Board of Directors

Our talented and hardworking Board members serve a one-calendar-year term and are nominated by their peers. If you’re 21 or over and would like to join a future board, please contact us!

Darin Challacombe


  • I am passionate about making Kansas City a better, more accepting place for all people. I have operationalized this passion in community service. I began serving with the Center in February 2016, following my relocation to Kansas City. I am determined to ensure the KC LGBTQIA+ community is a safe environment for people to express themselves. In addition to KCCI, I volunteer regularly at several other organizations, including writing for the local LGBT+ magazine, Camp, and ushering at my church (Church of the Resurrection). I am a senior corporate trainer/curriculum developer, teach part-time at a university, and am finishing up a PhD in social psychology.

Craig Thomas

Vice President

  • Over the course of the last 7 years, I have been slowly working towards a unified LGBTQIA community.  It has always been my dream to see our community work as one.  The mission of the Kansas City Center for Inclusion aligns with my goals for our community, which is to offer a loving heart, a warm embrace, and a safe space for every member of, and supporter of, our community.


Stedmond Ware


  • Being new to Kansas City, I was inspired by the mission of the center and how it seeks to lift others to a higher level of understanding, consciousness, and acceptance for all. Profession wise, I currently serves as a Program Officer for the Corporation for National and Community Service for Kansas and Missouri located here in Kansas City. This involves providing oversight and management for AmeriCorps and Senior Corps grants.  I previously served as Project Coordinator for the Mississippi Delta Service Corps/ AmeriCorps VISTA Program at Delta State University, where I managed a 33 counties service area supporting the placement of members to serve low-income communities in the Mississippi Delta region. In December 2016, I published my first book called Mosaic Journey: Pieces of Me. My previous works include writing as a Columnist for Mississippi State University’s Newspaper, The Reflector, serving as an interviewer/writer for Cleveland, Mississippi‘s InStep Magazine, and published works in the Mississippi Poetry JournalI actively served as a Safe Zone/Space Ally during my time in Mississippi. A safe zone or a safe space is a confidential place where all people can bring their authentic selves and feel safe, welcome and included. This group was created to develop, enhance and maintain environments in workplaces, schools and other social settings that are culturally competent and supportive of the LGBTQ+ Community. I am extremely honored and grateful to be a part of a group of such magnanimous individuals.


Bruce Winter a/k/a Melinda Ryder

Board Member

  • I have been a part of the Kansas City LGBT community since 1976 and have been entertaining KC audiences as a female impersonator for over 40 years. I have been involved with fundraising and community outreach for many years. When I learned about an LGBT Community Center coming to our city I knew that I wanted to
    be a part of it. I enjoy classic movies, biographies, attending live theater, and enjoy the experience of watching a movie in a theater on the big screen. I am also interested in local history and architecture.

Buck Sommerkamp

Board Member

  • I’ve been in the communications field since I started working in radio as a junior-high student. I enjoy working on behind-the-scenes projects in media, organizing, user experience and public relations. I’m a designer and a UX researcher, having worked in radio, television, cable, and internet companies in the past. I have two grown sons, and live with my husband John and four cats in midtown Kansas City. On the weekends you’ll find me editing video or shooting photos around town, doing some design work, or hanging out with friends in Westport. I’m pursuing my master’s degree in interaction and user experience design at the University of Kansas, and work full-time with a team of user experience researchers and designers by day. It’s rewarding to volunteer with the Kansas City Center for Inclusion, and to be a vital part of our diverse community.

Athena Horton

Board Member

  • I am an Outreach Case Manager in Truman Medical Center’s Behavioral Health Department.  I assist young adults who are experiencing homelessness and mental illness to help them get connected to mental health care and housing. When I’m not at work, I use my theatre company – Louise Hyacinth Productions – to spend time working with writers on new works of theatre that have to do with social awareness or social justice. I began volunteering at KCCI because I wanted to become more involved in the LGBTQIA community, and I realized how important KCCI was to Kansas City. I’m proud to serve on KCCI’s board as a committee chair, and look forward to all that the Center has in store this upcoming year.

J. Nathan Hernandez

Board Member

  • Pronouns: Please ask me. Since the 2016 election, I have dedicated much of my time to local activism, founding Resist Hate KC and volunteering with various advocacy groups in the Kansas City metro.  I am passionate about economic, environmental, racial, and social justice and have started becoming active in Gladstone city civics. As a 31-year-old bigender Chicanx, I strongly feel living my life authentically and unapologetically is the best way I can help the transgender community.  I’m honored to be a part of the KCCI Board and am excited to help build and grow Kansas City’s vibrant LGBTQIA community.

Frances Grimstad

Board Member

  • I’m currently a Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology Fellow at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. I grew up in San Francisco, received my undergraduate degree at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, and my medical degree from the University of Southern California. I completed an Obstetrics and Gynecology resident at the University of Kansas and outside of fellowship manage a transgender health clinic at the KC Care Free clinic. I’ve had a diverse set of interests since childhood including civil liberties, transgender health, and intersex health advocacy, all of which steered me toward my current profession. I’m a strong supporter of community efforts to create safe and empowering spaces for persons of all sexuality and gender identities.

Board Director Financial Contribution

All board directors of KCCI are required to commit financially to the organization through either financial donations or gifts in-kind. To log contribution towards your annual obligation, find the form below:

Board Director Financial Obligation Form