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2016 Class of Rising Star – Greg Porter

Unlike many community leaders in Our Town, Gregory Porter had to overcome a myriad of difficulties in his early life. His mother, who spoke and read very little English, came to the United States from Korea to follow her American husband. Due to unfortunate circumstances, she was then forced to support herself and her three children without family help or any kind of financial safety net. Because Greg, his mother and siblings were homeless for a while, their church generously provided food and a roof over their heads. “Greg’s life experiences certainly helped shape him into the uniquely compassionate, driven and productive leader he is today,” said Maurice Watson, Husch Blackwell. “His involvement with Community LINC, including his current leadership as chairman of its board of directors, reflects his personal commitment to ending homelessness for women and children in this community. He is an aggressive and relentless fundraiser for Community LINC. Yet he never asks anyone to give more in talent or treasure than he himself gives.” 

As board chairman, Greg leads the executive committee, is engaged in the Buildings and Site and Fund Development committees and helped form the Governance Committee. He enabled the 2012 program change from Transitional Housing to Rapid Re-housing, tripling the number of families who are no longer homeless. Greg also was instrumental in the creation of LINC’s strategic plan to end family homeless in Our Town. 

According to Community LINC CEO and Executive Director Laura Gray, Greg is distinctive among non-profit volunteers and leaders. “He has connected both supporters and public officials to Community LINC, acting as an ambassador for us to the entire community,” said Laura. “Greg has been uniquely successful in raising funds and leading our board volunteers. Recently, Community LINC was awarded Support Kansas City’s Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership Award. He also connected us with a new foundation and helped secure $150,000 of seed money to launch a program. He helped recruit one of our first presenting sponsor level co-chairmen for the Rent Party, Community LINC’s annual fundraising event. As a result, we were able to lay the groundwork to grow the event from $298,000 in 2010 to more than $732,000 in 2014 (ranking it on The Independent’s  Top Ten fundraising events). Greg has helped nearly double our agency’s annual revenue from $1.3 million to $2.2 million. Over the last year, he has impacted homeless services for the entire community by driving the creation of a Homeless Management Information System Governing Board.”

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Greg also serves as board chairman of the Homeless Services Coalition of Greater Kansas City to help end homelessness across state, county and agency lines. Board Member Patricia Kern, Kern and Associates; stated that Greg makes our community a better place to live. “He is creative. He has keen listening skills and matches a prospective donor with a place to serve,” said Patricia. “There is a friend of Greg’s who now plays Santa Claus – literally renting a costume and bringing gifts with him – to youth in a homeless shelter on Christmas Day. All because Greg matched a donor’s desire to help with an organization which served youth in need. Through intelligent use of resources, through his strong work ethic and through his ability to minimize clutter to get to the need, Greg is a hands-on leader. I learn from him after every conversation.”

Said Michael Lintecum, Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce: “Greg’s early involvement as a founding board member was instrumental in making our young chamber such a great success. Today, we have over 300 member entities, including major corporations, small businesses, governmental agencies and offices, non profits, and individuals.”  Greg still serves as the Chamber’s Public Policy Committee chairman. Added Michael: “His keen business and political acumen has helped the Chamber board navigate the often challenging public advocacy issues. He helps us set procedures and guidelines around public issues that warrant our attention and action.”

Greg also has had leadership roles in other non-profit organizations. He was chairman of the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project and was a Synergy Services board member and event chairman. “Several years ago, he organized a sold-out brunch, raising tens of thousands of dollars to support the Victory Fund, which is a national organization to fund political campaigns for LGBT candidates across the country,” said Maurice Watson. “The success of that event astounded everyone since it was the first of its kind in Kansas City. I recently had the pleasure of introducing him at a meeting of LGBT community leaders and supporters and praised his great skill in bringing people together across political parties and ideological divides to enact legal protections, including marriage equality, for LGBT Americans. “

Greg has been destined to be in leadership roles, both in non-profit and professional fields, since he graduated from college. He started his career working for United States Senator Jim Talent and proceeded to take on national leadership positions on two presidential campaigns and the California Republican party. Greg managed multi-million dollar budgets and led fundraising efforts that helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for clients. 

Greg is a co-founder of the Catalyst Group, a nationally recognized influence management firm specializing in multi-state government affairs, public affairs and corporate strategy. It specifically focuses on state legislative efforts, Attorneys General outreach, corporate strategy, and grassroots campaigns. The Catalyst Group represents Fortune 500 companies, national trade associations and businesses of all sizes, influencing policies at the federal, state and local levels. In 2015, Greg was listed on The Missouri Times Top 100 List as a governmental relations staff you need to know. The paper called him a “rising star in Missouri lobbying” and said that he “brings a passion to his clients.”

Greg is honored to be part of The Independent’s 2016 Class of Rising Stars. “As someone who usually works quietly behind the scenes to make change, it is always an odd feeling to be recognized,” said Greg. “I’m glad that it serves as an opportunity to recognize Community LINC for all the great work that they do to end family homelessness in Kansas City. I don’t think there is an organization that strives to meet long-term outcomes for the families they serve like Community LINC.”


Photo Credit: Tom Styrkowicz
Also featured in the June 11, 2016 issue of The Independent

 

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