Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation has a lot to celebrateQ&A with MPACF CEO/COO, Alysha Pasquali

The Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation (MPACF) is well known for their local philanthropy efforts and being a catalyst for positive impact on all citizens of Isabella County. On March 31, they welcomed the Foundation’s sixth leader since it was formed 33 years ago in 1990, chief executive and chief operating officer, Alysha Pasquali.

MPACF board president, Marcie Otteman, says of Pasquali, “She is a smart, energetic and engaging leader who brings people together to build momentum.”

Pasquali joins the Foundation following a strong background in fundraising, marketing and nonprofit organizations. She has been well aware of the Foundation as her father, Jay Anders, retired CEO of Isabella Community Credit Union, served on its Board of Trustees. She and her husband, attorney Mark Pasquali, are donors to the Foundation.

“Mt. Pleasant, Isabella County, and the surrounding area have shaped who I am and allowed me to grow since I was in high school here,” Pasquali said. “Many opportunities have been given to me, and I can’t wait to create and expand opportunities for others, so they, too, can grow in their own unique ways.”

Now in her role for just over two months, we chatted with Pasquali to learn more about how it's going, and the goals she sees for the Foundation and the Mt. Pleasant community moving forward, in this Q&A. 

Alysha Pasquali, Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation (MPACF) CEO/COO, poses for a photo in front of The Hersee House at 306 S. University Ave. in downtown Mt. Pleasant. (Photo: Courtney Jerome/Epicenter)Epicenter: You've been in your role of COO/CEO of the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation for just over two months now—and wow, what a time to join the team! From rewarding scholarships, to raising funds during Give Local Isabella, to the Summer Celebration, can you fill us in on what's been happening?
Pasquali: I never knew two months could fly by so fast. April, May and June are three of the busiest months for the Foundation. I’m incredibly proud of the Foundation staff (Nancy Wheeler, Jaimie Capen-Cascaddan and Terrence Stallworth, Jr.). We are a small team who can juggle and accomplish a lot together.  

In May, we raised $79,686 during our 24-hour Give Local Isabella campaign. All dollars raised went into the endowed funds of the 24 participating organizations. Not only will these funds be around forever, but they will also generate spendable gifts that the organizations can use year after year. 

The Community Foundation awarded 114 scholarships totaling more than $161,500. Recipients were selected by a committee of 93 people, who reviewed over 1,100 scholarships. June 1 we celebrated our scholarship recipients. It was a wonderful evening where recipients, their families, and fund representatives were able to mingle and get to know one another. 

Now we are finalizing plans for our Summer Celebration at Hunter’s Ale House on Thursday, June 22. We will be celebrating our Cycle 1 Grant recipients, among other things. All are welcome. More details can be found on our website

Epicenter: You bring with you an impressive background to the Foundation. How do you see that translating to the work that you and your team is doing, especially as you have your "feet wet" now in your position? 
Pasquali: Any job in philanthropy or nonprofits has the same thing in common, and that is people. My favorite part of my new job has been interacting with the volunteers, donors, board members, and community members that are involved with the Foundation. I have been amazed to learn how many people are connected to us and I love hearing all the ways the Foundation has made an impact in individuals’ lives. 

The most important thing we can do at the Foundation is continue to build relationships with people who want to be involved with us. We can learn what they are passionate and interested in supporting, and work together to make their vision of good come to life. 

Epicenter: Speaking of your team, between you, three staff members and a 25-member Board of Trustees, it's a strong group that collaborates to support the establishment and use of endowed funds. Can you tell us more about your team, and what you've witnessed of their capabilities so far?
Pasquali: As I alluded in the beginning, I have the most incredible staff. Nancy Wheeler has been with the Foundation for over 20 years as our administrative officer. She, rightfully so, is in the process of retiring and we are looking for her replacement now. Nancy is a wealth of institutional knowledge and an asset to the Foundation and our community. 

Jaimie Capen-Cascaddan has been with the Foundation for almost four years as our program officer. She is the scholarship and grants queen. One of her many talents is building a strong rapport with fund representatives, grant recipients, scholarship recipients, committee members, and community members. 

The second newest member to the Foundation staff is Terrence Stallworth, Jr. He is a recent graduate of Central Michigan University and is the Foundation’s communication and donor stewardship officer. Terrence has been taking the lead on our social media sites and has a strong background in storytelling. There are so many good stories to share about the impact the Foundation has had on our community. I know we’ve only told a small portion and now we can share more. 

Epicenter: Communicating and connecting people within the community is certainly a strength of yours. Please share with us a success story of a Mt. Pleasant nonprofit or organization you’ve assisted that is a personal favorite of yours.
Pasquali: Boy! This is a tough question to answer because every organization and nonprofit we have a relationship with is deserving of support. The beauty of giving is that it is a personal decision. My job as the CEO is not to tell you what to support. My job is to know what is happening in our community and to be able to connect current and future donors to causes that they are passionate and interested in supporting. My husband, Mark, and I direct our giving to organizations that support children and animals. 

Epicenter: You definitely have a strong passion for giving back to the Mt. Pleasant community. What are your goals for the Foundation and our community moving forward? We can't wait to hear what's next!
Pasquali: I have been struck by the Community Foundation’s motto: “For Good. For Ever.” I think all the work we do can be centered around these four words. Our goal should always be to do good and help facilitate good things happening in our community. By raising awareness about the impact endowed funds have, we can continue to grow the Foundation’s assets and in turn can give more back to the community.
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Read more articles by Courtney Jerome.

With 15 years of professional media experience, Courtney Jerome has found a passion for storytelling and showcasing our region in a positive light. She's written stories for television broadcasts, numerous magazines, and digital publications. In addition, she owns a boutique creative marketing agency that focuses on social media, photo, and video storytelling for small businesses across Michigan and the country — Contact Courtney, the managing editor of Epicenter, at