Committed to success.

 

Executive Board

 
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president
William blanchard

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.

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Vice president
Nathan alexander

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. 

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Secretary
Jasmine Routon

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.

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Parent Seat
JoAnne Geigner

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


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Board Member at large
hannah sheets

Hannah has been a resident of Champaign-Urbana since 2009. She has a masters degree in Therapeutic Recreation from The University of Iowa and is the Associate Director of Community Choices in Champaign. There, Hannah focuses on building inclusive community relationships, supporting opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities to have leadership roles and influence in their communities, and on working with people with I/DD to strengthen the connections and relationships in their lives. Hannah, an LGBTQ+ community ally, first became involved with the UP Center as a pride planning committee member, then joined the center's board of directors in March 2019.

Youth Seat
maddy Boyd

 


Employees


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Youth Program COordinator
Zev Alexander

Zev (he/they) is a community organizer, activist, writer, and educator from Delaware. He graduated from NYU with a bachelor's in Social and Cultural Analysis in 2015, but most of his college days were spent organizing with the NYU LGBTQ Student Center. Since then, he's taught outdoor education and sustainability programs around the country while working with activists and organizers wherever he goes. Here in Urbana-Champaign, he co-facilitates CU Showing Up For Racial Justice, works with the Unitarian Universalist Church's Welcoming Congregation committee, and co-founded the Community Resiliency Cooperative. When not focusing on youth education and social justice, Zev can be found harvesting wild food in local parks, farming and gardening, and trying to learn Yiddish.

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Office Administrator
Josh Lane

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.