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Staff Bios

Arminda Alexander

Project Officer, Homelessness Partnering Strategy

Arminda joined VCF in November, 2016, as a Project Officer with the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS). 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.

Contact Arminda Alexander

Telephone: 604.877.4527

Bill Aube

Development Advisor - Impact Real Estate

Bill is the development advisor for VCF's Impact Real Estate portfolio, helping organizations acquire or develop real estate assets to fulfill their social purpose.

Bill holds an MBA from UBC as well as a master's degree in real estate from the University of Illinois, and brings broad multidisciplinary experience from the fields of real estate, urban planning, manufacturing, healthcare and information technology. Before coming to Vancity, Bill worked as a land use consultant at Urbanics Consultants, where he helped both public and private sector clients optimize the impact of their real estate assets.

Contact Bill Aube

Telephone: 604.877.4940

Sean Condon

Associate, Strategic Programs - Social Enterprise

Sean is a the social enterprise development advisor with VCF, helping other organizations in the planning, launch and growth their social venture and helping strengthen VCF's programs and community impact.

Sean brings 10 years of social enterprise experience to VCF as the founder of Megaphone, a magazine sold on the streets of Vancouver and Victoria by homeless and low-income vendors. Sean helped build the organization 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.

Contact Sean Condon

Telephone: 604.975.3346

Shauna Cornes

Project Officer, Homelessness Partnering Strategy

Shauna joined Vancity in 2014 and is a member of the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) team, a community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness.

Prior to obtaining her Human Resources Management Diploma at the BCIT School of Business, Shauna spent seven years working for both the regional and provincial health services authorities in an administrative capacity. During this time, she gained a wealth of experience in contract management and developing strong working relationships with various funding partners. Further, she had the privilege of being in many client-facing roles, deepening her passion for working with organizations that support marginalized populations. It was during her time at a mental health rehabilitation unit that Shauna came to understand the unique challenges that people who experience mental illness face when it comes to finding and maintaining suitable housing. Feeling inclined to be part of the solution, she joined the team at the Vancity Community Foundation as a Project Officer with the Homelessness Partnering Strategy.

Contact Shauna Cornes

Telephone: 604.877.8441

Michelle Eggli

Program Manager, Communication & Engagement

Michelle graduated from Simon Fraser University with a Communications Degree from the Faculty of Applied Science where she focused her studies on collaborative eLearning and online communication. She worked 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 ENP program to manage the development of the ENP website, newsletter, podcast series, and other engagement activities. While at ENP, 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 the VCF strategic programs team.

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.

Contact Michelle Eggli

Telephone: 604.877.8268

Allison Felker

Manager, Donor Engagement & Fund Development

Allison joined the VCF team in June 2014 to lead our efforts in developing and implementing strategies that deepen relationships with donors and funding partners in order to expand the resources available to support local organizations in our community. 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.

Contact Allison Felker

Telephone: 604.877.7241

Irene Gannitsos

Manager, Strategic Programs

Irene re-joined the VCF Team in 2015, having previously worked with the foundation from 2000 -- 2012 in a variety of roles, starting as the original coordinator for ENP and leading much of the early social enterprise 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.

Contact Irene Gannitsos

Telephone: 604.871.5373

Derek Gent

Executive Director

Derek proudly leads an arms-length Community Foundation associated with the members of Vancity Credit Union in BC. With financial assets of more than $55MM, including 150+ Donor Advised Funds and a core endowment, they model a progressive approach to investment, while making grants, engaging in advocacy work and delivering collaborative programs with a focus on sustainable upstream development rather than aid. Building on the values, tradition and capacity of the relationship to a $20 billion, 500,000 member financial cooperative, VCF has pioneered a number of innovations in Canadian philanthropy and impact investing, with a particular strength in supporting social enterprises and community owned real estate initiatives in the region.

Before joining the Foundation in 2008, Derek worked in the venture capital division of Vancity, focused on impact investing through a portfolio of social enterprises, aboriginal ventures, alternative energy and nonprofit housing. His professional career started in microcredit with BRAC in Bangladesh, after an MBA from Queen's University, and he worked in management consulting before a variety of roles at Coast Capital Savings and then Vancity. Derek currently chairs the Public Policy Committee of Imagine Canada, an important umbrella organization representing the interests of charities and nonprofits across the country, as well as Board roles with New Market Funds, Cooperators Foundation, Responsible Investment Association and as Vancouver City Co-Chair for Aga Khan Foundation. He lives in East Van with his wife and partner of almost 30 years and their 3 children.

Contact Derek Gent

Telephone: 604.877.7553

Amrita Gill

Coordinator, Philanthropic Services

Amrita joined VCF in 2011 as our Philanthropic Services Coordinator, responsible for coordinating and developing the administrative support systems of the Donor Advised Funds' growing program. Amrita has worked with Vancity since 2006 so she brings internal knowledge and understanding to the team. Amrita has previous fundraising experience working with Canadian Red Cross and BC Children's Hospital Foundation and obtained an education in Sociology and Psychology from SFU.

Contact Amrita Gill

Telephone: 604.877.7669

Cherlyn Itakura


Cherlyn joined VCF in 2011 as our Accountant, after having worked in Accounts Payable and Accounting in Vancity's Finance Division since 2007. As our accounting consultant, Cherlyn is responsible for providing financial systems advice and support while maintaining accounting records. Cherlyn has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from UBC and a Diploma of Technology from BCIT in the Professional Accounting program and received her CGA designation in August 2011.

Contact Cherlyn Itakura

Telephone: 604.877.7612

Vera LeFranc

Manager, Community Projects

Vera holds a B.A. in Liberal and Business Studies and has been working with community organizations for over 20 years, primarily in program design and development, women's programs, employability programs, and poverty reduction. For the past three and a half years she has assisted with the management of the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Fund, working with the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society board to grow and distribute the fund, develop and launch a granting program, and lead community initiatives aimed at reducing homelessness and increasing access to housing. In her role as Manager, Community Projects, Vera will supervise our various community programs and partnerships.

Contact Vera LeFranc

Telephone: 604.340.2839

JC Macmillan

Administrator, Philanthropic Services

JC brings a vast knowledge of the Vancity systems and internal connections having worked with Vancity since 2008. JC joined VCF in 2013 as our Administrator, Philanthropic Services and is responsible for coordinating and developing the administrative support systems of the Donor Advised Funds' growing program.

Coming from the Maritimes, JC has a home-grown sense of social responsibility with a need to be connected to the community. JC has a background that merges creativity and business having grandparents and parents who are entrepreneurs in tourism, hospitality and food/beverage products. Over the years he has gained experience in developing, designing and managing these various interests and holds a degree in Business Administration from Acadia University and a Minor in Economics from U.P.E.I.

Contact JC Macmillan

Telephone: 604.877.7505

Jennifer McCaffrey

Program Coordinator, Surrey Homelessness & Housing Society

As program coordinator for the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society, Jen works with colleagues Vera LeFranc and Stephanie Shardlow to carry out goals of the Society. Jen coordinates the Society's grants program and works with the Board's various committees providing administration and support toward fulfillment of the Society's goals. Jen finds that each day brings something new and engaging. One day she may be helping set up a film shoot profiling a homeless-serving agency and the next she may be helping a grant applicant with our funding process.

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.

It is important for Jen to have employment that contributes to a more resilient community. Having a young child at home has made this even more important. Helping fulfill the mission of the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society through the Vancity Community Foundation is incredibly rewarding and often humbling. In this role Jen can see the direct impact of the Society's work on the ground and on individual lives in Surrey.

Jen works at the Vancouver office of the Vancity Community Foundation and you will also find her in Surrey two to three days each week.

Contact Jennifer McCaffrey

Telephone: 604.709.6912

Liam McLellan

Officer, Homelessness Partnering Strategy

Contact Liam McLellan


Nancy Melo

Manager, Administration

Contact Nancy Melo

Telephone: 604.877.6580

Lisa Nissanov

Team Manager, Homelessness Partnering Strategy (on Maternity Leave)

Lisa is the Team Manager for the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) project which is a partnership between VCF and Metro Vancouver that will provide 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.

Contact Lisa Nissanov

Telephone: 604.877.4527

Letizia Romei

Team Manager, Homelessness Partnering Strategy

Letizia has been with Vancity since 2008 where she began her career with the credit union at the community branch level as a Financial Services Representative. After a number of years in that role, she transitioned to Financial Services Branch Coordinator. Letizia also acted as branch Community Services Representative and gained experience planning regional Vancity community events as well as forming local community partnerships. In November 2014, after gaining 6 years of financial and member service experience at the branch level, Letizia joined Vancity Community Foundation (VCF) as a Project Officer with the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS). VCF, in partnership with Metro Vancouver, administer the HPS program which awards funding to agencies working to end homelessness in the region. Letizia graduated from the University of British Columbia Okanagan with a Bachelor of French in 2008 and from the University of British Columbia Vancouver with a Bachelor of Speech Sciences in 2012. In 2014, she also completed an introductory course to personal financial planning at BCIT.

Contact Letizia Romei

Telephone: 604.648.5632

Bryn Sadownik

Program Manager, Evaluation & Community Impact

Bryn works to enhance the capacity of VCF, Vancity Credit Union and community-based organizations to strategically plan, manage and communicate the value of their work, and in particular the measurement of social and environmental impact. 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.

Contact Bryn Sadownik

Telephone: 604.877.7646

Stephanie Shardlow

Specialist, Fund Development, Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society

Stephanie Shardlow joined the team on January 11, 2016. 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. Stephanie is excited for her new role with VCF & Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society and to tackle the challenges that fundraising brings. 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.

Contact Stephanie Shardlow

Telephone: 604.871.5416

Pearl Wu

Office Coordinator

Pearl joined Vancity in 1986 and was employed in various branches and departments until she became the Office Coordinator at VCF in 2005. In this capacity, she oversees facilitating the day-to-day administration of the Foundation offices. This position also provides administrative support to facilitate efficient tracking, reporting, funding, and distribution of Foundation grants.

Contact Pearl Wu

Telephone: 604.877.7647