Scott Neeley met his partner, UA Professor Stephen Russell, in 1993 while waiting for a table at a Chinese restaurant in Washington, DC. They had just attended a march for gay / lesbian rights. The rest follows, he contends, as night follows day. Scott and Stephen built a life together first in North Carolina, then in California, and now in Tucson, where they live in a house Scott renovated in the Colonia Solana neighborhood.
Scott grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, and graduated from Brown University. After college, he worked as a carpenter renovating historic houses, then returned to graduate school in architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. After a few years with a San Francisco architectural firm, Scott opened his own practice. He has current projects in several locations across the country.
Scott joined the Alliance Fund Board in 2008, and has served as a leader of the Development Committee. What really excites him about the Alliance Fund is that it can seek out and sponsor projects that make a real difference in southern Arizona. With an active Board and little overhead, the Fund can connect its donors directly with community organizations that provide a lasting and significant benefit to LGBT people.
To John Jackson, diversity is just another word for normal. As a Puerto Rican child raised by Jewish adoptive parents, John traveled the world with his family, attended school in Cyprus and graduated from high school in Mexico. As a result of these experiences, John is accustomed to approaching issues from a variety of viewpoints. He brings a welcome perspective to his service on the Alliance Fund board, encouraging service, support and excellence across the whole range of LGBT&S communities.
John is in his third year on the Alliance Fund board, where he works to organize the Fund's representation at Pride and other events. additionally, he has participated actively on the Grant Selection Committee to assure that donors' contributions are well spent.
In his professional life John is a travel planner. He has travelled extensively with his partner, Bill Haller, throughout Central and South America. Once a week, John volunteers as a peer counselor at SAAF. He finds this work both challenging and rewarding because of the wide variety of young people he meets.
Kristen Birner (shown above with comedian Kate Clinton) is in her third year as an LGBT-Straight Alliance Fund Board member and currently serves as vice-chair. She has headed planning and execution of several successful events, including the 2009 Kate Clinton appearance at the Temple of Music and Art; and the LGBT&S Alliance Fund's 10th Anniversary “Evening with Music and Friends” in May, 2010. She also serves with John Jackson as an Alliance Fund representative at the Tucson GLBT Chamber of Commerce and is a vital member of the Alliance Fund's grant-review panel and site-visit team.
Kristen has a business background, helps coordinate G2H2, sings in her church choir, gives a good speech, and will play an important role in the Alliance Fund's development strategy for its second decade. Her partner, Colette Barajas, is another pillar of the Tucson LGBT community. Kristen is dedicated to the Alliance Fund mission and its goals of helping prospective donors find the very best projects to support that will benefit the LGBT community. She is savvy, motivated, and committed, a nice mix.
Felipe Caldeira is the Program Coordinator for the LGBT-Straight Alliance Fund. He is a first contact for inquiries and information about the Alliance Fund, and serves as coordinator of the fundraising and grant-making activities of the Fund's Board of Advisors.
Mr. Caldeira grew up in Sao Paulo, Brazil and in New York City. He received a B.S. in Public Health from the University of Arizona and is currently pursing a Master's degree. in Public Health Policy and Management. He has served as a research assistant in the Departments of Neurology and Mathematics and is certified in biomedical research. His skills in software applications, fluency in multiple languages, and people skills are put to good use in facilitating and promoting the activities of the Alliance Fund.
I came to the U of A to study medicine but after becoming more involved in my coursework in public health, campus activities, and service learning, I felt that I could have more of an impact on a community level, such as public health, rather than on an individual level, such as medicine. I hope to work for organizations to help create legislation that will bring about an end to health disparities and promote better health behaviors and lifestyles to all individuals. I'm now working as the Program Coordinator of the Alliance Fund and I'm loving every minute of it.