100 Years, 100 Stories
This is one in a series of stories about the leadership of the Metropolitan Community College Foundation board. MCC Foundation directors serve as ambassadors for the College, advocate in the community on its behalf, and raise money to support student scholarships and special campus initiatives across the district.
KATHY ACHELPOHL, an officer at-large, joined the board in 2013.
Thirty-second bio: Achelpohl is an architect with PGAV, an architecture, design and planning firm with offices in Kansas City and St. Louis. Previously, she led the higher education sector at BNIM, working on projects at UMKC, Washington University in St. Louis, Chatham University in Pittsburgh, and the University of California-Los Angeles, among others. She was a team leader for the award-winning Bloch Building at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. She serves on the Kansas City Municipal Art Commission and is active with the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City.
An early connection: One of her first jobs was with a firm in Westport that worked on the master plans for MCC’s Maple Woods and Longview campuses, although Achelpohl wasn’t directly involved.
Something different: Achelpohl was asked to join the Foundation board after volunteering to help plan MCC’s Five Star Gala a few years ago. She was co-chair of the logistics subcommittee for the Centennial Celebration gala in April 2015.
Working with MCC was “a different opportunity,” she says — a lot of her earlier volunteer work had been with arts organizations such as the Nelson. She’s currently on the advisory board for KU’s architecture department. “I place a lot of value on higher education, and a community college like MCC really strives to make that available for as broad a group as possible in our community.”
A diverse group: The MCC Foundation board is “a diverse group of people” who support the College. “That was attractive to me, connecting with and having a broader understanding of what’s happening in our community and who some of the supporting players and businesses are.”
In the last couple of years the board has expanded its membership to “make sure important groups and businesses” are represented. “It’s exciting to see it grow and reach further out into the community,” Achelpohl says.
A new era: As a board member, she’s interested in learning more about MCC, including details of the new strategic plan “so we can be working to support those initiatives.” And though there may have been a day when the foundation board was mostly focused on the annual fundraising gala, the current board is working on a variety of things, she says, including increased outreach to Kansas City companies.