20 September 2019 |

RELEASE: John Wilson to take reins as president at Kansas Action for Children

Sept. 20, 2019

TOPEKA, Kansas — Kansas Action for Children’s Vice President of Advocacy John Wilson has been selected as the group’s next president. He will take over in a planned transition from Annie McKay, who will depart KAC on Oct. 31 after seven years, three of them as president.

“I’m honored to step up as KAC marks 40 years of working on behalf of Kansas children and families,” said Wilson, a longtime nonprofit leader and former three-term state representative. “Our team has been busy tackling the big problems facing our state, and we’re eager to share solutions that will transform lives.”

Wilson joined Kansas Action for Children in September 2017 and has worked alongside McKay since then.  He has focused on expanding affordable and accessible child care, restoring and strengthening work and family supports, and building a responsible and robust state budget and tax system. He has toured the state talking about the importance of children’s issues for KAC and become a familiar voice through TV, radio and print media reports.

“Children don’t need just one thing to succeed,” Wilson said. “They need nurturing places and spaces, high-quality early education, and access to routine health care. 

“Unfortunately, too many Kansas kids – more than 100,000 – live in poverty. They face barriers that block them from success. Those barriers need to come down.” 

During his five years in the Kansas House of Representatives, Wilson focused his efforts on health policy and making the legislative process more collaborative. Over the previous decade, Wilson helped build the Alliance for a Healthier Generation into the leading national nonprofit focused on childhood obesity prevention. 

Angela Knackstedt, chair of KAC’s board of directors, said that Wilson’s background and his successes at the organization make him the natural choice to lead. 

“The board is excited to see John expand the vision of KAC’s new strategic plan in the years to come,” Knackstedt said. “Kansas needs a confident, passionate voice to educate, engage, and activate champions for children. We have been beyond fortunate to have Annie as that voice, and John will continue to take us to new heights.”

Before serving as president of KAC, McKay served as the founding executive director of the Kansas Center for Economic Growth (KCEG) project within KAC. The fledgling project was transformed into a respected and reliable statewide resource on Kansas budget and tax policy. McKay has traveled the state and country, educating thousands about issues affecting Kansas children and families. 

Born and raised in Kansas, Annie plans to cheer KAC on from the sidelines before embarking on the next chapter.