City Union Mission honored CiCi Rojas, a member of the MCC Foundation board of directors, as one of this year’s “Women Who’ve Changed the Heart of the City.”
The ninth annual luncheon April 12 recognized three “women making a positive impact on the fabric of our city through their tireless dedication.”
Rojas was raised in the Argentine neighborhood of Kansas City, Kan., where her parents held factory jobs. Interviewed onstage at the awards ceremony, Rojas attributed her success first to family, followed by hard work. She also credited “the people you surround yourself with,” including her husband.
Another question concerned diversity and inclusion. In Kansas City, “I still think that we have to turn that talk into action in a more strategic way,” Rojas said, adding that a commitment to diversity is not only the right thing to do but “also good for business.”
And on the topic of her “heart’s desire for the future of Kansas City” . . .
“Oh, that’s easy,” Rojas said. “I want the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl. In addition to another Royals win.”
She’s also encouraged by the young professionals around town who are “stepping up” to make a difference.
The Women Who’ve Changed the Heart of the City event was established in 2008 to raise funds for City Union Mission’s camp for disadvantaged children. Over the years the goal grew in size and scope, and the event now helps fund the organization’s mission to provide warm beds, nutritious food and a place of safety for thousands of poverty-stricken and homeless men, women and children.
In the printed program, Rojas described Kansas City as “just ripe with opportunities for people to be engaged. There are a number of events, initiatives and organizations that make an impact — that make a difference in people’s lives.”
Rojas is CEO and president of the Central Exchange. Formerly vice president of community engagement for Truman Medical Centers and president/CEO of the Greater Kansas City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, she also plays a role in a number of civic organizations.
Rojas joined the MCC Foundation board in 2011. “I think they felt that to have someone on the board who had experience working with their graduates would be helpful to them,” Rojas told MCC News. Truman Medical Centers, her employer at the time, hired many MCC grads who were riding “the health care wave.”
The MCC graduates Rojas met at Truman had typically been nontraditional students who needed to “retool” their lives or in some cases just needed an opportunity. “Myself, I was someone who had the good fortune to get a second chance. That’s what a lot of these folks need and what they’re provided at MCC.”
To read more about Rojas and her impact on the community, here are a couple of profiles that document her dedication and passion:
Last year, MCC retiree Barb Friedmann was honored with the City Union Mission award. She was recognized as the founder and former executive director of Coalition for Community Collaboration/Community Together. In her work, she unified more than 450 organizations that serve the disenfranchised and poor to assist at-risk children and families in our area.