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Gay Community Endowment Fund Board

Board members serve without pay to help the fund continue impacting the lives of Summit County’s LGBT community. 

The diversity of the board helps strengthen the fund's work in the community and provides a vast knowledge base. The following community leaders serve as board members. Click on their names for more information.

Cynthia Christman
Chair
Cynthia Christman

Chair
Lieutenant, Akron Police Department

Cindy has worked as lieutenant for the Akron Police Department for nearly 25 years. As a zone commander, she protects the citizens of many local neighborhoods, including Downtown Akron, Highland Square and the University of Akron. Cindy is a graduate of the Certified Law Enforcement Executive program, which emphasizes skills in ethics, human resources, team facilitation, strategic planning and budgeting. She has a master's degree in justice administration from Tiffin University and a bachelor's degree in emergency management from the University of Akron.

Phil Montgomery
Chair-Elect
Phil Montgomery

Chair-Elect
Manager, Risk Advisory Services, BDO USA LLP

Phil is a manager in BDO USA LLP’s Risk, Management and Technology Advisory Services (RMTAS) practice. He has more than 11 years of risk management, business process and IT experience working with various organizations in the manufacturing, telecommunication and public sectors. Prior to joining BDO, he served for three years in municipal government administration, where he worked for the City of Akron as the deputy director of public service and CIO. In addition to his role with GCEF, Phil is a board member of the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition, past chair of the County of Summit Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board, 2011 Alumni Member of Torchbearers, graduate of Leadership Akron Class of 31, a 2013 recipient of the 30 for the Future Award from the Greater Akron Chamber, and a former member of the Akron City Council. Phil lives in Highland Square with his husband, Andrew.

Sheila Martin
Secretary
Sheila Martin

Secretary
Financial Advisor, Ameriprise Financial

Sheila is a Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, and Accredited Domestic Partner Advisor. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Sheffield in England and a master’s degree from Kent State University. Sheila is an active supporter of the Humane Society of Greater Akron and a member of Plexus, serving on its membership committee.

David Jesse
Treasurer
David Jesse

Treasurer
Senior Director, Global Capital Markets, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

David is a financial executive who specializes in benefit accounting, funding and investing. He currently works as the senior director of global capital markets at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in Akron, where he excels in team building and investment strategizing. David has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bowling Green State University. He is an active volunteer in the community and serves on the board of Weathervane Community Playhouse.

Bernie Burchett
Bernie Burchett

Consultant, Ohio Department of Education

Bernie is an independent consultant with the Ohio Department of Education. Prior to her work as a consultant, she spent more than 30 years with Akron Public Schools, ending her career there as the executive director of teaching and learning. She's an Akron native who received her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Akron. 

Michael Byun
Michael Byun

CEO, Asian Services in Action

Michael is the chief executive officer of Asian Services in Action, a social service agency serving the needs of low-income Asian and Pacific Islanders in Northeast Ohio. He has a wealth of experience in nonprofit management and development, previously working as the development director for the Asian Counseling and Referral Service and major gifts officer at Oberlin College. In 2014, Michael was chosen to serve on President Obama's White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. He earned an MPA in nonprofit management from the University of Washington.

Vince Curry
Vince Curry

President and CEO, Fair Housing Advocates Association

Vince is the president and CEO of Fair Housing Advocates Association in Akron, where he investigates housing discrimination cases against racial and LGBT minorities. Most notably, he led the case against the City of Zanesville for its refusal to supply safe drinking water to minorities, resulting in a $10.9 million verdict against the city. Vince also serves as second vice chair for the National Fair Housing Alliance. He has received awards from many organizations for his work, including the Akron Black Women’s Leadership Caucus and the Ohio Senate. He has also been a speaker and panelist at the H.U.D. National Fair Housing Policy Conference. Vince is a graduate of the University of Akron.

John Grafton
John Grafton

Marketing Committee Chair
Retired, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

After spending 33 years at Goodyear, retirement hasn’t slowed John down. A founding member of GCEF, John currently serves on the board of Weathervane Community Playhouse, where he is on the Trustee Nominating Committee, the Governance Committee and the Building & Grounds Committee, as well as volunteering to run the gift shop, bar sales and various backstage duties. John served on the Akron Task Force of Gay Games 9 and was honored to be a torchbearer in the opening ceremonies. He is a member of Plexus, the Lambda Car Club and the Society of Automotive Engineers. John received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati and currently resides in Bath Township with his husband, Richard, and two Great Danes, Apollo and Bacchus.

Julie Jones
Julie Jones

Head Softball Coach, The University of Akron

Julie is the head softball coach at the University of Akron, where she leads a top-ranked team of athletes. She previously served as the head softball coach at Cleveland State University. Julie is a dedicated community volunteer, serving on the Women’s Athletic Alumni Association Board of Directors at Baldwin Wallace University and the Women’s Board of the Summit County Juvenile Detention Center. She is also an alumna of Leadership Akron and was selected as one of the Top 40 all-time Softball Players of Influence surrounding the 40th anniversary of Title IX. Julie is a graduate of Baldwin Wallace University and Cleveland State University.

Ed Kancler
Ed Kancler

Nominating Committee Chair
Retired Administrative Partner, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP

Ed practiced real estate law and contract litigation continuously before retiring at the end of 2005. He also was the managing editor of the Case Western Reserve Law Review. An active supporter of the LGBT community, Ed previously served as president of PFLAG and has spoken about LGBT issues at the University of Mount Union, Kent State University and a number of high school Gay-Straight Alliance meetings.

Doug Kohl
Doug Kohl

Senior Consultant, Lighthouse Counsel

Doug Kohl is a senior consultant with Lighthouse Counsel, where he assists nonprofit organizations with strategic planning, board development and donor analysis. He previously spent more than 40 years with the YMCA of the USA, including serving as CEO of the Akron Area YMCA, where he helped raise more than $40 million for capital improvements. Doug is active in the local arts community and regularly volunteers with Weathervane Community Playhouse. He also serves on the boards of the Well Community Development Corporation in East Akron, Furnace Street Mission, South Street Ministries and numerous arts organizations. Doug is a graduate of Leadership Akron and is a multiyear recipient of the Harold K. Stubbs Humanitarian Award. He has a bachelor’s degree from George Williams College in Chicago and a master’s degree from Aurora University.

Babette Medcalf
Babette Medcalf

President, Net Revenue Associates LLC 

Babette is the president of Net Revenue Associates LLC, a health care consulting firm that focuses on revenue integrity services for both for-profit and nonprofit health systems. Previously, she worked as a registered nurse at the Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging for 20 years, serving as a liaison between the hospital and nursing home community in a five-county area. In 2014, Babette and her husband graciously served as Patron Party hosts for GCEF's Sugar Plum Tour, leading Babette to later join the fund's advisory board. In addition to her work with GCEF, Babette volunteers with several local organizations, including the Battered Women's Shelter and Akron Children's Hospital. She also serves on the Finance Committee for the Kent State Newman Center and was a member of its capital campaign committee. Babette has a degree in nursing and has been a registered nurse for 40 years.

Nicole Mullet
Nicole Mullet

Executive Director, ArtsNow

Nicole is the founding executive director of ArtsNow, an organization that works toward leveraging arts and culture in Summit County to support and strengthen the region’s economic and social vibrancy. In this role, she connects artists with resources; helps organizations understand the economic importance of the arts/culture sector; and works in partnership with community partners, elected officials, and businesses to support and advocate for Summit County communities. Nicole attended the University of Akron, receiving a bachelor's degree in integrated language arts as well as a master's degree in social-philosophical foundations of education. In addition to serving on the board of the Gay Community Endowment Fund and co-chairing its 2017 Sugar Plum Tour, Nicole is also an alumna of Torchbearers, where she served on the board and was president in 2016.

Heather Roszczyk
Heather Roszczyk

Akron Entrepreneurship Fellow, Fund for Our Economic Future

Heather is the Akron entrepreneurship fellow for the Fund for Our Economic Future, a collaboration of philanthropic groups dedicated to advancing economic growth in Northeast Ohio. In her role, she connects entrepreneurs to available resources, provides financial support to existing and emerging efforts to support Akron’s entrepreneurial culture, and promotes entrepreneurship in the city. In addition to her work with GCEF, Heather is a founding board member of PechaKucha Akron and serves on advisory boards for ECDI and the Business Management & Marketing Department for Stark State University. In 2017, she was selected by the Greater Akron Chamber as a recipient of its 30 for the Future award. Heather is a graduate of Indiana University in Bloomington.

Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands
Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands

Judge, Summit County Court of Common Pleas

Judge Rowlands was elected to the Common Pleas Court in 2008 and in January 2013 was elected as presiding judge in the General, Domestic Relations, Juvenile and Probate Divisions of the court. Judge Rowlands graduated from Youngstown State University and received her law degree from the University of Akron School of Law. She is also active in the community, having served two terms as chair of GCEF, as well as serving on the board of the Akron Civic Theatre.
Patricia Rubin, M.D.
Patricia Rubin, M.D.

Scholarship Chair
Cardiologist

Dr. Rubin is a board-certified cardiologist specializing in noninvasive cardiac imaging and diagnostic and clinical cardiology. She is currently a partner in a single-specialty cardiology group and a clinical assistant professor of medicine at NEOMED. Dr. Rubin is a graduate of Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. She previously practiced at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Rubin chairs the GCEF Scholarship Committee, which awards scholarships to LGBT and allied students.

Eric Jones
Emeritus Member
Eric Jones

President, Jones Group Interiors

Eric is the president of Jones Group Interiors, a full-service residential and commercial design group. Eric serves on the board of directors for Keep Akron Beautiful. He is also instrumental in the Gay Community Endowment Fund’s Sugar Plum event and works hard each year to find uniquely designed homes for the tour.

Rick Krochka
Emeritus member
Rick Krochka

President, TRIAD Communications/Next Level Interactive

A founder of GCEF, Rick has lent his marketing and communications expertise to many local nonprofit organizations both personally and professionally. His company’s Design4Good program has contributed more than $550,000 in pro bono services over the last 20-plus years. A graduate of Kent State University and Leadership Akron, Rick is also active on several nonprofit boards, including Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, Friends of The Summit, and the United Way of Summit County.

Steven P. Schmidt, Ph.D.
Emeritus member
Steven P. Schmidt, Ph.D.

Past Chair
Chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Associate Dean of Research, College of Pharmacy, Northeast Ohio Medical University

As a founder of the Gay Community Endowment Fund, Dr. Steven Schmidt has been involved with the fund since its inception. A graduate of Leadership Akron, he has served on numerous boards in the community. Dr. Schmidt retired from Summa Health System in 2014 after 33 years in leadership roles for the health system. He then transitioned to his current role at NEOMED as the chair of pharmaceutical sciences and associate dean of research for the College of Pharmacy. Dr. Schmidt received his bachelor's and master's degrees from DePauw University, and his doctorate from Idaho State University.