Meet Our Team

Phyllis Gallisath (She/Her)

Executive Director

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Phyllis co-founded The LIAM Foundation after the death of her son, Liam K. Burdick (Feb 18, 2000-May 14, 2018). Phyllis began her advocacy in 2015 shortly after Liam came out to her as transgender. Liam and Phyllis worked together to bring a PFLAG chapter to the Rockford Area that was followed by co-founding DiversCity Youth-led Group for queer teens. Liam was also heavily involved in his own advocacy through Harlem High School’s GSA, TEACH as well as The Illinois Safe Schools Alliance Youth Committee. Liam also attended Action Camp, a 5-day sleep-away camp to bring together young leaders from GSAs and youth groups across the state to learn from one another and shape the safer schools movement. Liam was proud to be transgender and was extremely brave in his ability to step into leadership roles as a young man. Phyllis was inspired to further the work in the local LGBTQIA+ community by trying to fill the gaps in services that the community faces here in Northern Illinois. Liam’s legacy is always guiding her work and she is grateful for the opportunities she has been given to serve our community, otherwise known as our family.

Eden Brown (Any Pronouns)

Program Support

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Eden is an intersex trans, queer person who has a strong passion for advocacy and activism. They been doing work for the advancement of queer people since middle school and beyond. This includes working in various schools, planning and attending marches and protests, and community and political work. Outside of their work at the LIAM Foundation and facilitating their youth groups, they are an early childhood educator and a student at NIU finishing a bachelors in Art & Design Education. She has a strong passion for art, music, and helping others. Eden finds great joy in her trans and queer identity, the people around her, and her art. He looks forward to continuing to help his community through mutual aid and direct action, and advancing the rights and livelihood of all people.

Our Executive Board

Lien Vu (She/Her)


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Lien Vu (she/ her) identifies as a Vietnamese American queer woman and is passionate about intersectional social justice issues. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors at The LIAM Foundation, Lien works as a Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Specialist at Rock Valley College. She also manages the Safe Zone Program at RVC and is a member of the college’s Promoting an Inclusive Community staff and faculty group. Lien lives in Rockford with her wife, Jenn, their three cats (Squeaks, Ziva, and Mila), and two dogs (Gusta Wind and Roxy).

Kristin Ravel (She/They)

Vice President & Communication Manager

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Kristin Ravel is a bisexual, polyamorous, demisexual femme. She moved to Rockford in Fall 2019 to be a Professor of English and Writing Program Administrator at Rockford University (RU). Kristin approaches her teaching and community-engaged work from an intersectional feminist, anti-ableist, and anti-racist perspectivea constantly evolving approach that, from her experience, involves remaining self-reflective and making several mistakes along the way. Beyond her role at the LIAM Foundation, she’s also faculty advisor for the Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) at RU. She finds joy in good coffee, yoga, gardening, and spending time with her partners, close friends, and cats.

Patrick J. Murphy III (He/Him)


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Patrick J. Murphy III is an author, director, cook, and treasurer for The LIAM Foundation (among many other things), who happens to be a gay man. As a native Illionian who was a rolling stone growing up, Patrick has had a wide variety of jobs, careers, and life paths that have led to his current roles. Patrick works for the City of Rockford and serves as a member of the LGBTQIA+ Resource Group, working to help bring inclusion and diversity to city employees. As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, he feels that it is important to share our stories, teachings, and history, and to build our community stronger by supporting each other every day.

James Sabathne (He/Him)


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James Sabathne is a cisgender straight ally of the LGBTQIA+ community. He started teaching last century and teaches history at Hononegah High School in Rockton. James finds meaning in living a life with purpose. Beyond the classroom, he spends his time advising the Hononegah Genders and Sexualities Alliance, visiting and gaming with family and friends (including two adult children), and dabbling in many hobbies including travel, reading, biking, kayaking, spectating the arts, and cooking vegetarian food.

David Black (He/Him)

Board Member at Large

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David recently joined the LIAM foundation Board as a member at large. He had over 35 years experience in the general practice of law, representing consumers in Illinois and Federal Courts. He currently provides pro bono representation to individuals seeking to seal, or expunge their criminal records. David also serves on the boards of Rockford Urban Ministries and Northern Illinois Justice for our Neighbors (which provides advice and representation for immigrants). David is a cisgender man and the father of four grown children.

+ Countless Others

We couldn’t do what we do without you! Our community makes change possible.