Committed to success.
As "the gay kid" at a rural high school, William learned firsthand the value of programs and services that specifically help LGBTQ individuals. William moved to Champaign-Urbana in 2002 to attend the University of Illinois, and has stuck around ever since. His experiences in the community include serving as Co-Chairperson of the Champaign County chapter of Equal Marriage Illinois, Assistant Director of the Spring 2007 Illinois LGBT College Conference, Coordinator and Fundraising Chair for the 60-person University of Illinois delegation to the 2011 Midwestern Bisexual, Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, and Ally Collegiate Conference, and the Director of several National Coming Out Day celebrations and Day of Silence celebrations. He was also privileged to help rebuild the University of Illinois' LGBT Speakers Panel program and the PRIDE student organization. William has two rabbits, Bobbi and Ted, who are kind enough to let him crash at the apartment which he rents for them.
Nathan is originally from Carbondale, IL and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Natural Resources and Environmental Science. Although new to Champaign-Urbana, he's interested in helping create a strong community and provide resources to the LGBTQ+ community. Nathan helped establish the Gay Straight Alliance at Carbondale Community High School in 2007, and gained experience leading small teams and connecting people with resources through work as a resident assistant and crew lead on wildlife research projects. Nathan joined the board in January 2018 and is excited to see the center's growth and development.
Jasmine has been a resident of Champaign since 2015. She moved to the area from Kentucky to pursue a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on rural LGBTQ+ individuals and families and their experiences of poverty, housing instability, and other social inequalities. Jasmine joined the board of directors early 2016.
JoAnne, of Urbana, is the parent representative from the UParents group. The proud parent of a transgender teen, JoAnne resides in Urbana with her husband, son, and a house full of cats. Born in Chicago and raised in the suburbs, she’s been in central Illinois for the past 20+ years. JoAnne enjoys working in social media and public affairs, and currently coordinates communications for the Urbana School District #116. She earned a bachelors of arts in Literature/Communications from Illinois Benedictine College. As a member of Equality Illinois' Community Advisory Group, she focuses her advocacy on issues of education and equality for transgender youth and others who identify as LGBTQ+. She is also a volunteer Advocate for Champaign County CASA.
Members at Large
Children, Youth, and Family Coordinator
Jacob Goffnett, MSW
Jacob became the Youth Coordinator at the UP Center in June 2017. He has worked with youth in residential and community settings for seven years. Jacob is also a Ph.D. student in social work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research looks at the contribution emotions make to health outcomes and disparities for sexual and gender minority adolescents.
Josh became the office administrator at the UP Center in December 2018. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Springfield.
Originally from the Peoria area, Josh moved to Champaign in 2014, where he met his partner, Cameron. The two share a home with their Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Siamese-mix cat.
Volunteer Group Facilitators
Gal UP group facilitator
Ayla Grady, CPA
Ayla is a CPA at CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, a public accounting firm, where she focuses on auditing and assurance services for not-for-profits and local governments. She has been involved with the Gal UP group for a couple of years, and took over as facilitator in early 2015. Her involvement in the group and in many of the UP Center events over the last couple of years has led her to a wonderful group of people and a community she is proud to be a part of. Ayla is also an active member of the Young Professionals of Champaign-Urbana, and in her free time enjoys reading, attending concerts, and spending time with her family and friends.