Gayest & GreatestGayest & Greatest 2022Special Sections

Gayest & Greatest 2022: People Part I

Meet the Montrose Center’s Kennedy “Kent” Loftin.

Kennedy Loftin (Photo courtesy Montrose Center)

LEADING MALE FUNDRAISER

Kennedy “Kent” Loftin, 41, is the Montrose Center’s chief development officer—the money man who spearheaded the Center’s $27 million Law Harrington Senior Living Center. The 112-unit Third Ward apartment complex, which opened in 2021, is the second-largest LGBTQ-affirming senior-living center in the nation. 

These days, the Montrose Center’s Youth Rapid Rehousing program, which provides case management and rental assistance for LGBTQ youth ages 18–24, is Loftin’s passion project. “For every $2,500 we raise, we can take a youth off the streets,” Loftin says. 

He finds special meaning in that work since he’s experienced housing insecurity himself, which caused him to delay his own coming out. “I knew my family was not going to be supportive, so I waited until I had a car and graduated college before I came out.”

Born in the Texas Medical Center and raised in Houston, Loftin graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a bachelor’s degree in international studies and nonprofit development. It was there that he worked with Best Buddies, an international nonprofit dedicated to ending the social, physical, and economic isolation of the 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. After graduating, he got a job at the organization’s Miami headquarters. 

“As the director of programs and special events for Best Buddies, I learned how to throw celebrity events for fundraising,” Loftin says. “And Miami was a great place to be for a gay man fleeing Texas.”

Then in 2006, at the age of 23, he returned home to Houston to serve as executive director for Best Buddies Texas. For the next three years, he was responsible for the development and implementation of their Texas state plan, overseeing day-to-day operations in all of the offices statewide, securing funding for programs and special projects, overseeing programs to ensure program consistency and success, managing local advisory boards and associated committees, and supervising Texas staff.

In 2011, he became chief development officer at Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston, where he led a $15 million capital campaign for their new Interfaith Conference Center and the Meals on Wheels building that now serves over 4,000 seniors daily. Despite his success, he still felt the need to be closeted while at the faith-based nonprofit. Luckily, in 2015, the Montrose Center came calling to offer him his dream job.

As an executive at one of the largest LGBTQ resource centers in the country, he has launched two major crisis-relief programs in response to Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and the COVID pandemic in 2020. Over $2.3 million was raised to help the LGBTQ community recover from Harvey, and $1.5 million was raised to provide direct financial assistance to vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community affected by the pandemic. 

Loftin is also a founding member of Mayor Turner’s LGBTQ Advisory Board, has served on several boards, and is a sought-after development educator and advisor who lectures at both the University of Houston and at Rice University’s Glasscock School Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership.  

Kennedy Loftin (Photo courtesy Montrose Center)

But Loftin isn’t resting on his laurels, and he still has some very important work to do. “The queer community doesn’t have a philanthropy history,” he explains. “The way to build that is through endowments. The Montrose Center has to have a campaign for every emergency that arises, like the Hurricane Harvey relief, because we don’t have a large endowment like some other major nonprofits that we can tap into. The Jewish community has an amazing philanthropy structure, and we need to emulate that. 

“We need to build up our endowment, and that takes a knowledge of planned giving and finances. We have a lot of wealthy gay donors in this city with no kids who want to leave their money somewhere. And we want them to leave it to the Center.” 

Loftin is excited about the challenge of building a major endowment for the Montrose Center to create a more secure future for the nonprofit.

In the meantime, he enjoys traveling with his partner, restauranter Charlie Huynh. They spent their first anniversary in Bali, and back at home they enjoy spending time with their adopted Corgi, Taro. 

Loftin is also a member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts, and is hoping to get his 100th ticket on a roller coaster soon. There are a surprising number of LGBTQ roller-coaster enthusiasts in the organization. “There’s just something about roller coasters,” Loftin says. “My grandmother took us to theme parks as kids. Growing up, I thought I was the only gay guy in the world, but those theme parks were the best part of my childhood.”

But his real thrill in life has turned out to be his community fundraising work. “I love my job. The whole reason I do this work is to inspire people.”

For more information, visit montrosecenter.org


PEOPLE

FAVORITE FEMALE LOCAL POLITICIAN
Lina Hidalgo
Finalists: Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, Ann Johnson, Jolanda Jones, Abbie Kamin, Sheila Jackson Lee, Kim Ogg

FAVORITE MALE LOCAL POLITICIAN
John Whitmire
Finalists: Adrian Garcia, Chris Hollins, Constable Alan Rosen, Jon Rosenthal, Sylvester Turner, Gene Wu

BEST FEMALE LGBTQ BUSINESS PERSON
Dylan Carnes (tie)
Julie Mabry (tie)
Finalists: Caryn Craig, Alli Jarrett, Heather Taylor, Tammi Wallace

BEST MALE LGBTQ BUSINESS PERSON
Mark De Lange (tie)
Doug Smith (tie)
Finalists: Charles Armstrong, Christopher Barry, John Donato, Ian Haddock, Bobby Hilliard Jr., Grey Stephens

BEST NONBINARY LGBTQ BUSINESS PERSON
Chip Ware
Finalist: Hexa Dulce

FAVORITE FEMALE LGBTQ COMMUNITY HERO
Annise Parker (tie)
Tammi Wallace (tie)
Finalists: Julie Mabry, Toni Mascione, Kymberlie McGuire, Megan Mooney, Tiffany Scales

FAVORITE MALE LGBTQ COMMUNITY HERO
Kennedy Loftin
Finalists: Christopher Barry, Jacques Bourgeois, JD Doyle, Don Gill, Harrison Homer Guy

FAVORITE NONBINARY COMMUNITY HERO
Kevin Nguyen
Finalists: Norma Gonzalez, Verniss McFarland, Crystal Murley, Nova, Mike Webb

FAVORITE FEMALE TRANS COMMUNITY HERO
Atlantis Narcisse
Finalists: Joelle Bayaa-Uzuri, Elia Chino, Anandrea Molina, Lilly Roddy, Eden Rose Torres, Dee Dee Watters, Alexis Nicole Whitney

FAVORITE MALE TRANS COMMUNITY HERO
Lou Weaver
Finalists: Liam Adair, Fabian Echavarri, dylan forbis, Landon Richie, Emmett Schelling

FAVORITE NONBINARY TRANS COMMUNITY HERO
Verniss McFarland
Finalists: Xitlalli Alvarez, Norma Gonzalez, Juliann Losey, Nova

FAVORITE FEMALE LGBTQ EDUCATOR/TEACHER
Kendricka “Kiki” Moore
Finalists: D’Lynn Barham, Kay Crayton, Tracy Daniel, Dana Harrell, Bianca Honore, Michelle Palmer, Samantha Pisarski-May, Pam Straker

FAVORITE MALE LGBTQ EDUCATOR/TEACHER
Paul Fox Gonzales
Finalists: R. Scott Allen, Joan Cotton, Bryant Johnson, Jesse Gover Sanchez, DeVonta Lee, Brian Riedel, Cam. O Scott

FAVORITE NONBINARY LGBTQ EDUCATOR/TEACHER
Juliann Losey
Finalists: Angela Horst, Monét Love, Myr Olivares

FAVORITE LOCAL LGBTQ JOURNALIST
Joey Guerra
Finalists: Sam Byrd, Rachel Carlton, Andy Cerota, Andrew Edmonson, Ian Haddock

FAVORITE LOCAL LGBTQ INFLUENCER
Ryan Lindsay
Finalists: @bougiebrie, Miguel Jacquez, Johnny Peden, Cam. O Scott, Diamond Stylz

BEST LOCAL LGBTQ SOCIAL-MEDIA PRESENCE
JD Doyle
Finalists: Let’s Talk About Gay Stuff, Ryan Lindsay, The Normal Anomaly, Rainbow Community, Diamond Stylz

FAVORITE LOCAL LGBTQ INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT
The Montrose Center
Finalists: BUDDY’S, Ryan Lindsay, @parentsoftransyouth, Pearl Bar, Christian Whorton

FAVORITE LOCAL LGBTQ FACEBOOK PAGE
JD Doyle
Finalists: AmistadesHTX, BUDDY’S, Eagle Houston, The Montrose Center, Rainbow Community

FAVORITE LOCAL LGBTQ TIKTOKER
Ryan Lindsay (@ryanstmichael)
Finalists: @drew_baebe, @bougieBrie, @kay.crayton, @hughdandy, @lordfeatherspolenta, @shiningnathan

FAVORITE LOCAL LGBTQ TWITTER ACCOUNT
The Montrose Center
Finalists: Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce, robcarrasco

FAVORITE MALE (COMMUNITY) TV PERSONALITY
Ernie Manouse

FAVORITE FEMALE (COMMERCIAL) TV PERSONALITY
Deborah Duncan
Finalists: Shern-min Chow, Cathy Hernandez,
Lisa Hernandez, Pooja Lodhia, Courtney Zavala

FAVORITE MALE (COMMERCIAL) TV PERSONALITY
Frank Billingsley (tie)
Derrick Shore (tie)
Finalists: Pat Cavlin, Andy Cerota, Chancy Glover, Steven Romo

FAVORITE FEMALE (COMMERCIAL) RADIO PERSONALITY
Sarah Pepper
Finalists: Roula Christie, Kara Leigh, Theresa Rockface

FAVORITE MALE (COMMERCIAL) RADIO PERSONALITY
Special K
Finalist: Carlos Dueno

FAVORITE MALE (COMMUNITY) RADIO PERSONALITY
Bryan Hlavinka
Finalists: Ernie Manouse, Easton Santos

FAVORITE FEMALE (COMMUNITY) RADIO PERSONALITY
Deborah Bell
Finalists: Gale Delaughter, Donna McKenzie, Judy Reeves, Tiffany Scales

FAVORITE LOCAL LGBTQ PODCAST
Queer Voices
Finalists: Asking for a Friend, Let’s Talk About Gay Stuff, Marsha’s Plate, Tiffany Scales, That Lil Gay Talk Show

FAVORITE LOCAL LGBTQ WRITER
Andrew Edmonson
Finalists: Sam Byrd, Scott Damon, Ian L. Haddock,
Julia Holstine, Tiffany Scales, Bryan Washington

FAVORITE FEMALE COMMUNITY PHOTOGRAPHER
Dani Benoit
Finalists: Nicky Bryant, Andrea Simonton, Wendy Taylor, Eden Rose Torres, Yvonne Tran

FAVORITE MALE COMMUNITY PHOTOGRAPHER
Dalton DeHart
Finalists: Victor Contreras, Seferino Garcia, Sebastian Gutierrez, Kennedy Loftin, Steven Tilotta

LEADING FEMALE FUNDRAISER
Chree Boydstun
Finalists: Shelby Hansen, Sarah McCoy, Kymberlie McGuire, Heather J. Taylor, Sallie Woodell

LEADING MALE FUNDRAISER
Kennedy Loftin
Finalists: Derrick Brown, Jon Bumann, Don Gill, Div Kumar, Timmy Martinez, Roger Woest

LEADING TRANS COMMUNITY FUNDRAISER
Atlantis Narcisse
Finalists: Elia Chino, Anandrea Molina, Emmett Schelling, Alexis Nicole Whitney

LEADING NONBINARY FUNDRAISER
Kevin Nguyen
Finalists: Nova, Nick Stinson

LEADING FEMALE ENTERTAINER FUNDRAISER
Ivanna Cupcake
Finalists: Regina Dane, Jessica Fox, An’ Marie Gill, Ginger Grant, Lady Shamu, Alexis Nicole Whitney

LEADING MALE ENTERTAINER FUNDRAISER
Roger Woest
Finalists: Landon J. Fatale, Sebastian Gutierrez, Shawn Michaels, Ian Syder-Blake, Mykey Whitney

MOST PROMINENT FEMALE LGBTQ ACTIVIST
Annise Parker
Finalists: Kymberlie McGuire, Megan Mooney, Tammi Wallace, Fran Watson, Kandice Webber

MOST PROMINENT MALE LGBTQ ACTIVIST
Brad Pritchett
Finalists: Christopher Barry, Jacques Bourgeois, Ian Haddock, Brandon Mack, Sal Boy Salas, Ashton P. Woods

MOST PROMINENT NONBINARY LGBTQ ACTIVIST
Kevin Nguyen
Finalists: Verniss McFarland, Nova, Odyssey Oakengrove

MOST PROMINENT FEMALE TRANS ACTIVIST
Atlantis Narcisse
Finalists: Sunny Bryant, Joelle Espeut, Anandrea Molina, Eden Rose Torres, Dee Dee Watters

MOST PROMINENT MALE TRANS ACTIVIST
Emmett Schelling
Finalists: Dylan Forbis, Jevon Martin, Landon Richie, Ian Syder-Blake

MOST PROMINENT NONBINARY TRANS ACTIVIST
Verniss McFarland
Finalists: Nova, Payshunz Nagashima, Charlie Richie

MOST PROMINENT YOUTH LGBTQ ACTIVIST
Landon Richie
Finalists: Sunny Bryant, Razi Montalto, Britt Perez

MOST VALUABLE INTERSEX ADVOCATE/EDUCATOR
Koomah
Finalist: Mo Cortez

MOST VALUABLE FEMALE VOLUNTEER
Januari Fox
Finalists: Augie Cahee, Dawn Elizardo, Jani Lopez, Kymberlie McGuire, Heather J. Taylor, Tammi Wallace

MOST VALUABLE MALE VOLUNTEER
Don Gill
Finalists: Jacques Bourgeois, Adonis Darling, Sebastian Gutierrez, Div Kumar, Patrick McIlvain, Shawn Michaels, Jim Taylor, Jovon Alfon B. Tyler

MOST VALUABLE NONBINARY COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER
Kevin Nguyen
Finalists: Xitlalli Alvarez, Hexa Dulce, Nova, Odyssey Oakengrove

MOST VALUABLE FEMALE TRANS COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER
Atlantis Narcisse
Finalists: Joelle Bayaa-Uzuri, Gia Pacheco, Joelle Salatersky, Eden Rose Torres, Catina Rose Valentine

MOST VALUABLE MALE TRANS COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER
George Zemanek
Finalists: Sebastian Gutierrez, Petey Makopoulos-Senftleber, Ian Syder-Blake, Daron Yanes


For a full list of winners, go here.

This article appears in the October 2022 edition of OutSmart magazine. 

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Marene Gustin

Marene Gustin has written about Texas culture, food, fashion, the arts, and Lone Star politics and crime for television, magazines, the web and newspapers nationwide, and worked in Houston politics for six years. Her freelance work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle, Austin-American Statesman, Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Texas Monthly, Dance International, Dance Magazine, the Advocate, Prime Living, InTown magazine, OutSmart magazine and web sites CultureMap Houston and Austin, Eater Houston and Gayot.com, among others.
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