Michelle focused her studies on collaborative e-learning and online communication working for several years as a research assistant in these areas before following her heart into the non-profit sector. Michelle joined the Foundation in January 2005 initially working in philanthropic services before moving over to the Enterprising Non-Profits program to manage the development of a social enterprise focused website, newsletter, podcast series, and other engagement activities.
Michelle completed the professional Certificate in Community Economic Development (SFU) furthering her passion for building community and specifically for the potential of social enterprise to create impact. Today, Michelle manages the communication and engagement activities for Vancity Community Foundation.
Beyond the opportunity to work in a field she enjoys, Michelle is both proud and humbled to be part of an organization that is dedicated to using community economic development strategies, partnerships, and advocacy, to enable community change, capacity building, and well-being. She feels fortunate to work with passionate and driven colleagues; and she is inspired daily by the amazing work and impact of community organizations.
She has worked in the areas of donor engagement, fund development and leadership development for twenty years through roles at Canada World Youth, Vancouver Foundation, Vantage Point and most recently at the Justice Institute of BC's Centre for Leadership. Her volunteer work includes serving on the Board of Directors of BC Council for International Cooperation, Association of Fundraising Professionals Vancouver Chapter and WISH Drop-In Centre Society. She also served on our Foundation board over a decade ago. Allison holds a Master's Degree in Adult Education and a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work.
During her hiatus from VCF, Irene led the Community Investment division at Affinity Credit Union, an important sister organization to Vancity with a similarly long track record supporting innovative community development and also a fellow member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV).
Irene has a broad range of experience supporting and leading different nonprofit organizations, including specific expertise in each of our focus areas of social enterprise, community owned real estate and impact investing. Irene has also worked in microcredit, through international experiences in Bolivia and Guatemala, as well as domestic examples including inner-city Winnipeg, and as the founding Executive Director of the Immigrant Access Fund in Saskatoon. Her university degrees are in Business and in Rural Planning & Development, and she also had a role with the SFU Centre for Sustainable Community Development doing post-graduate research and coordinating a joint program delivered through a Mexican University in Cuernavaca.
She and her husband Rob live in North Vancouver with their 2 young children.
Vera brings a great deal of experience and knowledge to the Vancity Community Foundation through her decades of work in the non-profit sector. Vera has a degree in Business and Liberal Studies from Simon Fraser University; she brings a solid background in business and a passion for social justice to her community work.
Vera serves on many committee and community groups that work towards improving the socio-economic status of communities with plans developed around reducing homelessness and poverty. Vera has the ability to develop strategic plans to tackle these issues, and her contributions in the development of the Surrey Poverty Reduction Plan was endorsed and implemented by the City back in 2012.
As Manager of Community Projects, Vera will supervise various community programs and partnerships including the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Fund which she has been managing since its inception in 2007. Vera works closely with the Society’s Board of Directors to grow and distribute the fund, develop and launch granting programs, and lead community initiatives aimed at reducing homelessness and increasing access to housing.
Vera currently lives in Guildford with her partner Jen, and they are parents to two children and grandparents to six.
Prior to joining VCF, Terran worked at various nonprofit organizations in Vancouver and abroad focusing mainly on coordinating regional responses to violence against women. She brings a broad range of experience from her work in frontline support, program development, and policy analysis. Her most recent role was Community Investment Specialist at Vancity. She holds a master’s degree in Gender & Social Policy.
Bryn has over 15 years experience working in impact assessment and cost-effectiveness analysis. Prior to joining VCF, Bryn worked as a consultant and researcher at SFU, leading numerous projects for government, private sector and non-profit organizations. Bryn holds a B.A. from Carleton University and a Masters of Resource and Environmental Management from Simon Fraser University.
Sean brings 10 years of social enterprise experience to this role, as the founder of Megaphone, a magazine sold on the streets of Vancouver and Victoria by homeless and low-income vendors. Sean helped build Megaphone into an award-winning social enterprise that works with more than 300 marginalized people ever year and puts more than $100,000 annually into the pockets of vendors.
Omar comes to us most recently from Happy City, a dynamic and internationally recognized consultancy focused on promoting urban design that creates healthy and happy cities, neighbourhoods and buildings. As a Managing Principal, he co-developed ground-breaking research and interventions to improve community wellbeing, worked with an interdisciplinary team of experts in urban planning, architecture and public health; and led collaborations among senior government officials, real estate developers, academic partners and other city builders to improve urban environments. He is also a member of the Vancouver City Planning Commission, where he advises City Council on matters pertaining to the future of the City.
Omar is a sustainable investment professional and prior to Happy City worked with organizations such as Sustainalytics and Ethical Funds. Through this work, he has engaged corporate executives, standard-setting bodies and regulators to ensure urban development maximize public benefits and mitigate risks to investors, society and the environment. He also has worked in the non-profit sector, including a role as a Community Outreach Coordinator with AIDS Vancouver.
Omar completed a degree in International Business from the Technological Institute of Monterrey in Mexico City and an MA in Community Development and Social Planning from the University of British Columbia.
HPS is a community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness in the region, which VCF administers in partnership with Metro Vancouver. She brings extensive experience in social and affordable housing finance, accounting, property management and real estate asset management, having worked at King County Housing Authority and Bellwether Housing, which has the largest non-profit affordable housing portfolio in the City of Seattle.
Arminda holds a BA from Seattle University. She also received a Graduate Diploma in Urban Studies from SFU, and, along with her family, is proud to call Metro Vancouver home.
Before starting with HPS, Julie joined VCF in 2014 as part of First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition and the Living Wage for Families Campaign. Through her work at YWCA Metro Vancouver and the Vancouver School Board, Julie has seen first-hand how a safe place to call home can help the most vulnerable citizens move forward. That’s why she’s excited to work at HPS to help prevent the cycle of poverty and create better lives for the homeless or those at risk of homelessness.
Julie has been the editor of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News since 2007 and previously worked at Raincoast Books and Alive magazine. She holds a bachelor of commerce from the University of BC and studied community economic development at Simon Fraser University.
Prior to this role, Liam worked with non-profit housing providers in a project management role. He also worked on reconciliation files with Indian Residential Schools Resolutions Canada, and provided research to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Liam is now completing his graduate degree in Urban Planning at the University of British Columbia.
HPS is a partnership between Vancity Community Foundation and Metro Vancouver that provides funding to agencies addressing homelessness in the region.
Lisa has worked in government and non-profits in a wide variety of areas. She has an educational and professional background in criminology having worked with youth involved with the criminal justice system, women in the downtown eastside dealing with addictions and housing issues and adult offenders in federal and provincial institutions. Prior to joining Vancity Community Foundation, Lisa oversaw a portfolio at Jewish Family Service Agency which included: Financial Assistance/Case Management, Housing assistance and advocacy, a food bank, Mental Health Outreach, The World in Garden urban agriculture project, Special Needs related to families with children living with a disability as well as specialized holiday and prison outreach programs.
Team Manager, Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society
The SHHS team works collaboratively with Surrey organizations to address the needs of vulnerable people who are homeless and at risk in Surrey.
Before joining the SHHS team in 2017, Letizia was managing the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) team. This team works in partnership with Metro Vancouver and administers federal funding to organizations working to prevent and reduce homelessness in the region. Before this, she held various financial service positions at the Vancity Credit Union community branch level. At the branch is also where she had the privilege of volunteering as a Regional Community Service Representative. Representing her home branch in Kerrisdale, Letizia was part of a larger team that met regularly to discuss strategies for building community partnerships and implementing local Vancity-sponsored events within the region. Letizia holds two BAs from the University of British Columbia in Language and Speech Science, and she has completed a Personal Financial Planning course at BCIT. She feels fortunate to be part of an organization that is dedicated to strengthening community and to be part of a team that connects with non-profit organizations in Surrey on initiatives to end homelessness.
Fund Development Coordinator, Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society (On Maternity Leave)
As the Fund Development Coordinator, Stephanie works to carry out the fundraising goals of the Society while also supporting Surrey-based non-profit organizations with Capital Campaign projects. Stephanie enjoys the challenges of fundraising and being a part of an organization whose work has a direct impact on helping to change the lives of Surrey’s most vulnerable individuals.
A donor-advised fund with Vancity Community Foundation, the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society was seeded by an endowment from the City of Surrey. This donor advised fund is unique in also having a volunteer board of directors.
Prior to her role, Stephanie spent over five years fundraising in the arts, where she held roles in Development at Gateway Theatre and the Vancouver Art Gallery. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Visual Arts and Art History from the University of British Columbia in 2010. She lives in Surrey with her husband and young daughter.
In this capacity, she oversees facilitating the day-to-day administration of the Foundation offices. Pearl also provides administrative support to facilitate efficient tracking, reporting, funding, and distribution of Foundation grants.
First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition
First Call is a non-partisan coalition of over 100 provincial and regional organizations who have united their voices to put children and youth first in BC.