Candy Hanson has stepped back from her founding role in leading Sioux Falls Thrive. Former Sioux Falls City Councilor Michelle Erpenbach, who joined Thrive in March 2020, took on the position of president on Jan. 1.

“We’ve expected and prepared for this transition for some time,” said Deb Koski, Chair of Thrive’s Board of Directors. “The good news is that while Candy is leaving her administrative position, she’ll continue to direct Thrive’s housing, food security, and out-of-school time action teams and to facilitate several task teams.”

Cradle to Career Initiative

Hanson was closing out 15 years with the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation when she was asked to develop Thrive. As a cradle to career initiative, Thrive was targeted by the Forward Sioux Falls Strategic Workforce Action Agenda.

“Having an experienced nonprofit CEO to lay Thrive’s foundation and get our first projects going was a tremendous benefit,” Koski said. But it wasn’t only Hanson’s organizational skills that kept Thrive moving ahead. “Once our strategic direction was set, Candy innovated. She’s leading a series of initiatives that have dozens of agencies and hundreds of volunteers collaborating to improve services to the kids who will need help achieving their school and career potential.”

Hanson will serve as Thrive’s Director of Community Collaboration.

Candy Hanson, Director of Community Collaboration

Candy Hanson

I’ve been fortunate to work with an extraordinary team of board members for the past four years. They’ve given voice to the dignity and worth of all children growing up in our community. I couldn’t be prouder of the strong organization we’ve built. I’m delighted to work on Thrive’s next chapter!

Candy Hanson

Sioux Falls Thrive

Leading Kid Link Riverside

Erpenbach served from 2010 to 2018 as the Central District representative on the council. She served as both council chair and vice chair, and on a variety of related committees, including the Homeless Advisory Board. Her work as a community organizer includes founding and serving 10 years as the volunteer coordinator for the Sioux Falls Community Gardens.

She was hired by Thrive to coordinate the organization’s first initiative combining the work of Food Security and Out-of-School Time action team members. Named Kid Link Riverside, the initiative is focused on the children and families living in the attendance areas for Laura B. Anderson Elementary School in northwest Sioux Falls.

Even with COVID-19 precautions that prevent Kid Link Riverside from using the school as a base of operations, Erpenbach has gathered a core group of volunteers, neighbors, and family members. The group is developing a combined after-school and meal program using Sermon on the Mount Mennonite Church across the street from LBA.

Michelle Erpenbach, President

Michelle Erpenbach

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