Longtime La Casa de Esperanza leader Villarreal to take position at Texas nonprofit

Anselmo Villarreal
Anselmo Villarreal

Anselmo Villarreal, the longtime president and chief executive officer of Waukesha-based nonprofit organization La Casa de Esperanza, is leaving the organization for a new position in Texas.

Villarreal, who has led La Casa for 31 years, has been named the next president and CEO of national social justice nonprofit group Southwest Key, based in Austin. He will stay on in his role with La Casa until March 2021.

La Casa’s chief operating officer Shari Campbell will serve as its interim president and CEO.

“My heart will forever be with La Casa de Esperanza, but Southwest Key needs a new leader to help it grow and thrive during challenging times. I am grateful the Southwest Key Board has placed its trust in me to take on this challenge,” said Villarreal, who previously served on the Southwest Key board. “There is more than one tear in my eye as I plan to leave La Casa after more than three decades of service to the community. However, I am heartened by the strong team in place to continue the La Casa mission of providing opportunities to those in our community, with an emphasis on the Hispanic population, who need support to achieve full social and economic participation in our society.”

Villarreal has led La Casa for more than half of the 54-year-old organization’s history. La Casa operates a variety of programs that serve Waukesha’s low-income and Hispanic community, including housing services, a Head Start program, charter school, a center for financial stability and weatherization services.

During his tenure, he has overseen two capital campaigns totaling over $12 million to build a new community center, complete building renovations and fund program initiatives. He also helped oversee the opening of the organization’s charter school, which serves low-income elementary school students, five years ago.

Villareal plans to assist with the leadership transition and search for his successor.

Campbell noted that La Casa’s programs are in a strong position as the leadership transition begins.

“Our Center for Financial Stability continues to help people move from poverty/low income to financial stability, and our Charter School now is performing quite well with an enrollment of over 200 students,” she said. “Our programs to help with home buying, job training and employment counseling remain strong. All of them are aimed at giving people a hand up, not a handout; and the goal is to help people become contributing members of the community. All of that work will continue.”

La Casa board chairperson-elect Jesus Cabrera, ecclesiastical judge at the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in Milwaukee, applauded Villarreal and Campbell’s leadership.

“Shari and the senior leadership team will keep La Casa on the right track,” Cabrera said.  “Anselmo leaves La Casa in a strong position and with many achievements. He has built a lot of lasting relationships that will endure long after he takes on his new challenge at Southwest Key.

“Indeed, we wish Anselmo well, and we are most grateful for his many years of service and his commitment to our mission.”

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