Growing up in the ghettos of Dallas, Carlos Venable-Ridley quickly identified ways to overcome obstacles with a how-to-succeed mentality. After delaying his own education and putting two brothers through college, Carlos received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Southern Illinois University in 1995, and later earned a Master of Science in administrative studies from South Dakota University in 1999.
Since moving to the Midwest in 1995, Carlos has tirelessly served the working class community of Sioux City as an activist and an advocate. Selected as one of Siouxland’s “Forty under Forty” in 2002 for his commitment to community issues, Carlos has an established record of public service. He is a former member of the Girls Inc. Board of Directors, a former treasurer for Mary Treglia House, the vice president of the Coalition for Cultural Awareness, the vice president of Task Force Friend, an executive board member of the Sioux Chapter of the NAACP, project coordinator for the Iowa Accountability Project and a former member of the Sioux City Human Rights Commission. Selected by Governor Tom Vilsack, Carlos served on the 3rd District Judicial Selection Committee for four years. His community volunteerism has also found expression in coaching fifth-grade football, boys’ and girls’ basketball and track and field.
Carlos lives out his philosophy that community advocacy is a mandate, not an option. Licensed as a minister and serving on the ministerial leadership team at New Life Family Center Church, Carlos serves as the church administrator, the financial manager and comptroller, the audio/visual technician and a substitute teacher for the children’s ministry.
Carlos has focused on improving the safety and well-being of his community’s most treasured resource: the children of Sioux City. He served as the project director of a $7.4 million grant awarded to the Sioux City Community Schools. The grant provided students, the school district and the local community with enhanced and comprehensive educational, mental health, social service, law enforcement and juvenile justice system services that promoted healthy childhood development and prevented violence and substance abuse.
For more than a decade, Carlos has given voice to struggling children, working families, disempowered workers and marginalized individuals in Sioux City and throughout the country. Through his advocacy and volunteerism, Carlos has participated in national forums, has served on statewide committees and has worked on local boards and initiatives to improve work and life conditions for Siouxlanders.
Carlos started C & A Properties LLC, a fully integrated real estate investment company, in 2003. He resides in the Morningside area of Sioux City with Michelle, his wife of 15 years; their son, Carlos II; and their daughter, Alijah.