Advisory Board

The role of the Advisory Board is to provide feedback to the Director and staff of the Center and to facilitate the success of the Center in reaching its goals and objectives. Advisory Board members provide a wealth of local expertise in neighborhood planning and community development.

The Center for Neighborhoods Advisory Board is a group of local experts and advocates who support the programs and activities of the Center and the Center’s mission to help build the capacity of Kansas City’s urban neighborhoods. The Advisory Board was established in the spring of 2016 and met for the first time on August 5, 2016. The Board meets quarterly.


jason-cooleyJason Cooley
Kansas City Missouri Police Department (KCPD)

Officer Cooley has 22 years of experience with the KCPD and is currently part of KC No Violence Alliance initiative (KCNoVA). His role is to serve the needs of individuals involved in violent crime or victims of violent crime in order provide stability for them and their families. Office Cooley has worked as a Community Interaction Officer for the East Patrol Division for more than six years. His expertise includes crime prevention and risk assessment surveys for residents, businesses, churches, and schools. Although he’s probably too humble to mention it, Officer Cooley received “officer of the year” award from KCPD in 2015.


erica-dobreffErica Dobreff
President, Kansas City Equity Fund, Kansas City, MO

Erica Dobreff is President of the Kansas City Equity Fund, a position she has held since 2006.  KCEF raises capital on an annual basis from financial institutions and corporations, and invests this capital in affordable and historic rental housing by purchasing federal and state tax credits.  Ms. Dobreff’s experience includes eight years with the Missouri Housing Development Commission. Her prior experience includes 19 years with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She has held positions with HUD in Chicago and Indianapolis, and began her housing career at local government agencies in Indiana. She serves on serveral boards and volunteers her time with the Kansas City Women’s Employment Network to provide employment preparation for women in the Kansas City metro area.


michael-duffyMichael Duffy
Attorney with Legal Aid of Western Missouri in Kansas City.

Mr. Duffy developed his legal practice around representing client groups, with an emphasis on transactional matters creating or rehabilitating affordable housing in the Kansas City metropolitan area. He has represented community groups, community development organizations and neighborhood associations to create or rehabilitate older, low-income housing, secure municipal services, and assist tenant organizations and neighborhood associations including: land acquisition, financing packaging, real estate closing and syndication, tax abatement, zoning, contracts with service providers and condemnation and litigation in support of blight removal, which currently repairs blighted, vacant homes at the rate of approximately 80-100 per year.


gloria-fisherGloria Ortiz Fisher
Executive Director, Westside Housing Organization

Ms. Fisher is the Executive Director of Westside Housing Organization – one of Kansas City’s leading community development organizations since 1973.  Ms. Fisher is an active member of the Kansas City Regional Equity Network and the Latino Civic Engagement Collaborative.


becky-forestBecky Forrest
President, Town Fork Creek Neighborhood Association

Ms. Forrest is the President of the Town Fork Creek Neighborhood Association in Kansas City, MO.  She is a retired professional with more than 22 years of experience at Black & Veatch Special Projects Corp in the Federal Division, a separate entity under the Black & Veatch umbrella.  While working in the Marketing Department,  she became quite knowledgeable with the rules and regulations of government work.  Her work was mainly done through the Corps of Engineers.  Ms. Forrest is from Mexico, Missouri.


shawn-hughesShawn Hughes
Development Specialist, City Planning and Development Dept., City of Kansas City, MO

Mr. Hughes works for the City of Kansas City, Missouri in a variety of capacities, including helping to manage the City’s urban neighborhood redevelopment work.   His focus includes housing and community development issues in the context of city planning.




triveece-peneltonTriveece Penelton, AICP
City Planner, Vireo, Kansas City, MO

Ms. Penelton is a city planner and public involvement innovator at Vireo. She is also the creator of the Digicate®, a software application for community engagement, which Vireo powers and utilizes as part of the outreach and information-gathering activities that are associated with planning projects. Triveece works with community organizations and government agencies at the state, county, and local levels. Prior to joining Vireo, Triveece served as a long-range planner with the City of Kansas City, Missouri’s Planning and Development Department in its Planning, Preservation, and Urban Design Division.