Our Board of Directors is responsible for the mission of The Farmer’s House, which is to provide a community-integrated hands-on work environment that will provide youth and adults with developmental disabilities practical vocational skills. Farmer's House is a place to cultivate self-esteem, grow a sense of self worth and harvest the confidence and passion that come from a job well done. Through its actions, the Board oversees an array of exceptional program to individuals with developmental disabilities.
David Cunningham, President, graduated from The University of Kansas with a BS degree in 1984. He studied International Business at The University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology in Manchester, England. He began his career in the financial services industry by joining the Equitable Life Insurance Company in 1990. David became a Vice President with AXA in 1991 and built one of the company’s top divisions. He concentrated in the health care industry and worked with employers in managing employee benefit and group insurance contracts. In 1994, Cunningham began consulting with hospitals and nursing homes across the United States to provide state-of-the-art education and enrollment capabilities to their organizations. He has worked with some of the country’s largest long-term care providers. In 2007, he founded Benefitz USA and now consults with companies in the long term and health care industry.Governor Kathleen Sebelius appointed David to the Kansas Governors Commission on Autism in 2006. He became the Chairman of the Commission in 2007 and worked closely with The Autism Task Force to advise and make recommendations to the Office of the Governor in regards to matters related to Autism. In 2005, David along with his wife Peaches co-founded The Farmers House, a nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization. Cunningham serves as President of the organization which celebrated its 7thopening The Farmers House Market. It is the first transitional and vocational training facility in Platte County, Missouri. The Farmers House Market provides a facility to train individuals with Autism with a vocation and develop the skills to seek out meaningful employment.
Mary Margaret Tutera Cunningham (known as Peaches) has served as Vice President of The Farmer’s House, Inc since its formation in 2005. The Farmer’s House was the brainchild of Peaches and her husband, David Cunningham. Peaches comes from a background of banking and adult-care administration. Peaches received her BA from Williams Woods College. In 1984 she began her community involvement with the KC Junior League and was presented at the 1984 BOTAR Ball, and has continued her service to the community through The American Royal. Peaches was a vice-president with Central Bank and specialized in bookkeeping and customer service. Peaches changed career directions when her family opened The Atriums, a luxury senior living community. She was executive director and is currently the executive director of Carnegie Village in Belton, another Tutera Family Community. In 1996, Peaches found herself a happy mother of a son, John David. In 1998, she was forced to realize that John David had received a diagnosis of autism. It was at this moment that her life was changed forever. Since that time, Peaches has been a relentless activist for children with developmental issues. She immersed herself in her son’s therapy at The Children’s Spot, where she served for over five years as its president, and currently holds a position on its advisory board. She held a position on the board of directors of The Autism-Asberger’s Resource Center and the Bi-State Initiative of Kansas and Missouri, formed to foster a collaborative effort for the two states to work together on autism initiatives. She has also been a positive force and support of the G.R.A.M.S. (Grandmothers Raising Autism Money) program. Peaches has also been an active member of other organizations, year by including being president of The Prairie School PTA and vice-president of the board of the Belton Chamber of Commerce.
Suzanne Zimmerman has serves as Treasurer of The Farmer’s House since 2007. Suzanne has a background in public accounting, commercial property management and as a small business owner. Suzanne most recently served as the Finance Director of Synergy Services, a multi-million dollar not-for-profit agency that provides domestic violence crisis intervention and education. Suzanne has also served as the Board President of The Children’s Spot, a therapeutic preschool for children with a wide range of developmental disabilities affiliated with St. Luke’s Hospital. The mother of a 18-year- old daughter with developmental disabilities, she is passionate about the mission of the Farmer’s House and understands the challenges that young adults with developmental disabilities face when it comes to community employment opportunities.
Judith A. Buchta has served as Secretary of The Farmer’s House since its beginning in 2005. Judi is currently employed at The Atriums, a luxury senior living community. For over 17 years, she was an executive assistant in administration at Providence Medical Center. Through the last several years, she has served in a variety of volunteer service positions at White Church Christian Church. During her sons’ school years, Judi served on the school board and other committees at Grace Lutheran School, and was an active supporter in all of their activities at Sumner Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Michele Kilo, MD, is a Developmental Pediatrician and the Chief, Section of Developmental and Behavioral Sciences, at the Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, MO. She is also an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. She received both her BA and MD from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Dr. Kilo is active in many community organizations; she currently serves as the President of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Kansas City Chapter, Board of Directors and is on the board of the Jellybean Conspiracy, a non-for-profit organization that sponsors theatre shows designed to include the talents of students with and without disabilities. She was a Founder of the Bi-State Autism Initiative. In 2004, Dr. Kilo was appointed a member of the Missouri Physician Health Committee, State Physician Health Committee Branch of the Missouri State Medical Association. She has received numerous awards for her advocacy on behalf of children with developmental disabilities.
Susan D. Sweat, MD, has been involved with several educational children’s organizations. From 1996-1998 she was a member of the Board of Directors for Rochester Montessori School in Rochester, MN. During her tenure, the board managed a capital campaign, day-to-day operations, and conducted a search for director/principal. She was a member of the parent board for The Children’s Garden Montessori School, 2005-2006, serving in an advisory role. She has been involved in the PTA of Prairie Elementary, Prairie Village, KS, in several different roles focusing mainly on fundraising from years 2004-2012. Dr. Sweat received her undergraduate degree from Baker University. Her MD degree was received from the University of Kansas and she completed her residency in Urology at The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. She was a Mayo Clinic senior associate consultant and then consultant from 2000-2003. Dr. Sweat is both an educator and a healer. She received the Teacher of the Year Award from the Mayo Clinic Urology Residents in 2003. Dr. Sweat’s urology practice includes treating a variety of urologic issues from cancer of the urinary system (prostate, bladder, kidney) to kidney stone disease. Dr. Sweat enjoys volunteering; Grand Avenue Temple, Hospice House and Church of the Resurrection are a few of her favorites.