rangel: Kauffman Foundation Trustee” | 2:24

“I feel like it is my duty and my honor to do this work,” Rangel said. “I’ve been fortunate to have not only parents who could guide me, but also many sponsors and mentors along the way. And the truth is that education alone is not enough; you also need champions like that surrounding you and connecting you to their networks. I know not everyone has that, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m so passionate about the work that both the Kellogg and Kauffman foundations are doing. I want to pay it forward.”

Carmen Tapio

Carmen Tapio (Omaha, Nebraska): An entrepreneur who measures impact

Carmen Tapio is the CEO of the largest Black-owned business in Nebraska. When she started North End Teleservices, she didn’t have generational wealth or a fiscal sponsor to lean on; but she did have three decades of experience across diverse industries and a rich family history that taught her the importance of becoming entrenched in communities. Her company embodies that spirit. It began in 2015 in response to a consultancy engagement to develop a business plan for the North End of Omaha, an area with high unemployment. Tapio saw the potential for a business that could provide jobs and catalyze economic development in the area. Now it employs hundreds of people and is one of the fastest-growing companies in America for four consecutive years.

Its “Making Good on the Promise” initiative is investing in community development to further economic revitalization in the area. The efforts of the Kauffman Foundation mirror the initiatives undertaken by Carmen and her organizations in the community, resonating deeply with Carmen on a personal level.

WATCH: “Introducing Carmen Tapio: Kauffman Foundation Trustee” | 2:30

“I believe in the power of entrepreneurship to create not just business, but impact,” Tapio said. “A mentor once told me that the greatest impact we could have is to create jobs, so that’s where we started. I believe that everyone has the ability to contribute if given the opportunity, and I believe that when more people are successful, we all benefit.”

Tapio actively serves on various foundations, nonprofit, and public boards, including Werner Enterprises, where she chairs the ESG Committee. Her influence extends to the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, where she serves as chair, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Omaha Branch Board of Directors.

Maurice Watson

Maurice Watson (Kansas City, Missouri): Education advocate who believes in the power of philanthropy

Maurice Watson is a Harvard-educated lawyer who has worked on education and civil rights issues since the early 1980s. His work began in the offices of Senator John Danforth (R-MO) before moving to the law firm Blackwell Sanders (later Husch Blackwell), where he later became the partner and relationship manager for Kansas City Public Schools. In 2012, Watson was named chairman of the firm, making him the first African American to head a major law firm in Missouri – and the third to do so in the country. Throughout his legal career, Watson served on many nonprofit Boards and saw philanthropy as a way for communities to make systemic, long-term changes. That philosophy led him to launch Credo Philanthropy Advisors in 2018, when he transitioned away from law to help foundations, families, and donors achieve greater impact through their philanthropy.

“I grew up on the east side of Kansas City, went to Harvard and Washington, and then came back to KC. No matter where life has taken me, this was always home – and I’ve always wanted my neighbors here to have the opportunity to reach their full potential,” Watson said. “Traditional philanthropy continues to focus on problems. But philanthropy can and should drive social change and play a meaningful role in informing public policy. I am pleased to be working in this space and partnering with the Kauffman Foundation to do so.”

WATCH: “Introducing Maurice Watson: Kauffman Foundation Trustee” | 3:24

His civic involvement includes past positions as board president at Barstow School, his alma mater; board chairman of Children’s Mercy Hospital; and board secretary for the National Association of Independent Schools. He has formerly served on the boards of the Metropolitan Community College Foundation, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Trustees. Currently, he sits on the boards of Stowers Institute and Saint Luke’s Health System.

The trustees were chosen among a highly competitive field of national leaders in a process led by EFL Associates. Each trustee will serve a term of 3 years with two additional 3-year term options. The new trustees’ terms began October 1, 2023.

“Our work is committed to creating a more equitable society, and we are excited to have these new trustees bring their experience to bear to help us achieve this goal,” said Dr. DeAngela Burns-Wallace, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation. “Together we can help more people to achieve economic stability, mobility, and prosperity, regardless of race, gender, or geography.”

Our work is committed to creating a more equitable society, and we are excited to have these new trustees bring their experience to bear to help us achieve this goal.

— Dr. DeAngela Burns-Wallace
President and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation

Please direct questions regarding the Foundation’s new trustees to Kim Wallace Carlson, Director of Strategic Communications.