Kapanke to lead The Sanneh Foundation!

In 2003, while still at the height of his professional soccer career, Tony Sanneh created The Sanneh Foundation (TSF) to leverage what he saw as soccer’s unique potential to create positive social change for youth.  The Foundation sought to empower youth by supporting and promoting educational attainment through in-school and after-school mentoring, improving lives by providing programs that strengthen physical health and social and emotional development, and uniting communities by advancing diversity, equity, and community well-being.

After his retirement from soccer in 2010, Sanneh ran one program with an annual budget of $30,000.  Today, The Sanneh Foundation offers educational, physical, and community programming through six unique programs with an operating budget of $3.5 million, and a $10 million comprehensive campaign is underway.  

The campaign will allow TSF to update and expand facilities at the Conway Community Center to increase academic learning spaces, replace the kitchen where 30,000 meals are served annually, and build turf fields and a winter dome.  The campaign will also support the Foundation’s operational capacity so the organization can grow at a sustainable pace while improving program quality.

The Sanneh Foundation is excited to welcome Mai-Anh Kapanke, former Executive Director of MENTOR Minnesota, as its new Executive Director!  “Mai-Anh will be the cornerstone of our organization’s expansion and maturing process, and she comes to TSF with experience, passion, and the abilities that I look for in a partner,” says Tony Sanneh who will continue overseeing program innovation, community partnerships and resource development as President and CEO.  

Serving as a statewide and national leader on quality mentoring, Kapanke is highly regarded for her leadership, innovation, and collaborative spirit in the mentoring and youth development fields.  She was instrumental in the development and launch of a statewide online quality mentoring assessment tool for mentoring programs, which through the expertise of her and her team, recently helped replicate Minnesota’s tool to serve as the national model for program quality.  Kapanke has more than 18 years of experience building and operating sustainable direct-service and capacity-building mentoring organizations. She provides executive leadership and management on fundraising campaigns, statewide and national marketing initiatives, and serves as a lobbyist for positive youth development funding priorities.  Kapanke graduated from Michigan State University with a journalism degree and minor in English. She is a former Humphrey Policy Fellow at the University of Minnesota and completed the University of St. Thomas Institute for Executive Director Leadership program. Kapanke is a former TV journalist and anchored news and weather in several Midwest markets.  She and her husband, Nick, reside in Rosemount and have two daughters who play traveling soccer with the Eagan Wave Soccer Club (EWSC). Kapanke served as the sponsorship director for the EWSC over the past three years, contributing to growth in its sponsorship budget from $1,000 to $25,000 annually.