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P.O. Box 15312,

Gainesville, FL  32604

Executive Board Members

Linda Fuchs

Linda Fuchs does research and writing about third-century Christian art history. She has previously served as Chair of the Board of Chesterton House, a Christian Study Center, in Ithaca, NY. Since arriving in Gainesville, she assists in hosting activities of the University of Florida as the spouse of its president, Kent Fuchs. Her outreach interests in literacy and mentoring have led to the founding of Gainesville Thrives. 

Rev. Steve Gregg

Rev. Steve Gregg is Lead Pastor at Creekside Community Church at 2640 NW 39th Ave., having served on the pastoral staff there for 23+ years. He has been instrumental in extablishing a partnership of Creekside Community Church with Glen Springs Elementary School.  His wife Kim Gregg, former Chair of the Board for Gainesville Thrives, works at JJ Finley Elementary School and has founded an after-school homework help group for middle school youth in the Horizon House residential complex community room.  Kim continues to volunteer with Gainesville Thrives.

Ben Young

Ben Young is an undergraduate at the University of Florida studying history and political science. He is Vice President of the Navigators, a student ministry on campus that focuses on small-group Bible study and one-on-one discipleship. Before being appointed to the board, Ben spent 2 years as a volunteer with Gainesville Thrives. Being the son of educators, Ben is passionate about literacy and the power that it has to transform lives. 

Dr. George Dix Jr.

George Dix, Jr. is the Senior Pastor, Founder of PASSAGE Family Church and President of the PMI Ministerial & Leadership Development Institute based in Gainesville, Florida. Pastor George holds a Doctorate of Divinity degree from St. Thomas Christian University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida.

Pastor George is a passionate educator and Kingdom builder. He is, particularly, a strong advocate for Christian-based education. He and his wife Michele officially launched PASSAGE Ministries in March of 2002. Together they also established their first church location, a second church site in Gainesville, two (2) certified pre-schools, a certified kindergarten thru 12th grade high school, a Ministerial Institute, a daily radio broadcast, and a social media internet ministry. He is an international speaker, leadership trainer, visionary, and business entrepreneur. PASSAGE Ministries' has global missions and evangelism efforts in North America, Haiti, Africa, and the Dominican Republic.

Kate Fletcher

Kate Fletcher is a Senior Lecturer and Family, Youth, and Community Sciences Faculty Advisor at UF. In 2003 she earned her M.S. with a thesis concentration on at-risk youth development, peer influence, and decision-making theory.  Prior to UF, Kate earned her B.S. at the University of Alabama in Human Development and Family Studies, with concentrations in Child Development and Family Development.

Kate has been having lunch weekly for five years at J.J. Finley Elementary School with her son Jackson and his classmates and friends. She was named Undergraduate Teacher of the Year at the University of Florida College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in 2012. She skillfully deploys many UF volunteers from FYCS. Kate's passion for teaching undergraduate students has led her to create a service-learning study abroad program to Galway, Ireland, launching the summer of 2017.

Stephen Courson

Stephen Courson is the CEO of GreenFin Ventures and has leadership roles within Citron Clean and Accelerate Digital Agency. Before graduating from the University of Florida in 2008, Stephen spent his time volunteering with children in middle schools that were not at their academic reading level. Having a passion for reading and writing, he not only continued to mentor children beyond college, but wrote and published two fictional novels (Legacy: Secrets of a Prince and Legacy: The Sea Searchers' Scrolls) in order to inspire children to read. He believes in mentorship, currently mentors and has a mentor himself.

Dr. Karen Cole-Smith

Dr. Karen Cole-Smith is the Executive Director for Community Outreach and East Gainesville Instruction for Santa Fe College.  She is a member of Envision Alachua’s Task Force on Education.

Laura N. Lynch

Laura N. Lynch worked as a pediatric and labor and delivery nurse for ten years before “retiring” to take care of her growing family and devote more time to volunteer work. All four of her children attended Alachua County public schools. In 2000, Laura, along with her husband Jay, were co-founders of the Christian Study Center of Gainesville which serves the university community at large. She currently serves as the director of development on a part-time, pro bono basis and continues to promote the Center. Among other things, Laura serves her church, hosts a variety of groups and mentors young people.

Pastor Karl Anderson

Pastor Karl Anderson is President of the Alachua County Christian Pastor’s Association.  He is one of the Founders and Senior Pastors of Upper Room Church of God in Christ. Upper Room's Community Impact Corporation (URCIC) is a 501c3 that developed a ‘Youth Impact' program to provide mentors as role models for youth and families.  It focuses on training to reach educational goals, make decisions, connect through fellowship, and find career resources, while engaging the family so that systemic changes can take place in the home. URCIC provides activities to structure interaction between youth and their families through UR Youth Center and Performance Arts Academy, UR Fun! Summer Camp and UR Afterschool Tutorial and Mentorship Program. UR Afterschool Tutorial and Mentorship Program partners with the Village and Forest neighborhoods.

Pastor Gerard Duncan

Pastor Gerard Duncan is a native of Carol City, Florida. He is the Founder and Senior Pastor of Prayers by Faith Outreach Ministries based in Gainesville, Florida. A long-time advocate for re-entry and mentoring programs for at-risk youth and their families, he organized events that targeted at-risk youth and engaged them with recreational and educational activities. He and a group of young men he mentored through his fatherhood training program, Innovative Dads, engaged local youth and their families with outreach events to bridge relationships between these youth and their families, local law enforcement, and educational and social service organizations. Pastor Duncan believes empowering families with the awareness of possible socio-economic opportunities provides measurable outcomes and sustainability.

Pastor Mike Raburn

Mike Raburn joined the Gainesville Vineyard as Lead Pastor for the church in June 2017. He has been a leader in the Vineyard movement since 2003: teaching (adults, youth, and children), preaching, leading small groups, counseling, directing a food pantry, leading an elder board, pastoring, leading worship, weekly podcasting, running a day shelter for those experiencing homelessness, and creating content used by a number of churches. Michael is originally from Plant City, FL and is a Vineyard theologian with a Ph.D. in theological ethics from Duke in 2013. He enjoys reading, writing, movies and visiting art museums. His calling in life is to deeply connect others to God.

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 Advisory Board Members

 General Board Members