By Megan Hart
May 9, 2016
Shannon Cotsoradis, president and CEO of Kansas Action for Children, is stepping down after 19 years at the nonprofit advocacy organization.
Cotsoradis is leaving to assume “a leadership role” at the Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative, LLC, according to a KAC news release issued Monday morning. She has served in the top role at KAC for the last six years and recently has been one of the more vocal critics of Gov. Sam Brownback’s social policies.
Annie McKay, executive director of the KAC project, Kansas Center for Economic Growth since 2013, will succeed Cotsoradis.
McKay said in a Monday interview that she is joining KAC after a strong legislative session. She credited the organization with helping to avoid securitizing the tobacco settlement money that finances the Children’s Initiatives Fund.
Securitizing the tobacco money would net the state a substantial upfront payment at the expense of long-term funding for children’s programs.
“I view what Kansas Action for Children did this year as a huge accomplishment, to have protected the Children’s Initiatives Fund,” she said.
McKay said she hopes to use her experience in making economic data understandable to change the conversation surrounding fiscal policy and social services in Kansas. That includes highlighting programs to reduce childhood poverty as an investment in growth and productivity, she said.
“Once the state embraces a strong fiscal path forward, we’ll be able to have those conversations about how to invest,” she said.
The release didn’t say who will succeed McKay at KCEG, where former Kansas Budget Director Duane Goossen is a senior fellow.
Kansas Action for Children has received funding from the Kansas Health Foundation, which also is the primary funder of the Kansas Health Institute, the parent organization of the editorially independent KHI News Service.
Susan Fetch, president of the KAC board of directors, said the board was “sad” to see Cotsoradis go and was “deeply grateful” for her service to the organization.
“But the board has complete confidence in Annie’s ability to advance the mission of KAC in this transition,” Fetch said in the news release. “Her experience navigating the legislative process, her relationships with both Republican and Democratic policymakers, and her in-depth knowledge of state health, budget, and education issues make her the best possible choice to lead KAC into its next chapter.”