Welcome!

Select an option to learn more about how we can help.

Individual

Private Foundation

Wealth Manager

Family

Nonprofit

Attorney

Company

Gay Community Endowment Fund Board

Advisory board members serve without pay to help the fund continue impacting the lives of Greater Akron's LGBTQ+ 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.

Phil Montgomery
Chair
Phil Montgomery

Chair
CFO, Summit County DJFS

Phil is the chief financial officer for the Summit County Department of Job & Family Services. Throughout his career, Phil has worked with various organizations in the manufacturing, telecommunication, public accounting and government sectors. In addition to his role with GCEF, Phil is a board member of the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition, past president of the Community AIDS Network/Akron Pride Initiative (CANAPI), 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. Additionally, in early 2018, Phil was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from Torchbearers. Phil lives in Highland Square with his husband, Andrew, and their children, Brooklynn and Adrionna.

Julie Jones
Vice Chair
Julie Jones

Vice Chair
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.

Nicole Mullet
Secretary
Nicole Mullet

Secretary
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 our Summit County communities. Nicole attended the University of Akron, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in integrated language arts, as well as a Master of Arts degree in social-philosophical foundations of education. Nicole is a member of Leadership Akron Class 34 and a 2018 recipient of the Arts Alive Rising Leader Award. She co-chaired the Gay Community Endowment Fund's 2017 Sugar Plum Tour. Nicole is a proud alumna of Torchbearers, where she served on the board and was president in 2016.

Stephannie Garrett
Treasurer
Stephannie Garrett

Treasurer
Controller, Klein’s Pharmacy and Orthopedic Appliances 

Stephannie has been a member of the Akron community since 2004. Continuing to give back to the community she loves brought her to the Gay Community Endowment Fund. Stephannie is the treasurer of Tuesday Musical Association and the Miller South Art Boosters and has volunteered with many other organizations, including CANAPI, One of a Kind Pets and the annual PorchRokr Music and Art Festival. When she is not volunteering, Stephannie is the controller for Klein’s Pharmacy and Orthopedic Appliances, where she oversees the financial operations of the family-owned community pharmacy. Stephannie is a graduate of The Ohio State University and has a Master of Science degree in accounting. She lives in Fairlawn with her wife, Ellen, an occupational therapist; her 10-year-old daughter, Emma, who is a visual art student at Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts; and two step-daughters, Larkin, 11, and Tess, 8, who reside primarily in Buffalo, New York.

Bernie Burchett
Bernie Burchett

Academic Monitor for Lorain City Schools, 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/International Community Health Centers

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

Executive Director, Fair Housing Advocates Association

Vince is the executive director of Fair Housing Advocates Association in Akron, where he investigates housing discrimination cases against racial and LGBTQ+ minorities and people with disabilities. 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 Board of Trustees. He has received awards and recognition from many organizations for his work, including Chase Bank, Governor Ted Strickland, Summit County Executive James McCarthy, Nazareth Housing Development Corporation, and the Ohio Senate. He has also been a speaker and panelist for conferences sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, and the National Fair Housing Alliance. Vince graduated from the University of Akron with a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial management. He is the proud father of two sons. In his spare time, he mentors youth. 

Ed Kancler
Ed Kancler

Nominating Committee Chair
Attorney, Retired

Ed practiced real estate and business 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 LGBTQ+ community, Ed remains a board member of PFLAG, having previously served as president. He has spoken about LGBTQ+ issues at the University of Mount Union, Kent State University and a number of high school Gay-Straight Alliance meetings.

Doug Kohl
Doug Kohl

Chief Development Officer, YMCA of Greater Cleveland

Doug is the chief development officer of the YMCA of Greater Cleveland, where he is responsible for philanthropic initiatives, mission advocacy, government relations and collaborations. He previously served as CEO of the Akron Area YMCA for 25 years, 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, South Street Ministries and numerous arts organizations. Doug is a graduate of Leadership Akron and is a 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.

Michelle Krocker
Michelle Krocker

Judicial Attorney, Eighth District Court of Appeals 

Michelle is a judicial attorney at the Eighth District Court of Appeals. She previously worked as an attorney for Community Legal Aid, serving victims of domestic violence. In 2016, Michelle and her wife opened their home for the Gay Community Endowment Fund’s Sugar Plum Tour, which sparked her interest in joining the fund’s advisory board. Michelle is an honorary co-chair and steering committee member of the Elevate campaign, a capital campaign for 91.3 The Summit.  She also previously served on the board of Arc of Stark County. Michelle earned her degrees in chemistry and law from the University of Akron. She and her wife live in Akron and are avid foster parents of homeless dogs and cats.

Babette Medcalf
Babette Medcalf

Sugar Plum Tour Co-Chair
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.

Antha Poleondakis
Antha Poleondakis

Senior Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch 

As an investment associate with the Merrill Lynch team of Huth, Kozer & Associates, Antha works with families to identify, implement and pursue their various financial goals. She received a bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Akron, with concentrations in financial planning and real estate finance. She is a Certified Financial Planner(CFP®) and earned the Certified Investment Management Analyst® designation through the Wharton School of Business. In addition to her work with the Gay Community Endowment Fund, Antha is involved with a number of community organizations, including the Women's Endowment Fund, Victory Gallop, Women In Touch With Akron’s Needs (WITAN), the Akron Zoo and Portage Lakes Rowing Association. She is a member of Leadership Akron Class 34.

Heather Roszczyk
Heather Roszczyk

Innovation & Entrepreneurship Advocate, City of Akron

Heather serves the City of Akron as the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Advocate in the Mayor’s Office. She is the voice of entrepreneurs and business owners inside city hall, supporting existing and emerging efforts to bolster Akron’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and promoting a culture of entrepreneurship throughout Akron. With experience in both corporate and nonprofit sectors, Heather also serves on advisory boards for ECDI, the University of Akron Institute for Leadership Advancement, and Stark State Business Management and Marketing Department. In 2016, she received the Greater Akron Chamber’s 30 For the Future award. When not working, she can be found on the trails of Cuyahoga Valley National Park training for an ultramarathon, wrangling her two precocious children, or drinking a microbrew with her small-business-owning husband.

Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands
Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands

Judge, Summit County Court of Common Pleas

Judge Rowlands was first elected to the Common Pleas Court in 2008, after 19 years in private practice representing clients in civil and criminal matters nationwide. Judge Rowlands graduated from Youngstown State University and The University of Akron School of Law. She often describes her educational and career path as a long and meandering road full of interesting twists and turns, each of which provided priceless experience to better serve the community. In addition to her assigned civil and criminal docket, Judge Rowlands leads a Supreme Court certified Re-entry Court, providing intensive supervision, support and direction to recently released inmates to promote their law abiding behavior and social and economic productivity. 

In 2017 and 2018, Judge Rowlands was selected as an International Association of Women Judges delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. IAWJ has more than 5,000 members from 82 countries; Judge Rowlands was one of only 20 judges honored to join the delegation. Overcoming barriers to gender equality and access to justice are among her highest priorities. Joining the collective action at the United Nations was instrumental and gratifying; Judge Rowlands always finds tremendous joy in the company of smart, committed women.

Patricia Rubin, M.D.
Patricia Rubin, M.D.

Scholarship Chair
Cardiologist, Cardiovascular Consultants

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 LGBTQ+ and allied students.

Cynthia Christman
Emeritus Member
Cynthia Christman

Immediate Past Chair
Retired, Akron Police Department

Cindy served as a lieutenant for the Akron Police Department for over 25 years. As a zone commander, she protected 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.

John Grafton
Emeritus Member
John Grafton

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.

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

Rick is the president of TRIAD Communications, a digital advertising and marketing firm. 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 years. An alumnus of Leadership Akron (Class 27) and Kent State University, Rick is also active on several nonprofit boards, including Downtown Cuyahoga Falls Partnership, NEOMED University Foundation, United Way of Summit County, Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens and Friends of The Summit.

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

Vice President for Research & Dean of the College of Graduate Studies, Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 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 vice president for research and dean of the College of Graduate Studies. Dr. Schmidt received his bachelor's and master's degrees from DePauw University, and his doctorate from Idaho State University.

Peter Schofield
Emeritus Member
Peter Schofield

Retired, Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.

A native of Weld, Maine, Peter served in the Navy in active and reserve duty from 1954 to 1961. His military service took him across the world before landing at Kent State University, where he majored in industrial labor relations. He soon secured a junior executive training position, which led him to employment at Bridgestone/Firestone. In his new career, he traveled throughout the country, eventually landing at the company's corporate headquarters in Akron. Peter completed his 35-year career as the director of corporate industrial labor relations and chief negotiator. In 2001, Peter and a small group of friends came together to establish the Gay Community Endowment Fund. Among many other roles, he served as chair of the fund's Guidelines and Policies Committee while keeping a historical record of the fund. In 2017, Peter received the Paul Daum Award from the Gay Community Endowment Fund in recognition of his support of the LGBTQ+ community.