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Lexington Habitat Announces New Board Chair, Chris Farris, And New Board Members

LEXINGTON (August 10, 2022) – Lexington Habitat for Humanity is pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Farris as the chair of its board of directors. Chris receives the reins from Parashar Joshi who has served in various roles on the board since 2014. Lexington Habitat also welcomes six new board members: Tiffany Brown, Rebecca Cox, Beverly Gamrat, Hannah Rivera, Todd Rotgers and Stephen Sanders.

Chris Farris’s passion and commitment to Habitat for Humanity began during his undergraduate years at Wittenberg University where he served as a volunteer building homes in Springfield, Ohio. Chris received a B.A. from Wittenberg University in Economics with summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors and then attended the Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana, where he received a J.D with cum laude honors. During his time in law school, he worked for Indiana’s Attorney General’s Office and gained experience working on state and federal litigation, including cases before the United States Supreme Court. After law school, Chris practiced law in Champaign, Illinois and Greenville, South Carolina. Throughout this time, he remained involved with local Habitat affiliates and saw first-hand how access to affordable housing changed the lives of partner families. Chris moved to Lexington in 2014 is an Attorney at Billings Law Firm, a boutique law firm focused on real estate and development, business services and transactions, and litigation. He works closely with small and medium-sized organizations providing general counsel services, transactional advice, and dispute resolution. Shortly after moving to Lexington, Chris participated in the Habitat Ambassador program and joined the Board of Directors in 2019. Chris remains committed to Habitat for Humanity because he believes that everyone, everywhere should have access to a healthy affordable place to call home and by providing affordable housing for deserving people not only provides them with a better life but builds a better community for us all. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and dog at their lake cabin, running, and tasting bourbon. He looks forward to playing a productive role in addressing many of the unique affordable housing challenges facing Lexington in his role as the new chairman of the Board of Directors.

Tiffany Brown serves as the first Equity and Implementation Officer for the City of Lexington, charged with building out and implementing the recommendations on the Mayor's Commission on Race, Justice and Equality. Previously, she advocated for equity at the Center for Social Justice at the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio. Having worked in the legal industry and successfully managed community-based reform efforts, Tiffany has as created a reputation as a powerful advocate for equity and racial justice. Her professional and personal experiences have ignited a passion for being intentional in her work and created an unrelenting desire to be an agent of change. Tiffany routinely engages in thought leadership and partnerships surrounding her deep commitment to empowering young people to develop their own voice and be their own agents of change.

Rebecca Cox is a native Lexingtonian who has lived and worked all over the world but will always call Kentucky home. She currently resides in Downtown Lexington with her husband, Ilias Pappas, owner of Athenian Grill and their son George. An alumna of Henry Clay High School and the University of Kentucky College of Architecture, Becca studied in France, Germany and Cuba before graduating cum laude and receiving the Dean's Prize in 2002. During her career Becca has held positions with architecture firms in Berlin, Germany and Chicago, Illinois, including Perkins + Will, a top-five international design company. She currently works with Tate Hill Jacobs, an award-winning architecture firm in Lexington. Becca is a member of First Presbyterian Church and serves on the Board of Directors of the Northside Neighborhood Association (NNA) as chair of the Media and Communications Committee.

Beverly Gamrat is a Senior Construction Project Manager with Baptist Health in the eastern Kentucky region. She joined Baptist Health in 2021. Prior to working for Baptist Health in Lexington, she lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she served in various roles in healthcare and construction. Beverly has a BSE in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Michigan. She is currently active with the National Association of Women in Construction.

Hannah Rivera is the Chief of Staff and Board and Government Relations Liaison for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). Hannah is a graduate of the University of Louisville (2007) and University of Kentucky College of Law (2010). She worked as an attorney and legal writer before joining KCTCS in 2014. Her passion is education and public policy. She volunteered many years on The Nest Center for Women, Children, and Families Board, is a Leadership Kentucky graduate, and serves others in her community through Southland Christian Church.

Todd Rotgers is the Assistant Executive Director at the Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta’s International Headquarters where he has served in various roles for over 9 years. Todd has a BS in Youth Studies from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and a MS in College Student Personnel from Western Illinois University. He has been an active Ambassador for Lexington Habitat since 2017. He also serves as the Vice Chair on the board of directors for Ampersand Sexual Violence Resource Center.

Stephen Sanders directed the Appalachian Citizens Law Center, a non-profit law office that represents coal miners on issues of health and safety and clients affected by the environmental impacts of mining, for 17 years. Prior to that work, he represented low-income clients for 22 years as an attorney with the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund. Steve was a member of the Board of Directors of the St. Vincent Mission in David, Kentucky for many years. Steve graduated from the University of Cincinnati and the Vanderbilt University Law School.

Lexington Habitat’s board is responsible for establishing policy and guiding the organization’s efforts to build or improve affordable housing in partnership with families across Fayette County, KY. “The directors and I are proud to welcome these six incredible leaders and their wealth of expertise from across the public, private and nonprofit sectors, to our board,” says Elaine Luhr, Acting CEO of Lexington Habitat. “We are honored and excited to channel their talent and energy into furthering our mission.”

The 2022 Lexington Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors are: chair, Chris Farris (Billings Law Firm); vice chair, McKay Moore (LRC Real Estate); secretary, Brandi Peacher (LFUCG); treasurer, Kyle Wicker (Cumberland Valley National Bank and Trust); Beverly Gamrat (Baptist Health); Bishop Carter III (Bethsaida Baptist Church); Brooke Hansen (Chick-fil-A); Chad Tussey (Relic); Hannah Rivera (KCTCS); Janet Beard (Wesbanco); Kristy Maggard (Maggard Marketing Group); Rebecca Cox (Tate Hill Jacobs Architects); Rob Lawson (Thrivent); Ryan Worthen (KEMI); Shayla Lynch (Carnegie Center for Literacy & Learning); Stephen Sanders (Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center); Tiffany Brown (LFUCG); Todd Rotgers (The Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta); and Veronica Thacker (Transylvania University).

Lexington Habitat would like to thank outgoing board members Chris Crumrine (UK) and Parashar Joshi (Valvoline) for their years of service and dedication.