Get Out The Vote Gala

Thank you to our community who supported the 2021 Get Out the Vote Gala!

We can not thank you enough for your ongoing commitment and generosity of the work we do to further voter engagement efforts in Kansas through The Voter Network. 

The inspiration in the room on October 12th was just what we all needed as we race towards the November election!




Our Guest Speaker, Academy Award winner Kevin Willmott energized the room with his powerful stories about growing up in Kansas and his own lived stories of voter suppression. We were honored to have him speak. 

When you vote you control the past, you take back ownership of the past. You make things right for people of color. You make things right for black folks, You make things right for women and their rights. You make things right for gay and LGBTQ folks.                                                    You make things right for all of us. - Kevin Willmott



PLEASE NOTE: The recorded program is not available to the public. 


The 2021 Get Out The Vote Gala was generously presented by Donna Gould-Cohen

with Honorary Co-Chairs Cyd Slayton & Madeleine McDonough


2021 Dr. Robert H. Meneilly Award Recipient

The Dr. Robert H. Meneilly Award is presented to someone who has demonstrated, time and again, the courage to stand up and speak out for our shared values – even when unpopular. Someone who has the determination to keep moving forward, despite setbacks. And, someone who understands the critical importance of engaging in the political process to secure equitable representation in government. 

For many years, we have been honoring individuals like this who embody these principles and exemplify these beliefs, with a distinction named in honor of our founding chairman, Dr. Robert H. Meneilly.

This year's award was presented to former Mainstream Coalition Executive Director Brandi Fisher. Brandi had the conceptual vision of our future and the expertise to set it in motion. She worked tirelessly throughout her years with Mainstream dedicated to the organization, facilitating relationships and conceptualizing and securing the funding for The Voter Network. 


About the Event


Tuesday, October 12 | Overland Park Convention Center & Online

In Person: 5:30 pm Cocktail Reception | 7 pm Dinner & Program

Online: 7 pm Virtual Program

For over 20 years we have hosted one of the largest annual nonpartisan social gatherings of elected officials, candidates, and voting rights advocates in Kansas. This year’s event, Get Out The Vote Gala will be held on October 12 in person at 5:30 pm or 7 pm virtual.

With vaccinations readily available, we are planning a limited in-person event with a virtual option. We hope you’ll be able to join us either at the Overland Park Convention Center, or from your couch! Seats are limited, so please reserve yours today. We’ll kick-off the in-person event with our popular extended cocktail reception and silent auction followed by dinner and an inspiring program with a tribute to our co-founder, Dr. Bob Meneilly.

The GOTV Gala is the primary fundraising event for The Voter Network. All funds raised help keep our lights on so we can continue expanding voting access – especially within communities that have been routinely undermined in the political process. Last year we were unable to hold the event, but in the past we’ve come together to celebrate and draw motivation from special guests such as Governor Laura Kelly and CNN political commentator, Van Jones. This year our featured guest is Academy Award-winner and two-time Sundance Film Festival director, Kevin Willmott.

The Voter Network is the 501(c)(3) affiliate of Mainstream Coalition, dedicated to creating a culture of informed and enthusiastic Kansas voters, particularly within communities that have been routinely undermined by the political process.

For Your Health & Safety

We are limiting in person attendance at the GOTV Gala. Individuals attending in person will be required to wear masks and be fully vaccinated. Please be prepared to show proof of vaccination for entry into the event.

If you are not fully vaccinated or prefer not to share your vaccination status, you are invited to join us for a livestream of the program (more information coming soon). Additionally, anyone who is exhibiting any symptoms of illness or believes they may have been exposed to COVID-19 is also asked to participate in the event virtually.

*Please stay tuned for updates as we make adjustments based on guidance from the CDC and local health departments. 


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Our Featured Guest


Kevin_Willmott_red-blue_photo_1-21-2020.JPGKevin Willmott won an Academy Award and the BAFTA (British Academy Film Award) for co-writing with Spike Lee the feature film Blackkklansman. The film also won the Grand Prix at the Cannes film Festival.

Award winning Films and documentaries written and directed by Willmott include Ninth Street, CSA -Confederate States of America, Jayhawkers, From Separate to Equal: The Creation of Truman Medical Center, and William Allen White: What’s the Matter with Kansas.

Willmott grew up in Junction City, Kansas and attended Marymount College receiving his BA in Drama. After graduation, he returned home, working as a peace and civil rights activist. He attended graduate studies at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, receiving several writing awards and his M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing.

Willmott is a Professor in the Media and Film Studies Department of Kansas University.