Board of Directors

Board of Directors

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Ken Carlson

Ken is a native of Contra Costa County. In his early childhood, his family lived in Concord but then settled in Pleasant Hill in the early 1970’s. He attended Pleasant Hill Middle School and moved on to Pleasant Hill High School. He would have been a member of the last graduating class in 1980 if his father had not been transferred to Southern California before his senior year.

While growing up in Pleasant Hill he became an Eagle Scout as part of Walnut Creek Troop 820 and enjoyed the benefit of PHBA, playing many baseball games on the fields at Pleasant Hill Park. Ken discovered from an early age about giving back to your community through dedicated public service. His grandfather, James Moriarty, was a long time county supervisor and he was often taken along on to Walnut Festival Parades, campaign stops, and other such events.

Ken graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.A. in Communications. He then travelled to Seoul, Korea for eighteen months of missionary work. He lived and worked in the Korean communities learning their language and teaching English.

Returning to the Bay Area he settled briefly in Martinez and enrolled in a Masters program at San Francisco States University. While a student, he was hired as an Intern with the Concord Police Department in February of 1988 and 6 short months later offered a position as a Police Officer. By December he had graduated from the Police Academy and began a career as a Police Officer. During this time he was also instrumental in successfully broadcasting the first Concord City Council meetings over the local cable networks.

Ken has had a very diverse career with the police department working as a Patrol Officer, various investigative positions, a Crisis Negotiator and is currently assigned to the Traffic Unit as the Traffic Investigator. He worked as a member of the county’s Forensic Mental Health Team, which was a coalition of multiple county agencies, nonprofit organizations, the courts and Law Enforcement focusing on the chronically homeless and mentally in our communities. He became very active in the Concord Police Association, serving on the Executive Board, as President, and chairing the Political Action Committee.

Ken has never lost his strong feelings for Pleasant Hill and has always thought of it as his hometown. His goal has always been to return home and contribute to this community by supporting the values that maintain the small town charm of Pleasant Hill. He looks forward to serving on the City Council, working to strengthen the community, ensuring the financial stability of the City, and maintaining public safety of this great “hometown.”

Contact: rccboardpresident@rainbowcc.org

Gerardo Valencia
Vice President

Gerardo Valencia has been involved with the Rainbow Community Center since 2012. He was originally born in the Mission District of San Francisco, CA and now resides in Concord, CA. Initially, he came to the center in need of support of starting a club and safe space for LGBTQ+ students and their allies at his former school, Ygnacio Valley High School. He eventually stumbled upon the center’s youth program, Operation Q, and became more involved as he formed a strong community with other youth members and its mentors. Gerardo has participated in panels and facilitated workshops for LGBTQ youth, their parents and educators to bring a general awareness to issues prevalent in the community. He will obtain a BA in Criminal Justice with a Minor in LGBTQ Studies in Fall 2017. As he approaches the end of his academic career as an undergraduate, he hopes to advocate for QTPOC youth in the criminal justice system through his professional endeavors.

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Cliff Fahey, MBA

Cliff is almost a native Californian. Although born in Oregon, he spent most of his childhood in Southern California and is now happy to call Northern California “home.” Cliff has lived and worked throughout the Midwest, originally as a commercial and illustrative photographer, and later in IT for many years. He now works as a Senior Project Manager. Cliff is a “recovering Evangelical” with a more spiritual view of the world; he loves to discuss religion and politics. In addition to still dabbling in photography when he travels with his husband, Cliff also makes fused glass artwork, enjoys motorcycle riding, and is an excellent chef! Cliff and his husband Tom have been together over eight years and celebrated their union with a wedding ceremony in February 2015. They live in Concord with their two dogs, Max & Sandy.

Joanna Ceponis

Joanna Ceponis is a transwoman and native of Pittsburgh, PA.  She moved to Berkeley, CA in 1972
after finishing at Carnegie-Mellon University with a Physics/English double major.  She married her college sweetheart in 1975, then worked at various occupations from computer programmer to casino dealer, to chess teacher.  She divorced amicably in 2007, then moved to Concord, CA, a town she loves.  She discovered RCC in early 2015 after out closeting at the end of the previous year.  Over the course of two years she has become progressively more involved
with RCC and its people.  At first support groups, then volunteer work, now honored as a member of the Board of Directors.  She lives with two cats, plays jazz guitar, and gigs with her ex on keyboard.

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Elba Morales Goostree, MA

Elba Morales Goostree was born and raised in the Bay Area. She holds her BA from Patten University in Oakland and a Master of Arts in Systematic and Philosophical Theology from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.

She is passionate about the intersections of social and racial justice, religion, feminism, and the flourishing of the LGBTQ community in both social and religious spheres. She is a member of the LTBTQ Latinx Roundtable from the Center of Lesbian and Gay Studies in Berkeley. Elba works in the non-profit field in Contra Costa County and lives in Oakland with her spouse, dog, and several succulents.


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Dorann “Dodi” Zotigh, CST, MS

Dodi began volunteering with the RCC when she first moved to the Bay Area in 2009, and joined the Board in July 2015. She has a BA from Cornell University in Feminist, Gender, Sexuality Studies and a MS in Educational Leadership from CSU East Bay. While attending Cornell, she was President of ZAP!, a sex, gender and sexuality discussion panel; Fundraising Chair for Cornell’s Gay Straight Alliance; an active member in Haven, Cornell’s umbrella LGBT organization; and the Undergraduate Representative for the Feminist, Gender, Sexuality Studies Steering Committee. Dodi spent 11 years in the Army Reserves while Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy regulated gay and lesbian soldiers. During this time, she was a Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of a unit of 15 soldiers, conducted medical trainings, and organized events educating soldiers on racism, sexism and domestic violence. Currently, Dodi works for Mt. Diablo Unified School District at the Adult Education School as the Surgical Technologist Program Director. She is passionate about continually improving education and helping individuals learn in a challenging, safe, and empowering environment where all identities are acknowledged and supported.


Chris Spanos

Chris Spanos is the founder and board member of the Rossmoor LGBT Alliance, an organization that promotes and helps create a positive and vibrant LGBT community in Rossmoor.  He was very fortunate to come out in the mid 70’s to be a part of the gay movement after Stonewall.  Chris helped organize and participate with many LGBT organizations throughout the past 40 years.  He was a founding member of the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Chorus (GMCLA), he helped create and manage operations for Frontier’s Magazine (the first gay slick news magazine in Los Angeles), he produced the first Gay Pride concert in Los Angeles, participated and performed at the first Gay March in Washington DC and he helped organize and manage the first cultural celebrations at both Gay Games in San Francisco.  Chris has served on many boards including Christopher Street West (CSW) in Los Angeles as well as the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, where he also served as their business manager.  Chris lives in Rossmoor with his husband Troy.




Vanessa Nyborg Blum, PhD

Vanessa is a Contra Costa County native.  After graduating from College Park High School, she attended the University of California Los Angeles as an undergraduate and double majored in Psychology and African American studies.  She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Duke University.  While employed for Contra Costa County, she was an active member of Contra Costa Health Services LGBT Pride Initiative and provided behavioral health services for Contra Costa Health Services’ first transgender health clinic.  Presently, Vanessa is the Clinical Director at a non-profit agency that provides mental health services to youth and families.

Vanessa is committed to advancing social justice, fighting discrimination, and addressing issues of equity in education and healthcare.


Ben-David Barr, MSW, PhD
Ex-Officio and Non-voting Board Member

Prior to becoming our Executive Director in July of 2008, Ben served as a board member from 2003 – 2008 and he served as Board President from 2006 to 2008.  Ben returned to the board in 2014 when RCC designated our CEO/E.D. as an Ex-Officio (by reason of their office) board member and as a non-voting board member.

2017 Youth Representatives

Wallace Yan

Wallace Yan has benefited from their involvement with RCC since they entered the Youth Program at fourteen years old. They have shared their experience through voluntarily speaking on panels on Transgender and Non-Binary issues in partner with the RCC for numerous events and hearings. Currently a student at Diablo Valley College majoring in Theater Arts and works as a freelance Properties Designer in the Bay Area. Wallace is passionate in creating theatre focusing on POC Queer experiences and Theatre for Social Justice. They plan to transfer to UC Irvine for a BA in Drama and minor in Queer Studies.


2017 Board Associates

Rik Newby

Vanessa Blum


Many thanks to all of our past Board Members
for their service and continued support*

Ben-David Barr

Ursula Bartels

Sherry Berman

Nan Breedlove

David Brown

Ed Cotton

Jon Crovo

Doug Cyr

Alison Dipace

 Joe Falkner

Roxanne Huey

Patrick Hughes

Brian James

Mark King

John Kolb

Larry McNeill

Brenda (Butler) Porto

Melitta Rorty

Kent Sacks, MD

 Lisa Su

Tristan Mendoza

Brynn Noonen

Bill Huffaker

Larry Kolka

Tom Lewenz

Rob Mills

Dean Parmer

Donna Slater

Leslie Stewart

Bob Switzer

Leslie Takahashi

Steve Watkins

Michael Weinberger

Shirley Wilson

Ron Wolberg

Kay Teeters

Helen Zink

Gwen Swenson

Youth Representatives

Zachary Martin

Brynn Noonen

Emma Sutton

Syd Salesman

Danielle Wilson

Daniela Garcia

Gerardo Valencia

*We are still assembling the list of past board members. If you served as a member of Rainbow’s Board we want to recognize your contributions too! Please send an email to jonathan@rainbowcc.org with the dates of your board service as we would like to add your name here too!