Ivy M. Bell is a native of Marks, Mississippi and received a Bachelor of Public Administration degree from Loyola University (New Orleans, LA) in 1986 and in 1992, earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Bernard Baruch College/City University of New York (New York, NY). She is a Senior Planner in the Alachua County Department of Growth Management.
Ivy is a member of Springhill Missionary Baptist Church where she serves on the Board of Trustees and is a member of the Education Council. She is a member of civic and professional organizations including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., The Visionaires, Inc., and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators. Ivy serves as Treasurer of the CCMCC Board of Directors. Her personal interests include reading, attending cultural events, and traveling.
Karen Cole Smith, PhD
Dr. Karen Cole-Smith is currently Executive Director of Community Outreach and East Gainesville Instruction at Santa Fe College where she has been employed for more than 30 years. She currently serves on a committee for GNV for All, the Saturday Academy at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, the Greater Duval Neighborhood Initiative, and several other boards and organizations that help to empower people and the community. She is passionate about her ongoing involvement in the community and remains committed to many outreach efforts including her partnership with faith based organizations in East Gainesville and professional women’s organizations. Her current focus is on narrowing the achievement gap for minority students in the areas of technology, literacy and STEM through mentoring, tutoring, and partnerships with educational institutions.
Phillis Filer, Secretary
Phillis Filer is a native Floridian who has lived in Gainesville since August 1974. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Florida and Masters in Library Science from Florida State University. She is currently Public Services Administrator in charge of the Branch Libraries for the Alachua County Library District. She has been employed with the Alachua County Library District for 43 plus years. Phillis is a member of numerous civic and community organizations, including the Alachua-Central District Lay Organization and the East Conference Lay Organization of the AME Church, Florida Library Association, and Springhill Neighborhood Association. She is the recipient of the Anvil Award and the Hall of Fame Award from the 11th Episcopal District Lay Organization. She is a member of Mount Olive AME. Church where she serves in varying capacities. Her interests and hobbies include collecting African American figurines, reading, traveling, and mentoring young people.
Vivian Filer, Chairman
Vivian Filer is a long-time resident of Gainesville, Florida. Her professional career includes employment at Shands Teaching Hospital as both a Nursing Assistant and a Registered Nurse and at Santa Fe College as a professor of nursing. Vivian has served on a remarkably diverse number of committees, boards, and auxiliaries often as chair or president. She is also co-founder of the Springhill Neighborhood Association, and the Greater Gainesville Black Nurses Association. In her present role, she is founder and Chair of the Board of the Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center. Vivian’s leadership role started and flourished at Mt. Olive AME Church where she has served all her adult life. Vivian enjoys singing with her sisters in the a’ capella trio known as the Washington Sisters and entertaining audiences of all age with her story telling skill. She is the widow of Delano Filer Sr. and the mother of two sons, four grandsons and two granddaughters.
Rev. Helen Johnson-Ford
The Reverend Helen L. Johnson-Ford is the Senior Pastor of the Mount Olive AME Church in Gainesville, Florida. A native of Florida, Rev. Johnson-Ford was born in Tallahassee but grew up in Fort Lauderdale, receiving her primary education in the Broward County School System. She continued her education both nationally and internationally, having studied at Moda University in Istanbul, Turkey; Maryville College (Maryville, Tennessee); Edward Waters College (Jacksonville, Florida); and Anita Priest School of Interior Design (Miami, Florida). She has ministered throughout the states of New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Florida; and internationally in The Bahamas teaching and preaching the gospel and healing through the glorious power of God.
Evelyn Foxx is passionate about addressing racial discrimination and political, social, and economic inequity and injustice to ensure the rights of all people. Evelyn joined the Alachua County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) 22 years ago when she moved to Gainesville. Today, she serves as president of that organization, a position she has held since 2010.
Evelyn has used the power and prestige of the NAACP to support many causes and address many issues, including the school to prison pipeline and racial discrimination and mistreatment by local businesses and government officials.
Evelyn has served as a member of the City of Gainesville Parks and Recreation Board and was a founding member and chair of the Digital Divide Committee where she led the push to open computer labs in east Gainesville. She served as Chairwoman of the Gainesville Housing Authority and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Girls Place, Inc.
Evelyn has been named the Alachua County Democrat of the Year and has received the Santa Fe College Women of Distinction Award and the Florida State Conference NAACP Award.
Charles Kibert, PhD
Dr. Charles Kibert is Director of the Powell Center for Construction and Environment and a Professor in the M. E. Rinker Sr. School of Building Construction at the University of Florida. He is CEO of the Cross Creek Initiative, Inc., a non-profit organization that promotes responsible high performance green building to the construction industry. He received his B.S. degree from the U.S. Military Academy (West Point), his M.S. in Nuclear Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of South Florida. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Florida and has been a mechanical and electrical contractor in Florida. He oversees the construction and restoration of the Cotton Club building and the auxiliary buildings on the Cotton Club site.
Gwenuel.W. Mingo, PhD
Dr. Mingo is a retired educator with 30 plus years of experience teaching, counseling, advising, and preparing young adults for success in secondary and postsecondary educational institutions. In his retirement years, he is still helping students and parents to learn strategies and success behaviors that aid in their educational pursuits. His interests include traveling domestically and internationally, attending and supporting the AME Church, advocating for Florida A&M University(FAMU), gardening, officiating track and field events, learning foreign languages, and exercising, eating well, and living well.
Jon Reiskind, PhD
Dr. Jon Reiskind was born and grew up on Staten Island, New York. He received his A.B. from Amherst College and PhD from Harvard University in Biology, studying spider evolution, behavior, and ecology. He is a former president of the American Archeological Society. He has lived in Gainesville for almost 50 years and is a retired UF faculty member. He was former president of the local faculty union and chair of the Alachua County Democratic Party (2004 to 2012). He currently co-chairs the Community Coalition for Older Adults and is on the boards of the Institute for Learning in Retirement, the Alachua County Library Foundation, and the Retired Faculty of the University of Florida. He is the father of two children and grandfather of five.
Deloris Rentz, Financial Secretary
Deloris Rentz is a retired educator who taught in the public schools of Pinellas and Alachua Counties for more than thirty years. She currently serves as a community research coordinator with Dr. Carolyn Tucker’s Health-Smart Program through the Health Disparities Research and Intervention Program at the University of Florida. She is a member of the Gainesville (FL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, where she has served as parliamentarian, financial secretary, VP for programs, and VP for membership. She is a member of the board for Caring and Sharing Learning School, a charter school in Gainesville, and attends Open Door Ministries in Gainesville where she serves as director of several ministries. She is the recipient of several community awards. Her interests and hobbies include the theater, collecting African American art and artifacts, and mentoring children and young adults.
Regina "Casey" Smith
Casey Smith, currently a Community Relations Coordinator at Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU), has an extensive background in resource development in the non-profit community. She is the past Resource Development Director at Alachua Habitat for Humanity where she also specialized in neighborhood revitalization. She was the Resource Development Director at Meridian Behavioral Healthcare for a number of years. She founded and was the Executive Director of the Cris Collinsworth Foundation for eight years while owning and running Special Events Unlimited, Inc., a special event fundraising company. She frequently volunteers with area non-profits and is most interested in low-income and affordable housing. Casey is a University of Florida graduate in Journalism – Public Relations.
Otis Stover, Co-Chair
Otis Stover is a lifelong resident of Gainesville who grew up next door to the Cotton Club in Gainesville’s Springhill neighborhood. He is a graduate of Santa Fe College, a retired corrections professional, and a criminal justice educator. He is an avid history buff, especially African American history. Currently, he is vice president of the Lincoln High School Alumni Association and a member of the board of trustees for Mt. Olive AME Church.