The Hub of Social Services on the Coast

Staff, Project Consultants, Board & Knowledge Philanthropists

Our Staff

Asja Hadzismajlovic, Executive Director

Asja brings more than 15 years of experience working for grassroots/smaller non-profits in Montreal, Vancouver and internationally. 

Her areas of focus have included eco-tourism, environmental protection, trauma, victim services and grief & loss. Her longest tenure was with the BC Bereavement Helpline from 2011-2018, first as project manager and then as Executive Director.

Asja holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UBC and a Masters in Journalism attained in France. She is fluent in English, French, Spanish and Bosnian. 

Asja grew up in Africa. She immigrated to Canada with her family as a young teenager during the war of her native ex-Yugoslavia. Her global background and upbringing helped fuel her interests in cultural diversity, international relations, conflict resolution and social justice.

Asja has called the Sunshine Coast home since 2017. She uses the words “heaven” and “magnificent” to describe it, and says her young daughter keeps her exploring all the fun activities, festivals, and nature the coast has to offer. 

Johan Stroman, Information and Referral Manager – Operations

Johan has worked as teacher and education resource developer for the past 20 years. In addition to working at the Resource Centre, Johan is a consultant supporting teachers and students with sustainability education projects on and off coast. In addition he does program development, community engagement, research and writing on sustainability and community development. He has worked with local government, provincial agencies and the Coast Car Co-op.

He brings a compassionate view to caregiver and senior support after having helped navigate his father through through medical services for Cancer treatment and his mother through Dementia assessment and residential care over the past decade.

When not at work, Johan can be found exploring the trails and beaches on foot, e-bike or skis with his family. His young son and daughter keep him both young and old in Gibsons alongside his wife.

Michelle Bruecker, Manager of Seniors’ Programs

Michelle Bruecker has a diverse background that reflects her broad range of interests and a voracious appetite for continued learning. She managed a medical clinic for more than a decade, pioneering the transition to digital medical records on the Sunshine Coast. She consulted, trained, and coached family physicians in capacity building at VCH. While establishing the Sunshine Coast Better at Home Program she developed a Navigation Toolkit for Seniors.

She is currently the Sunshine Coast Resource Centre’s Manager of Seniors’ Programs. Michelle has hosted conferences with the Seniors Advocate of BC and the Federal Minister of Seniors. She is the lead author of the literature review on Isolation in Older Canadian Adults and its addendum on provider experiences during the pandemic. Michelle is a member of the United Way provincial working group Seniors Action Committee, the Sunshine Coast Community Response Network, and the local Women’s Health Action Network.

Michelle loves hiking in our local forests and mountains, circle singing, writing and swimming. You can also find her in her garden, which is her favourite performing art; respectfully nudging the landscape into a retreat for the body, mind and spirit.

Ken Carson, Community Legal Advocate

Ken has been a resident of the Sunshine Coast for almost 20 years and has more than 25 years of legal advocacy experience in the field of human rights, and, most recently, on the Indian Residential School file where he worked to ensure that Survivors of those schools receive fair compensation in Canada’s largest class-action Settlement Agreement.

He passionately believes in the principles of natural and restorative justice, reconciliation with First Nations and the empowerment of those people economically and socially marginalized. Speaking truth to power, ethical behaviour, the dignity and worth of all people, equality of rights, equal access to services, and the rule of law are, for Ken, foundational principles that ensure the well-being of communities and the resiliency of its social fabric.

Ken has also worked as a cross-cultural trainer/facilitator having worked with groups as diverse as former combatants from Northern Ireland, indigenous peoples from the Amazon Rain Forest and the Blackfoot culture of Southern Alberta. As the former manager of the World Heritage Site, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Ken recognizes the importance of the preservation of culture heritage for future generations.

During Ken’s ‘downtime’ he enjoys wildlife photography, computer art and gardening. He also volunteers with Seniors and is a member of the Advisory Planning Commission (Area E) for the Sunshine Coast Regional District.

Darcy Lawrence, Supervising Lawyer

Darcy Lawrence joined the Resource Centre as the Supervising Lawyer for the Community Legal Advocacy Program, funded by the Law Foundation of BC.

Originally from Edmonton, Darcy has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Alberta. He attended law school at the University of Victoria and has been practicing law as a litigator for 24 years. He began his career with the B.C. Crown Counsel office and for 5 years was a prosecutor in the Vancouver and Squamish courts. In 1997 he moved to the Sunshine Coast and the Sechelt Crown office.

In 1999 he left the Crown and since that time has practiced primarily in the areas of criminal defence, small claims and child apprehension at both the Provincial and Supreme court levels. He regularly assists Sunshine Coast residents who suffer from addiction and homelessness issues and he feels that his position as supervising lawyer is a natural extension of that work.

Angelina Theilmann, Legal Aid, Information & Referral, Communications

Angie moved to the Sunshine Coast from the Lower Mainland in 2015, and is happy to call Gibsons her home. Soon after leaving the city, she switched gears to become a full-time mom, while living for a number of years on a local farm with all of its lovable creatures great and small.

Angie has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Geography, and a Diploma in Broadcast Journalism. She worked as a bilingual journalist at CBC and Radio-Canada before moving to the coast. Her career path includes work in communications and customer service, event-planning & the non-profit sector. 

Angie’s role is centred around helping her community members in person, online and over the phone with any questions they may have about our community information hub, including our Legal Aid BC Community Partner Program.

Angie loves beachcombing, birds and teaching herself new guitar tunes so she can serenade unsuspecting friends.

 

Sarah Tesla, Welcoming Communities Settlement & Outreach Worker

Sarah is a trauma-informed photographer and communications professional who has worked with non-profits, NGOs, media organizations and brands documenting stories about post-conflict societies, social justice and mental health.

A graduate of SFU’s Master of International Studies, her travels have taken her to over 65 countries, enriching her understanding of different cultures and human experiences. In 2021 she will begin her Masters of Social Work with a focus on advocacy, education and destigmatization in mental health.

A love of nature inspires Sarah to take to the trails with her dog Moe, exploring all the Sunshine Coast’s beautiful nooks and crannies. Don’t be surprised if you see her out on her SUP in January or bump into her on an FSR in her truck.

Juliana Paulsen Fernandes , Welcoming Communities  Settlement & Outreach Worker 

Born in Brazil, Juliana has a degree in Psychology, having had her own practice there for almost five years.

Juliana is a Canadian Citizen because of her grandfather, who emigrated from Canada to Brazil.

In 2019, Juliana, her husband Roger and her cat Sansa, decided to move to Canada to start a new, better quality life full of new adventures. When she arrived in Canada, more specifically, on the Coast, she became a member of the Welcoming Communities Program. The program helped her understand more about the community and Canadian culture, in addition to helping improve her English. 

Here, on the Coast, she’s already worked as a housekeeper and is currently working as a cashier at Claytons. Now, she is also part of the Welcoming Communities Program helping other immigrants and new Canadians to start their new life here.

As a newcomer, Juliana is still discovering and exploring the beauty of the Sunshine Coast.

Because of the global pandemic, Juliana hasn’t had time to explore more places in Canada and meet as many new people as she would like to. In her free time she likes to play with her nephew Luca, go hiking, eat, drink and make video calls with her family and friends in Brazil.

 

Our Project Consultants

Betty Baxter, Poverty Reduction Strategy Project Consultant

Betty Baxter has lived on the Sunshine Coast since 1995 and worked for over 20 local organizations in Strategic Planning, Board and Organization Development, Human Rights and Communication Skills training and mediation.

In the past decade she has served as a trustee and board chair for School District, No. 46 (Sunshine Coast) and is currently a director of the Sunshine Coast Credit Union and chair of the Coast Car Co-op board.

She has worked as a consultant with the Sunshine Coast Resource Centre on the creation of The Seniors Planning Table 2014, The Progress Plan: Women’s Economic Well-being on the Sunshine Coast 2012–2014, and the needs of LGBTQ2+ seniors on the Sunshine Coast 2019–2020. Clients from the past year include The Sunshine Coast Association for Community Living (SCACL), The Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden, The Sunshine Coast Community Foundation and the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts.

Betty’s strengths are assessing the needs of organizations, helping to chart an effective way forward and providing a positive experience for all participants. She creates a safe space for people to be honest and get to the real issues. She completes work on task, on time and on budget.

Pat Feindel, Poverty Reduction Strategy Project Consultant

Pat Feindel has a long history of working as a teacher, community-based researcher, and communications professional with organizations advocating for social justice and human rights in BC. Her research and advocacy work with disability, feminist, legal aid, and Indigenous organizations has given her a deep awareness of the multiple issues that contribute to poverty.

Pat served as the communications director for Inclusion BC, the provincial umbrella organization supporting community inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities. Her recent PhD research at Simon Fraser University addressed the history of disabilities and institutionalization in BC by collaborating with family members to reconstruct the stories of their forgotten and marginalized relatives with disabilities.

Pat is particularly skilled at capturing authentic voices and reflecting the lived experiences of those with whom she consults.

As a newcomer to the Sunshine Coast, Pat is pleased to be discovering local artists, coastal trails and beaches, and edible wild mushrooms.

Our Board

Pat Hunt, Co-Chair

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Pat Hunt is excited every day about the work accomplished by the Resource Centre. Being part of a committed and passionate staff and volunteer team delivering information and referral services in many forms to individuals and groups is never dull. She believes that working with the Resource Centre board and strong partners and funders is key to giving quality service to the community.

Pat joined the Resource Centre board in August 2011. Her personal goal is to help build capacity, influence positive change, and to strengthen the lives of the people who live here by finding funding and making the connections necessary to take action.

After spending 43 years living, working, raising three children and volunteering in Ottawa, Pat and her husband picked up stakes and moved to Sechelt in 2006 to be closer to family. Although very different from living in a big city, this community has so many benefits and has been welcoming from the very beginning. Pat loved her 35 years working in recreation and sport both at the municipal and national levels.

She is an avid golfer, curler, reader, cook, friend and traveller. Pat’s three beautiful children have also led to six wonderful grandchildren and being an active part of their lives is one of her greatest joys.

Jan Bird, Co-Chair

Jan came to live on the coast in Roberts Creek in 2015. After working and living around the world the Sunshine Coast is now home and she is looking forward to giving back to the community which has been so welcoming to her. Jan’s working life has always been focused on helping individuals, communities and grass root organizations overcome disadvantage and take more control over their own lives.

In Scotland Jan worked in community development, and in organizational development and training provision for not-for-profits. She has supported partnerships enabling organizations to work together, share resources and be able to respond to major policy changes. Jan was a Fellow of the Office of Public Management in the UK where she was able to develop innovative ways to engage with communities, service users, patients and carers. She has worked for both the Scottish Government and UK Government. In Scotland she helped develop and manage a knowledge hub on tackling poverty and urban regeneration and participated in cross Europe projects focusing on Social Return on Investment. Jan also worked for the UK Government as a policy team leader to carry out a policy review and then provide evidence based policy options to tackle deprivation in the poorest neighbourhoods.

Jan is a qualified Myers Briggs consultant and NLP practitioner. In the Dominican Republic, UK, New Zealand, and now in the Canada she mentors individuals to help them make life choices, improve their relationships, their ability to communicate well, and resolve conflicts. With not-for-profits Jan helps develop effective planning processes, team-building, engagement initiatives and evaluation.

Hilary Estergaard, Treasurer

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Hilary holds the position of Treasurer of the Sunshine Coast Resource Centre Society. Hilary is involved in communications and marketing, including the current review of promotional materials and website upgrade and redesign.

Hilary Estergaard is a parent, grandparent and a world-traveler with a long history of giving back to her community!

Hilary got her first taste of community service working with the Downtown Eastside Housing Association with Libby Davies. Since moving to the Sunshine Coast, she spent 12 years on the board of Sunshine Coast Community Services, including two years as Chair. Hilary also volunteered on the PAC and District PAC, chairing that as well, while both her sons attended school.

In 1985 Hilary became a co-owner of Elite Travel in Gibsons where she has been able to follow her passion for travel and visit fantastic places across most of the globe. She has also been able to send hundreds of people on spectacular trips around the world!

Originally from the UK, Hilary learned her love for travel at an early age while moving around with her military father. She moved to Canada after meeting her now-husband in Spain in 1972. He lost his travelers cheques, she refunded them and he brought her home to Canada. Married in 1973, the couple built a home in Sandy Hook and moved here full time in 1978.

Hilary loves to read, go to Rolling Stones concerts, walk, ski, swim and, most certainly, travel to the very few places that she hasn’t been.

Sue Elliott, Secretary

Sue’s board activities include a focus on communications and marketing. Sue provides monitoring of the Strategic Plan and team facilitation. Sue and Shari are the Resource Centre co-representatives on the Seniors Planning Table and Sue also chairs the communications and marketing action subcommittee for the Seniors Planning Table.

Sue Elliot’s resume of both paid work and volunteer contributions is quite remarkable. Sue, a board member with the Resource Centre since 2012, has an extensive history in education, psychology, staff development and leadership, which she is fortunately willing to share with the Sunshine Coast community.

As a lifelong, part time resident of the Sunshine Coast, Sue is well aware of the vast and varied needs of the people who live here. It is her honour to work on the board, moving the Community Resource Centre forward with the three flagship goals of Sustainability, Information and Referral, and Volunteerism. Sue relishes the constantly evolving nature of the organization; she knows that what offers the greatest impact is being responsive to the ever changing needs of the community that the Resource Centre serves.

In 2011, Sue retired from her lengthy and rewarding career with the West Vancouver School District and became a fulltime resident of the Sunshine Coast. Sue had several different roles with the school district; Learning Assistance Teacher, School Counsellor, Co-Chair of the District’s Professional Development Committee, and Coordinator of an induction and mentorship program for beginning and returning teachers.

Sue also has an extensive variety of volunteer experience. She has served three times as President of Learning Forward BC (formerly the BC Affiliate of the National Staff Development Council), as well as three years on the International Board of Learning Forward. Sue has been on the boards of the West Vancouver Family and Youth Justice Committee and the Seaview Addictions Agency. She also sat on the Executive Committee of the BC School Counsellors’ Association, serving two terms as president. Sue has participated in numerous projects and committees, and has facilitated numerous workshops on a variety of topics. She is also involved in a program that allows her the opportunity to teach English to girls in Tanzania.

When not volunteering or working, Sue can be found travelling, gardening, kayaking, cooking, enjoying wine, and gathering people around her table to engage in good conversation.

Kira Sufalko, Director

Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Kira completed her undergraduate education at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, obtaining a business degree. She continued her graduate education at Duke Law School  in Durham, North Carolina and received a dual Juris Doctor/LLM degree.

Kira began her career as an attorney working for a law firm in Chicago, and then worked in-house for large corporations including IBM, Accenture, and ACCO Brands.  She focused on global contract negotiations, integration of corporate strategies, and setting corporate policy.  Kira also worked with Human Resources to manage employment issues and benefits, and worked with Sales teams, Administration and Finance to address risk management and conformance with legal guidelines.

Kira is excited to work with the Resource Centre and its employees, volunteers and directors  to continue the great work and service that the Resource Centre provides to the Sunshine Coast community.  The Resource Centre is positioned to make a difference in the lives of numerous individuals and groups, and she looks forward to making a positive contribution towards those efforts.  

Kira loves the natural beauty and serenity of Sechelt and enjoys playing golf, pickleball, hiking, bird watching, mushroom hunting and kayaking on the beautiful Sunshine Coast. She recently obtained Permanent Resident status in Canada, and lives in Davis Bay.

Shari Myhill-Jones, Director

Shari is a Registered Nurse for Vancouver Coastal Health who has spent her career supporting Seniors and their families. She started her career on the North Shore working in a Long Term Care home, discovering she had a passion for Dementia Care. She moved to the Coast with her three children in 2003 and was part of the team opening Christenson Village in 2006. She held various leadership roles including Site Manager until moving to VCH Home and Community Services in 2014.

It was there that Shari developed an interest in supporting Seniors to remain living independently in their homes as long as possible. She became a volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Society and co leads a Caregiver Support group. She also became a member of the Seniors Planning Table Steering committee.

In 2016, Shari returned to University completing a Master of Health Leadership and Policy in Seniors Care at UBC. Having a greater understanding of health policy and how decisions are made, together with her work on the Seniors Planning Table, led to her interest in becoming a Director with the CRC. She is currently the Co-chair of the Seniors Planning table and lead for new Seniors Initiatives.

Shari looks forward to continuing to serve the complex needs of Seniors on the Sunshine Coast through both her professional role as a Registered Nurse, and as a Director for the Coast Resource Centre.

Fran Ostry, Director

Fran moved to the coast 3 years ago. She spends Tuesdays in Vancouver as a volunteer at My Sister’s Closet, the social enterprise for Battered Women’s Support Services.

Fran has a law degree and a nursing degree, as well as a lengthy record of volunteering for various boards and committees: the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation, the Dalhousie University and Victoria General Hospital research ethics committee, and the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia discipline and qualification committees. She enjoys volunteering as a means of giving to the community in which she lives, and as a means of connecting with diverse people in her community.

She has lived from coast to coast; from Montreal where she was born, to Halifax, to Markham, Calgary, Moncton, Edmonton, Halifax, Victoria, Vancouver and now Sechelt. She is glad to be finally putting down roots.

While in Vancouver Fran worked for 5 years at the B.C. Residential Office as an arbitrator, and has arbitrated many other disputes as well. While in Halifax she worked as a palliative care nurse which was an honour to work with dying patients.

Fran has two girls and two grandchildren. She enjoys knitting and travelling.

Tania Dacre-Ord, Director

Tania Dacre-Ord is the Assistant Vice President, HR Client Services for the Canadian Western Bank (CWB). Tania and her husband Dave moved from Toronto to Vancouver in May 2017 to join CWB and is supporting business leaders with a team of HR Business Partners across Canada. CWB is an Edmonton based company with branches and businesses throughout western Canada and is focused on commercial banking. CWB is starting to move into the Toronto market. 

Tania’s role with CWB is primarily supporting the business leaders focusing on talent management, employee engagement and employee relations. The goal is to drive the businesses forward, develop strategies to move teams through change working with the leadership teams to explore all options. 

In 2019 Tania and Dave moved to the Sunshine Coast and have settled in their home in Sechelt. Prior to moving to wests and working for CWB Tania worked for TD Bank Group as a Senior Manager, HR Business Partner. During her 30+ year career with TD Bank Group Tania held a number of positions within HR supporting various businesses such as branch banking, capital markets and product groups. Prior to moving in HR Tania was a branch manager in the retail network, and has held a number of positions within branch banking.

Heidi Magnuson-Ford, Director

Heidi and her husband, Dave moved from Port Moody to Langdale on the Sunshine Coast the summer of 2015. They arrived in Vancouver in 2008 after 20 years of living in the Winnipeg area. They have also called communities in northern Manitoba and northern BC home. 

Heidi comes from a family of people in the helping professions, so it was natural to continue the pattern through her own education, volunteerism and career. Heidi worked for twenty years in the food banking and food security arena. Besides facilitating relationships between Winnipeg Harvest, Manitoba’s largest food bank, and community partners throughout the city and province, she was instrumental in establishing the events and liaisons that would lead to the development of Food Matters Manitoba and Food Secure Canada. 

Once in BC Heidi worked for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank in fund development, for Burnaby Community Services’ Meals on Wheels, and other seniors’ programs. 

Heidi enjoys all things food, swimming, reading and more recently riding her motorcycle. In the summer of 2019 she, her husband and friends rode across Canada. They have also ridden extensively in BC. She has three daughters and two very sweet grandchildren! 

Katie Clogg, Director

Katie is thrilled to volunteer on the Board of Directors of the Sunshine Coast Resource Centre. She has worked in the charitable health sector for over ten years, raising funds and awareness for special projects such as hospital renovations, research, and enhancement of care for patients and seniors. She is deeply passionate about community development and seniors’ healthcare, and proudly works at Sunshine Coast Hospice Society as the Philanthropy & Communications Manager. 

The Resource Centre’s mission of bringing individuals and organizations together to identify community needs and develop a path forward is what drew Katie to volunteering at the Resource Centre. She believes it’s important for charities and non-profits to be dedicated to the fulfillment and awareness of their mission, and make the most impactful, sustainable decisions with the public’s investment. She looks forward to bringing her perspective and knowledge from working in the charitable sector to the Sunshine Coast. 

Katie was born in Washington state, was raised in Hungary and the Lower Mainland, and began her career in Metro Vancouver. She also enjoyed living and working in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario for four years. In her free time, she also loves to garden, swim and explore the Coast with her husband Johnny and her dog, Maple. She also loves to take online classes, and most recently finished a Certificate on Indigenous Canada with the University of Alberta and Coursera, and is completing a Marketing Certificate in Public Relations from BCIT.

 

Knowledge Philanthropists

Anne Titcomb, Past Board Co-Chair

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Anne served as the Board Co-Chair for 13 years, stepping off the Board in 2019 to focus her efforts on seniors issues. She was a member of the Progress Plan management team and is an active member of the Seniors Planning Table.

Anne Titcomb has been a board Member with the Sunshine Coast Community Resource Centre since 2006. Anne was drawn to volunteering for the Resource Centre by a strong interest in the initiatives and robust programs in place designed to support the community as a whole by supporting one person at a time.

Working with the Resource Centre is a departure from Anne’s previous volunteer experience which had mostly focused on advocacy for parks and recreation. With an emphasis locally, provincially and nationally, Anne spent nine years serving on the board of the BC Parks and Recreation Association, and is a Past-President, which engaged her in plenty of healthy conversations and hard work. She also was on the board of the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association representing BC and the Yukon. Both provincial and national organizations had a strong mission to “build healthy communities”.

Anne is a passionate believer in community development. Anne chaired the Parks Master Plan 2004 process and the Recreation and Parks Master Plan for 2014 process for the Sunshine Coast Regional District. She chaired the Recreation and Parks Services Advisory Committee for many years until the SCRD dissolved most Advisory Committees. She has been on the Grants Committee for the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation since its inception and has served six years on that board.  

Anne has lived on the Sunshine Coast year round since 2003 but, like numerous others, spent many summer vacations on the Coast before then. Born and raised in West Vancouver, Anne has lived her entire life in BC. Due to the friendly way of life, Anne knew she wanted to eventually settle here on the Coast, in the home on Soames she has owned since 1980. Anne continues to be drawn to the spectacular views and the welcoming people who live here; she knows that here on the Coast neighbours really are neighbours and the community is an involved and caring community.

After more than 20 rewarding years as a Legal Assistant, Anne keeps busy with four fabulous grandchildren and their wonderful parents. Active with a book club, a walking group and an eventful Bridge group, Anne also finds time to travel, with marvelous trips to Kenya, Italy and the Bahamas.

Marj McDougall

Marj McDougall has been an integral part of the CRC since 1996. Marj’s background in administration and bookkeeping coupled with her natural bent for numbers, lent itself well to her role as Treasurer until 2013.

Initially, Marj was drawn to the community connections the CRC was building upon and to this day, the caring, connected community is the very same reason she stays on the Board. The personal connections that she has made with the other Board Members during her tenure have also kept her an energized and interested contributor.

Marj’s other volunteer work includes being part of Habitat for Humanity’s recycling team and facilitation of a monthly brain injury peer support group in honour of her late husband. She is also drawn to anything “green” and is a strong supporter of the David Suzuki Foundation as well as other environmental interests.

A resident for 25 years, Marj has recently discovered more of what the Sunshine Coast has to offer in terms of access to hiking, biking and walking trails. When not at the recreation centre partaking in aquafit or aerobics, you may find her enjoying Tai Chi or Zen meditation.

Tracey Dear

Tracey has been a professional in the creative industry for over 25 years, working as a creative director, illustrator, brand consultant and graphic designer in various specialized areas such as advertising design, video and mobile gaming, and kids and family marketing. Having recently launched Tracey Dear Creative, she now helps businesses and organizations build public awareness and customer loyalty through creative visual strategy.

As a ‘knowledge philanthropist’ and creative contractor with the Resource Centre, Tracey has enjoyed working closely with the Resource Centre team to refresh their brand, evolving and strengthening their visual identity within the community.

Thanks to our other Knowledge Philanthropists who generously gift their time and expertise to support our organization:

Lucie McKiernan (Policy and Procedures)