2009 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

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Role models who give us Reasons to Believe in the power of education

Ian B. Bautista

Sumner Academy of Arts and Science, 1989Ian B. Bautista

Families and communities are at the heart of Ian Bautista's work. As president of the United Neighborhood Centers of America (UNCA), he strives to provide for the health and success of community organizations and the connection of U.S. residents to the greater global context. He also works to provide opportunities for the next generation of leaders of diverse backgrounds and youth.

His entire career has been comprised of working in the nonprofit arena, trying to make a difference in peoples' lives. His experiences in college, working as a tutor and a residence counselor for the Project Choice summer program, helped form his career path.

"That work ignited in me the desire and commitment to give back to the community and that's what really got me on the path to my career as it is today," he said.

Prior to UNCA, Bautista served as a management consultant for NeighborWorks America, a congressionally chartered nonprofit community development intermediary. He then moved on to become president and CEO of El Centro in Kansas City, Kansas.

Great teachers and role models helped Bautista succeed in school. He remembers Principal Connie Moritz supporting and guiding him throughout his school years. Accountability, perseverance and leadership are just some of the many skills he gained during that time.

"High school was really a challenging experience, but it prepared me well for my future and I wouldn't trade it for anything," he said.

Bautista holds an MBA from Rockhurst University, a master's in regional and community planning and a bachelor of arts in political science and Spanish from Kansas State University.

In his spare time, Bautista has volunteered as a youth debate coach, a marriage preparation trainer for his church, and a parent peer advisor at a children's hospital.