Meet Our Foundation Team

Karen Spencer, Executive Director

Dr. Jill Stoddart, Director of Research, Development & Outcomes

Jennifer Laurie, Development Officer
With over 20 years in the social profit sector, Jennifer has a passion for community and a deep belief in the power of philanthropy.  Jennifer attended Mount Allison University where she graduated with BA Honours (History/International Relations) then pursued chef training at the renowned Stratford Chefs School. After volunteering in India, Jennifer realized how much there was to do here, in her own backyard.  Her interest in food and social justice led her to opportunities with a number of food-focused charities.  Her roles included event management, sponsorship, fundraising, and communications…and, as is the case in small charities, “other duties as required”.  An idealist who believes that together we can make a difference, Jennifer loves connecting kind and generous people with opportunities to create lasting impact and change the world.  A proud (and tired!) mom of two amazing kids and a dog with no concept of personal space, Jennifer is a devoted urbanite with a rural soul,  happiest when there’s a hot mug of tea, a good book, and wild ocean waves.  If you’d like more information on how you can help children and families thrive, email Jennifer at

Christine VanGassen, Administrative Assistant
Prior to moving to the area with her family to provide better opportunities for her two children, Christine worked for an agricultural company in the small farming community where she grew up.  In 2009, Christine joined the Agency and spent two years in an administrative role with the service teams before moving to the Executive Office where she supported the Director of Service and members of leadership team. Helping people is what Christine loves to do and her optimism and determination make her a caring and compassionate advocate for kids and families.  Christine plays a vital role in connecting the Foundation to the frontline workers at the Agency and to the community. When she isn’t helping others, Christine can be found patiently trying to get that perfect photo, or sitting by a campfire planning her next DIY project.  If you’d like information on setting up a personal fundraising page, hosting a third-party event, or just want to know more about how you can help children and families in our community, email Christine at