Our Mission is to successfully provide accessible affordable housing. Success is defined as:
- Putting applicants, tenants, and participants first;
- Market competitiveness; and
- Fiscal strength and integrity.
Robert Banks ~ Chair
Rob Banks retired in 2017 from the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library as the Chief Operating Officer. He worked at the library since 1998 in various capacities. He has a Masters of Library Science from Emporia State University. Banks has a Bachelor’s of Music Education from the University of Kansas and taught Vocal Music at Santa Fe Trail High School from 1976 through 1978. He spent a year in Germany while his wife pursued her Masters in German and then spent 10 years with Marketing International, Inc. in Topeka.
Banks has served the library profession in numerous ways; most recently spending 10 years on the American Library Association Council, the policy making body of the association and three years on the Executive Board, the leadership and fiscal oversight body of the association. He remains active on the library committees within the American Library Association. Banks also served on committees of the Kansas Library Association and served on the board and in 2008-2009, as president of the Mountain Plains Library Association.
He has served on numerous boards in the Topeka community. Banks has been a member of the board of the Community Concert Association, the Topeka Turn-Around Team and served a three-year term on the Topeka Landmarks Commission; the last year as Chair, as well as working with numerous other groups.
Banks is the retired harpist of the Topeka Symphony and has been a church organist since high school.
Banks and his wife have two grown children.
Alisa Snavely ~ Vice Chair
Alisa Snavely graduated from Emporia State University in December of 1996 with her Bachelor of Science in Business with an accounting emphasis. She is the Director of Taxation for a CPA Firm, and has worked at this firm since graduation.
She is licensed as a CPA in the State of Kansas and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Kansas Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Northeast Chapter of Certified Public Accountants (NEKSCPA).
Alisa loves to be involved in the community and has served as treasurer for several boards in Topeka including Family Service and Guidance Center, NEKSCPA and Downtown Topeka Rotary. She also served as President of the NEKSCPA. In addition, she has worked in various volunteer capacities in the community and her church as well.
She and her husband, Sean, have 2 daughters who keep them busy.
Shaye Downing~ Board Member
Shaye Downing originally began working with a law firm as a law clerk in 2003. Her skills in organizing complex litigation and tackling legal issues then brought her to the firm as an associate attorney in 2005. She achieved member status in 2009.
Downing is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law. Her dual undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Sociology were also earned at the University of Kansas. Her law school activities included competition in the school’s moot court competition and membership in the Black Law Student Association (BLSA).
Downing’s professional affiliations include membership in the American Bar Association, Kansas Bar Association, Topeka Bar Association, and the Women Attorneys Association of Topeka. She is admitted to practice law in the State of Kansas and federal courts, and she has been honored by the Kansas Legal Services Corporation for her efforts in providing pro bono legal services.
After growing up in Kansas, Downing and her husband, John, have continued to make Kansas their home.
Franklin Young ~ Board Member
Franklin earned 99 semester credit hours at the University of Kansas and then graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in economics from Washburn University. While spending two months as an exchange student in Mexico City, Mexico he began the process of developing fluency in Spanish. Proficiency in computer usage with an emphasis on search skills was also an attribute.
He worked with special needs students, including those with Down syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder, as a paraprofessional on their bus ride to school each day. While on work study he was a computer operator with the Prime mini-computer at Washburn University. Franklin spent several years working at Cheley Colorado Camp for Boys with youth from the ages of eleven to eighteen years old. In California he labored diligently on two entrepreneurial ventures with a friend, one the ‘Energy Store’ and the other ‘Airport Information Systems’, a public access information system using kiosks in high-traffic areas like convention centers, airports, and hotels.
He was quite active in the volunteerism and non-profit sectors for almost 20 years. He served at Let’s Help for 7 years, Stormont Vail Health for about 2 years, Meals on Wheels for 5 years, the Topeka Shawnee County Public Library, and while a volunteer at the Community Blood Center he donated over five gallons of blood!
Chaiya Zahara ~ Board Member
Chaiya Zahara has worked in the field of Executive Administration for 20 years. Her experience spans across medical, corporate and non- profit industries. After an unfortunate severance with her employer, AIG, in 2009 she decided to change careers and return to school. Upon reflection some of her most rewarding work had been working with the homeless, feeding the hungry, disaster relief, emergency management and domestic violence education and advocacy. She chose to follow her passions for people and community into the non-profit industry.
A California native, neither Zahara’s mother, father or any of her siblings attended college. She received an Associate’s degree in Business Administration from Houston community college and continued on to obtain a Bachelor’s degree. As fate would have it, Zahara came to Kansas after living in Texas for several years, to help a family member. That did not stop her in her endeavor to complete her degree. She transferred from the University of Houston to Washburn University. The completion of Zahara’s degrees made her the first college graduate in her family.
She says it is very important for her to leave a legacy of resilience and persistence for her children while in pursuit of the things that she values, such as education and service.
Zahara is a single parent with four children and two grandchildren.