Sexual Minorities Educational Foundation, Inc.
The Sexual Minorities Education Foundation, Inc. (SMEF, Inc.), a registered 501(c)3 non-profit, administers the Sexual Minorities Archives and educational programming through the Archives. The SMEF, Inc. Board consists of three Officers and between three and twelve Directors. If you are interested in joining the Board of Directors, please email us.
Read the Sexual Minorities Educational Foundation, Inc., bylaws here.
Ben Power Alwin, Executive Director, SMEF, Inc.
Ben Power Alwin, President of SMEF, Inc., Founder and Executive Director of the Sexual Minorities Educational Foundation, Inc., a federal 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For 40 years, he has been Curator of the Sexual Minorities Archives, a 45-year-old national collection of LGBTQ literature, history, and art open to the public and located in his home in Northampton, Massachusetts. In 2015, he relocated the SMA to Holyoke where it continues to grow in its permanent home.
Ben Power Alwin also founded in 1992 the East Coast FTM Group, the first-ever support group for trans men in the New England region. Ben facilitated the group, which met for 22 years and held its last meeting in December 2014. Power revived the support group in 2019 and it meets on the first Sunday of every month at 3:00 pm at the Sexual Minorities Archives. Members also communicate online in the Facebook group of the same name. Power was the co-founder and lead organizer of the first-ever New England Transgender Pride March & Rally, attended by over 1,000 people on June 7, 2008 in Northampton, Massachusetts.
He holds a Master of Arts degree in Sociocultural Processes from Governors State University/Illinois and a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Literature from the University of Illinois, Chicago Campus. He has lectured on transgender issues at the Five Colleges in western Massachusetts; and at Syracuse University, University of Connecticut, Western New England University, and Yale University, among others; and has taught local LGBTQ history at Historic Northampton and at numerous Pioneer Valley history talks and Northampton, Massachusetts history walks.
He wrote for On Our Backs magazine in 1989 under the name Bet Power and published a trans autobiographical piece, “My Wonderful Askewness” in Crossing Sexual Boundaries: Transgender Journeys, Uncharted Paths, Eds. J. Ari Kane-DeMaios, EdD and Vern L. Bullough, PhD, Prometheus Books, Amherst, New York, 2006. He is working on a children’s book about gender identity/expression from a cat’s perspective entitled, Max Talks About His Person.
Samuel Edwards, Board President, SMEF, Inc.
Samuel Edwards (he/him) currently serves as Board President of the Sexual Minorities Education Foundation. Previously at the SMA, he was a Board Director in 2018, and a summer intern in 2017. He is a recent graduate of Hampshire College, where he studied theatre and LGBTQ+ history. At Hampshire, he was the archivist for Hampshire College’s Theatre Board (the theatre department’s student-run governing body). He is a playwright interested in creating theatrical pieces from a queer perspective. His Division 3 senior thesis project was writing a play called “Caeneus”, an odyssey and gay/trans-positive fantasy adapted from a Greco-Roman myth about a transgender male character, which was performed in November 2018 at Hampshire College and directed by Ezekiel Baskin. He has also worked as dramaturg for Hampshire Shakespeare Young Company’s “Twelfth Night” in 2018, and Hampshire College’s “Stop Kiss” in 2018.
Sean Donovan, Clerk, SMEF, Inc.
Sean Dononvan (he/him) puts a lot of energy into helping sustain communities of mutual support through his current role and activism. Working for the Western Mass Recovery Learning Community, he brings his seven years experience as facilitator for Alternatives to Suicide support groups and a national trainer for these roles, documentary film work and his advocacy work with queer folk (as well as some non-queer folk too) in the public mental health system to the Board.
He discovered the SMA through his role as a co-founder and facilitator of an LGBTQIA peer support group when searching for more ways for local queer folk to connect to community and their own histories. He began as a community volunteer helping catalog new donations and at events and, true to the SMA’s mission, believes that education, true education, can be an antidote to oppression and despair.
Sean holds a BA from UMass Amherst from the Social Thought and Political Economy program but believes his true education has come from connecting with other people about their passions and convictions. When not working he spends time with his partner, friends and practicing or performing with the band he shares with two amazing women, Feminine Aggression.
Katie Methe, Board Treasurer, SMEF, Inc.
Katie (she/her/they/them) currently serves as the SMEF Board Treasurer and is the Vice President of Client Delivery for a large scale digital marketing agency. With a background in project management, digital strategy, and organizational advancement; Katie is passionate about the SMA’s website strategy and creating efficient, sustainable processes. Katie enjoys cooking, woodworking projects, and houseplants and currently resides in Florence, MA
Daniel Shank Cruz, Board Director, SMEF, Inc.
Daniel Shank Cruz (he/him/they) grew up in New York City and Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He is a lifelong book hoarder. In his spare time, he plays Dungeons & Dragons and hangs out with his three cats. He is a graduate of Goshen College (B.A.) and Northern Illinois University (M.A., Ph.D.).
Cruz is the author of Queering Mennonite Literature: Archives, Activism, and the Search for Community (Penn State University Press, 2019), and he has published writing in venues such as Crítica Hispánica, Mennonite Quarterly Review, the New York Times, and various book collections. He also maintains the three Mennonite/s Writing Bibliographies at https://mennonitebibs.wordpress.com/. His research interests include the intersections between ethnic literatures (especially Mennonite literature and Latinx literature) and queer literatures, archiving, and the role of geographical space in literature. He is an Associate Professor of English at Utica College in upstate New York. https://danielshankcruz.com/
Alana Kumbier, Board Director, SMEF, Inc.
Alana Kumbier (they/them/she/her) is a librarian who was raised & educated in the Midwest before moving to Massachusetts in 2007. Alana authored a book on queer approaches to archiving, Ephemeral Material: Queering the Archive (Litwin Books, 2014), which grew out of relationships and projects with LGBTQ+ artists and activists who are documenting our personal & community histories and cultures. Alana is currently collaborating on an anthology about sexuality information and libraries.
Amy Olson, Board Director, SMEF, Inc.
Amy (she/her) grew up in Seattle, WA and moved to Northampton to pursue a degree in the Study of Women and Gender at Smith College. She is interested in library work, particularly in public libraries, and has undertaken an independent project on public libraries through a critical feminist lens, focusing on the public library’s relationship to capitalism and the possibilities of libraries working towards liberation. She interned for the Sexual Minorities Archives during the summer of 2020, during which she catalogued oversized posters and artworks, and is thrilled to join the board this year. As a Board Director, Amy will be working specifically with Out Books on Wheels. When she’s not thinking about libraries and archives, Amy loves to cook, dance in her living room, read queer novels, and cuddle her cat.
Victoria Palmatier, Board Director, SMEF, Inc.
Victoria Palmatier (she/her) is a queer resident of Springfield, Massachusetts, and a recent graduate of Simmons College (Masters of Library, Information, and Archival Science). At the SMA, she serves on the Board of Directors and hopes to help the SMA secure more grant funding. She is a librarian in the greater Springfield MA/Hartford CT area, and enjoys community organizing, gardening, swimming, and spending time with her partner and their bulldog, Boomer.
Minnie Bruce Pratt, Honorary Board Director, SMEF, Inc.
Minnie Bruce Pratt is a nationally known poet and social justice activist. Please visit her website to learn more about her.