Post from Community: VIA CDC announces new executive director

Post from Community: VIA CDC announces new executive director

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The Board of Directors of VIA CDC (Community Development Corporation) and the School Sisters of Saint Francis are pleased to announce the appointment of JoAnna Bautch as Executive Director of VIA CDC, an award-winning community development organization that has leveraged over $50 million in neighborhood investment since 1995.

Bautch comes to VIA CDC from Citizen Action of Wisconsin, where she served as the Director of Movement Politics. There, she worked to achieve the mission of social, economic, and environmental justice. JoAnna played a key role by leading programming that develops local leaders into progressive candidates that are ready to run for and win elected office, especially women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ candidates. Previously, JoAnna served at the United Community Center (UCC), where she focused on her community-centered work by leading communications efforts focused on uplifting the education, economic development, and health of Milwaukee’s southside neighbors.

Bautch is a community organizer and communications professional who has spent her career working with advocacy and non-profit organizations across Milwaukee. Growing up in Milwaukee, JoAnna attended and graduated from Milwaukee Public Schools and then received her Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Alverno College.

“I grew up in the neighborhoods that VIA Community Development Corporation has served for over 25 years on Milwaukee’s near south side. This area is home to some of the most diverse constituencies in the state of Wisconsin and I am so very honored and excited to have been chosen to be the next executive director for VIA CDC, a non-profit organization dedicated to working with all of its neighbors to see our communities grow and succeed together,” said JoAnna.

Bautch takes over as Executive Director at a time when VIA CDC is in one of its strongest positions in recent history. Since 1995, VIA CDC has contributed to the neighborhood revitalization of Silver City, Burnham Park and Layton Park by facilitating and supporting:

  • 900 neighborhood resident leaders and volunteers implementing 64 community improvement projects (since 2012)
  • 1127 homeowners investing/leveraging $9.2 million in residential property improvements
  • $5.2 million invested in 27 Turnkey Renovation Homes for new homebuyers
  • $8.7 million invested in commercial property improvements
  • 149 jobs created and/or retained

“We all deserve to live in a place that nourishes us with a healthy and sustainable environment, equitable economic opportunity, and grassroots community leaders. I am committed to working collectively and collaboratively to create a Milwaukee where we can meet those goals and, in turn, empower all of our people to rise and thrive together,” said Bautch.

“The VIA CDC Board and School Sisters of Saint Francis – US Province leadership unanimously selected JoAnna Bautch. JoAnna has a proven track record of leadership and infectious enthusiasm for supporting the growth and development of the Milwaukee community,” said Marjorie Rucker, VIA CDC Board Chair and Executive Director of The Business Council, Inc. “We are very excited to have JoAnna lead VIA CDC during a time of growth and we look forward to continuing to work towards our mission.”

Brianna Sas-Perez, VIA’s outgoing Executive Director will remain in advisory capacity through May 2022. JoAnna Bautch transitions into her new role, officially commencing on March 21, 2022. To learn more about VIA CDC and their latest news please visit


VIA is a community development organization that cultivates community and neighborhood well-being through housing, economic development, and grassroots leadership development. We collaborate with neighbors, business owners and other stakeholders to nourish our community by connecting people, promoting resource sharing, and supporting community revitalization initiatives. Our mission is to be a partner in building strong, healthy neighborhoods where all of us can thrive.