As the Catholic Community Foundation for Eastern South Dakota (CCFESD) said goodbye to longtime President Mark Conzemius at the beginning of January, they welcomed Vice President and COO Tony Menke as the new President and CEO as of Jan. 7, 2024.
Beginning in 2022, Menke was the first-ever COO for the CCFESD, responsible for the support and growth of the staff and the day-to-day operations. Prior to joining the CCFESD, Menke worked 9 years for the nationally recognized Catholic outreach program, Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). As a regional director, he managed missionaries across the country. Menke developed a new position as Director of Diocesan Relationships to further the collaboration between FOCUS and dioceses throughout the United States. He is concluding his masters degree in theology from the Augustine Institute in Denver.
“We are excited for Tony to lead the Catholic Community Foundation into the future,” said Kami Kurtenbach, chair of the CCFESD Board of Directors. “Tony’s proven, faith-filled leadership skills will serve the Foundation and its donors and beneficiaries well into the future.”
“At the same time, we are grateful to Mark Conzemius for his 30 years as the president and CEO,” added Kurtenbach. “Beginning as the first full-time employee, Mark led the Catholic Community Foundation’s tremendous growth and impact. We are excited that he has agreed to continue to support our mission as president-emeritus, allowing Tony to step into his new leadership role with confidence, while assuring the Foundation is able to retain its institutional knowledge and relationships.”
Menke’s announcement came after a seven-month process led by a CEO Search Committee, chaired by CCFESD Board member BJ Schaefbauer from Aberdeen. “I am humbled by the selection and support of the board and staff,” Menke said. “I am very excited to see what God has in store for the Foundation and how God will give the people of this diocese opportunities to respond to their call of discipleship through the sharing of their treasures.”
Under Conzemius’ leadership, the CCFESD has grown from $9 million in assets to $153 million, distributing over $130 million during that time to hundreds of donor-designated beneficiaries. Over 140,000 gifts have been processed totaling over $322 million—including $131 million in future estate gift expectancies.
“The Catholic Community Foundation is one of the most dynamic organizations of its type in the country,” Conzemius said. “I am excited for the future. Tony is a man of integrity that is steady, passionate and committed to Christ’s mission in the Church. He brings an evangelistic perspective, supporting Bishop DeGrood’s vision for lifelong Catholic missionary discipleship through God’s love. The Foundation is blessed to have his leadership, along with the talented staff and board members.”
Menke and his wife have five children and are parishioners of St. Lambert Parish in Sioux Falls.