David C. Toland, CEO
David Toland is the first executive director of Thrive Allen County, a nonprofit coalition that works to improve quality of life and economic conditions in Allen County, Kansas. A seventh-generation Allen Countian, Toland oversees a coalition known statewide for its innovative approaches to improving healthcare access, healthy lifestyles and economic development in a small, rural Kansas county. During his time at Thrive, Allen County’s county health ranking has improved 15 points; a new critical access hospital has been built; a new federally-qualified health center (FQHC) has opened; 8 new miles of free walking trails have been constructed; new manufacturing jobs and retail businesses have been recruited to the county; and a new sense of optimism and countywide unity has taken hold among residents and businesses.
Prior to returning to his hometown of Iola Toland worked for six years as an appointee of Washington, DC Mayor Anthony A. Williams. During his time in the District Toland held a variety of positions, including Deputy Chief Operating Officer in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, where he oversaw for the Deputy Mayor the day-to-day activities of nine city departments. Toland was later appointed as Chief of Staff in the Office of Planning, where he successfully led the legislative effort to obtain city council approval of the 2006 overhaul of the city’s controversial Comprehensive Plan. Prior to coming to Washington Toland worked for the city managers of Reno, Nevada and Bonner Springs, Kansas.
In DC Toland also served Vice President of Development and Operations for the Menkiti Group, a Washington-based real estate development company. At Menkiti Toland oversaw a five-fold increase in the company’s production of housing units and established new processes and systems to manage the company’s portfolio of commercial and residential real estate assets in Washington. Under Toland’s leadership the company entered into new partnerships with other developers to further increase the production of affordable housing in Washington, DC, thereby significantly extending the company’s reach into previously underserved urban neighborhoods.
Toland holds a B.A. in Political Science and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Kansas, and a Certified Public Manager (CPM) certificate from George Washington University. He and his wife, Beth, and their two children live in Iola.
Ben Alexander, Deputy Director
Ben Alexander is Thrive’s Deputy Director and Grant Writer. Alexander is the founder and former Executive Director of FreeWheels for Kids, a nonprofit organization in Kansas City, Kansas that empowers kids with bikes, giving them leadership opportunities, mobility and healthy habit to combat obesity. Mr. Alexander was the Director of FreeWheels for Kids from 2011 through 2015, when he left FreeWheels to finish a Masters of Public Administration degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, which he completed this year. In addition to his work with FreeWheels for Kids, Mr. Alexander has served on a number of community initiatives, including the Jersey Creek Trail Project, Healthy Communities Wyandotte, and Latino Health for All in Wyandotte County, Kansas. Along with his MPA, Mr. Alexander has an Environmental Studies BS, and a BA in Geography, Spanish, and International Studies from the University of Kansas.
Alexander and his wife, Sofie, relocated to Allen County from Kansas City in the summer of 2016.
Damaris Kunkler, Program Director
Ms. Kunkler is the Program Director for Thrive Allen County. Prior to returning to Allen County she was an Oklahoma University Psychology major and worked as a Volunteer, Donations, and Event Coordinator for a non-profit in Norman, Oklahoma. Ms. Kunkler has been active in many fundraisers and public awareness campaigns to assist with homelessness, the elderly, and children and families in crisis.
She is an active volunteer and has been president and co-chair of community based civic groups and other social service agencies. Ms. Kunkler has volunteered for programs supporting children at risk, families in crisis, the health care and needs for the elderly, and community arts and festivals. She is an Iola resident and mother of two children.
Lisse Regehr, Director of Outreach and Advocacy
Lisse Regehr is the Director of Outreach and Advocacy for Thrive Allen County. After attaining a B.A. in Mass Communications from Kansas State University, Regehr joined a year-long volunteer program in Minneapolis, MN working on social justice issues in the Twin Cities. Prior to returning to her hometown of Iola, Regehr worked for nine years with the Sisters of St. Joseph Ministries Foundation in St. Paul, MN where she was a Planned Giving Officer and Social Networker. Regehr grew the Foundation’s planned giving society by 35%, and as Social Networker, she was responsible for all online communications for the Foundation, including social media sites, online giving sites and e-news distributions. Regehr lives in Iola with her dog, Owen Rowan.
Bill Maness, Economic Development Program Manager
Bill Maness is the Economic Development Program Manager for Thrive. An Iola native, Bill spent 25 years in a number of supervisory and management roles at the Iola facility for Haldex Brake Products before the company closed its doors in 2010. Afterward he was employed by U.S. Senator Jerry Moran as district representative, serving 13 southeast and south-central Kansas counties. Since 2000, he has also taught online business courses as an adjunct instructor for Allen Community College. Bill holds a B.S. in Human Resource Management from Friends University. He is a founding member of the Iola Community Involvement Task Force (CITF) and has also served as Mayor of Iola.
Jessica McGinnis, Chronic Disease Risk Reduction (CDRR) Program Manager
Jessica is Chronic Disease Risk Reduction (CDRR) Program Manager for Thrive Allen County. Jessica is an Allen Community College graduate where she played softball. She then moved on to obtain her B.A. degree in Sports and Recreation Management from Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa. Jessica’s passion in sports and recreation started at a young age in her home town in Ottawa, Kansas with a family highly involved in sports and recreation. What began as a personal passion to play sports and gain knowledge in health and wellness, today Jessica’s passion is to give back to the community and to educate Allen County residents about health and wellness. Prior to becoming an employee with Thrive Allen County, Jessica was a Family Support Worker with KVC Behavioral Healthcare in Chanute, Kansas where she worked with families and children in foster care. Jessica also was a volunteer with the Movement with Thrive Allen County and continues to volunteer with Iola Recreation coaching softball and being active in adult exercise classes and sports. Jessica is a resident of Iola where she lives with her husband, Jeremy and daughter, Riley.
Elizabeth (Liz) Gambill, Trailblazer Program Manager
Elizabeth (Liz) Gambill is our Trailblazer Program Manager. Liz grew up in Iola and attended Iola High School. After high school she traveled and lived several places across the country, including Virginia and California. Liz returned to Iola in 2010 and has been an active volunteer with several organizations in our community. Since 2013 she has been employed with the Southeast Kansas Library System and Iola Public Library. As part of Liz’s job she will work to provide smoking cessation tools and education for people living in public housing, strengthen landlord/tenant relationships within the community, and work with our local congregations to promote and expand healthy communal meals.
Kelli Frazell, Healthcare Access Coordinator
Kelli Frazell is an Allen Community College graduate who attained her B.S. in Exercise and Sports Science from the University of Tulsa and her M.S. in Sports Studies from the United States Sports Academy. Before returning to her hometown of Iola, Kelli worked as an Account Executive for a marketing and graphics printing company. Prior to that, she spent many years working for a non-profit organization in healthcare, holding several positions within the company. Throughout her various positions, she became proficient at building relationships, partnering with organizations, increasing sales, and improving community well being.
Kelli enjoys spending time with family, staying active in team sports such as volleyball and softball, reading, and cooking. Kelli is currently relocating from Tulsa, OK with her husband Preston and their son, Fisher.
Greta Ingle, Chronic Disease Risk Reduction (CDRR) Assistant and Office Manager
Greta Ingle is Thrive Allen County’s Chronic Disease Risk Reduction (CDRR) Assistant/Office Manager. Greta is also one of our most experienced Navigators, helping consumers enroll in insurance plans on the Federal Marketplace. Greta grew up in Chanute, KS and moved to Humboldt when her daughter, Nisha, was a baby. Greta lives with Nisha and spends her free time volunteering with various projects. Greta has been a Navigator with Thrive for the last two years during open enrollment. She has also worked with the Farmers’ Market in Iola and the Allen County GROW Council.
Pepper Weathers, VISTA Housing and Community Development Coordinator
Yvonne Scott, VISTA Healthy Food Access Coordinator
Yvonne Scott traveled 1000 miles from western North Carolina to Iola to to begin her second term in VISTA. Yvonne previously served from 2014-15 as the Grow Appalachia gardening and food security coordinator for Wolfe County, KY. A passionate “foodie” and gardener, Scott believes that access to healthy food and the ability to grow your own food is not just a right but a necessity for resilience and stability and promotes community gardens, composting, cooperatives and farmers’ markets. An avid traveler, she has hiked across Spain, taught English in Bulgaria, whale-watched in the Sea of Cortez, participated in an agroecology tour in Cuba in 2014 and picked raspberries in France. Scott is also a freelance writer on subjects from gardening and herbs to hot air balloons and local history. Her manual on food growing systems, simply garden small! was published in 2012 and currently available on Amazon Kindle. As a mother of four and grandmother of six, her mission is to leave the world more loved and healthy than she found it for future generations. And to save seeds.