Connecting with Joy

In his day job, Kevin Pleasant ’87 is vice president, senior treasury management officer at Minnesota Bank and Trust. In his personal life, he does a lot of 5K fun runs—and one of them changed the trajectory of his life.

At a 5K seven years ago, Kevin ran into Martha (Stadstad) Larson ’87. She had just taken on the role of CFO at Living Well Disability Services, a Twin Cities–based organization that serves more than 300 people living with disabilities in 37 group homes and through in-home services. Martha invited Kevin to their annual gala, where he got the hard sell about joining the board.

As board chair, Kevin Pleasant ’87 attends lots of Living Well functions, like Family Fun Day 2023, where he made friends with Living Well home residents and staff.

Kevin’s no stranger to serving on boards—he points out that people who work in banking often feel the pull to give back to their communities. But of Living Well, he says, “I have two children, including a son with disabilities who is on the autism spectrum and has mild cerebral palsy. So as a parent of a child with disabilities, I had some personal reasons for wanting to get involved.”

Seven years later, Living Well rewrote its bylaws to allow Kevin to continue to serve on the board (term limits used to max out at six years). These last two years, Kevin has headed up the organization as board chair.

One of Kevin’s proudest moments from his time with Living Well was in 2023, as part of a team of advocates who lobbied the Minnesota legislature for more funding for disability support staff. Kevin notes that support staff in homes like Living Well’s hadn’t had an increase in their funding rates from the state since the early 2000s. Happily, the 2023 legislative session brought nearly $3 million in new, recurring funding to Living Well in 2024 and kicked off annual cost of living adjustments for staff in its immediate care facilities.

“The individuals we support are really medically fragile and have intensive medical needs, and some of them can’t speak or see,” he says. “The people who work with them and support them are with them 24/7. They really live the mission.”
The people at Living Well, Kevin says, have expanded his passion for wanting to help. He echoes one of the organization’s program managers when he says: “My work with Living Well is not really a volunteer job or an effort—it’s a joy.”

Kevin Pleasant ’87 speaks at the 2023 Living Well Disability Services gala.

Luther Connections Abound!

Kevin can’t help but highlight the many connections between Living Well and Luther. Not only was he recruited by Martha (Stadstad) Larson ’87, but he joined the board at the same time as Kris (Kleppe) Olson ’87. Living Well’s 2023 gala was also full of Luther supporters. Kevin, who had a presenting role, recounts, “I’m giving this audience of 400 people my speech, and then I point out: ‘That table over there is full of my Luther friends. And this video you’re about to see about one of our homes? The neighbor in this video is a Luther grad. Are you guys sick of hearing about this yet? We’re everywhere!’”