SPOTLIGHT: Meet Toni Gates


Toni Gates has been a beloved grant writer at Synergy Services for over 13 years. Being a non-profit wordsmith and development guru are just two of Toni’s many skills. Accomplishments as a musician, mom of the ever so lovely Sophia, realtor, home builder, maker, business owner and now founder of Races United, one may wonder how Toni Gates gets it all done in a day.

Quite simply, Toni is leaving her impact on this world.  She embodies exactly what it means to leave the world better a better place than how she entered it.  Most recently, in response to the wrongful death of George Floyd and the ongoing oppression and inequality of the Black Community, Toni Gates founded Races United, a grassroots organization that envisions a world without systemic racism, where everyone recognizes and fully accepts the Black community as equals. Its mission is to empower people to advocate for the end of systemic racism affecting the Black community through face-to-face communication, social media campaigns, advocacy, and education. Races United grew leaps and bounds in a matter of days as the community gathered together to build an ally network and provide resources to support those ready to learn. Members of Races United jumped into action by registering individuals across the community to vote, offering rides to polls, recruiting notaries and hosting Real Talks with community members focused on education.

At Synergy Services, as we began to curate Coming Together for Good, we wanted to showcase the people in our community that are doing truly incredible things; impacting lives with every step they take. Toni Gates is exactly that person. Toni is an inspiration to each of us. A true example of someone doing it, making it happen, seeing injustice. Rather than sitting back, Toni saw the opportunity where she could change a life, even if just one, to leave this world in a better place than she found it. 

When sitting down and talking to Toni Gates, her laugh is contagious and her drive to make a difference inspires every person in the room with her. Toni Gates is exactly what Coming Together for Good is all about. Toni beams as she talks about the success of her daughter Sophia. She exudes passion when talking about her company, Clear Mind Design, in which she along with her partner, Gerald, build and renovate homes and work spaces in the Kansas City area. As a recording artist, songwriter and concert producer Toni inspires many through her performances, and you’re especially lucky if you hear her singing through the work day. Her passion for change radiates through the mission of Races United. As a grant writer for Synergy Services, Toni has a hand in the success of the 30 different programs at Synergy; from our emergency shelters to the transitional housing program and the outpatient mental health services, spending day in and day out advocating for innovation across Kansas City.

For Toni, her success and ongoing impact is as simple and straightforward as her desire for change. As one of Toni’s longtime colleagues, Tracie Rezzelle put it, “What I know more than anything, is Toni is the ultimate team player with deep compassion and empathy. Toni is an exceptional person. Perhaps the most talented I’ve met. Her energy, cooperation and brilliance in working with both Synergy Services and Races United has brought so many together to work toward overcoming systemic racism and a more equitable and safe world for the Black community.”

Together, it’s time for each of us, like Toni Gates, to make an impact. There are incredible people all around us doing incredible things.

You want to help, people need your help, it is time to come together for good.

To learn more about the incredible Toni Gates visit her website at www.tonigates.com