Here are the staff members whose expertise and experience make the Victoria Foundation what it is: a community foundation with a strong reputation based on a history of offering individualized service, customized programs and objective decision-making.
Sandra Richardson – CEO
Prior to joining the Victoria Foundation as CEO in 2001, Sandra enjoyed a successful career in fund development in both Canada and the USA. Most recently, she worked for five years as Director of Development and Planned Giving with the Victoria Hospice & Palliative Care Foundation and prior to that as Director of Development for the Cleveland Playhouse/Cleveland Opera. Among her many professional endeavours, Sandra has been a member of the Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP) for over 10 years and has been an integral part of the success of the CAGP Vancouver Island Roundtable, where she served as Chair for four years. She also served on the Board of Community Foundations of Canada for eight years and for six years was an active participant with the Transatlantic Community Foundation Network. Sandy has been recognized on many occasions for her achievements and for her distinguished service to the community, including being invited to enter the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem (2007) and a recipient of the Royal Roads University Community Leadership Award (2008), Vancouver Island Public Relations Professional of the Year Award (2009), University of Victoria Distinguished Alumni Award (2010), and Rotary Community Leadership Award (2011).
Natasha Benn - Manager of Philanthropic Services
Natasha’s background includes over 13 years as a paralegal specializing in the area of Wills and Estates with the law firm of McConnan Bion O’Connor & Peterson. Wanting a career change, Natasha decided that a natural fit would be in the area of Legacy Giving. Natasha joined the University of Victoria and managed the Planned Giving and Estate Administration Department for over six years. More recently, Natasha joins us after three years with Victoria Hospice where she established a formal planned giving program and later became the Director of Fund Development. Natasha has served on the Board of the Canadian Association of Gift Planners for seven years, as well as the LEAVE A LEGACY™ program. Born and raised in Victoria, Natasha enjoys the natural beauty of Vancouver Island. She spends her weekends gardening, cooking and crafting.
Rory Grewar – Director of Special Funds
Rory was born and raised in Winnipeg and attended the University of Manitoba. He worked for 14 years as a Senior Administrator with the Provincial Government’s Environment Commission. In 2004 he moved to B.C. to become Director of Administration at the David Suzuki Foundation and in 2010 fulfilled a lifelong dream to move to Vancouver Island when he joined the Victoria Foundation. Rory has served on several charitable boards including the All Charities Campaign of Manitoba, the Institute of Public Administration of Canada, and the Performing Arts Lodge (Vancouver). He has also volunteered with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, The Immigrant Centre of Winnipeg and, most recently with the Victoria Film Festival. He has a passion for travelling and has visited over 30 countries and loves theatre, classical music, art and architecture.
Sasha Gronsdahl – Community Initiatives Coordinator
Originally from sunny Kelowna, Sasha has felt like a Victoria native since she moved here in 2009 to attend the University of Victoria. She graduated from UVic in 2014 with a degree in political science and professional writing, and as a student completed three co-op terms in communications, event planning, and fundraising. She has studied in the Netherlands and worked in Malawi and, in her spare time, Sasha enjoys reading, spending time outdoors, and volunteering in refugee resettlement.
Carol Hall – Director of Community Initiatives and Grants
Carol Hall brings 20 years of experience with the non-profit sector to leading the community grants program at the Victoria Foundation. She has worked on projects in Victoria and internationally to mobilize the knowledge and tools to support community groups to increase their impact in an era of rapid change. Prior to moving to Vancouver Island in 2007, she was executive director of a family foundation in New England where she led its grant making and partnerships to conserve farms and natural areas. Earlier in her career, and after completing studies at University College London and University of Pennsylvania, Carol worked on community development projects in southern Africa. Before joining the Victoria Foundation, she volunteered to support its efforts to build long-term collaboration for improved food security. In her spare time, she enjoys playing piano, Nordic skiing and hiking in the great outdoors.
David Hernon – Director of Information Technology
David has worked within the information technology industry since 1995 in both the United Kingdom and Canada. He joined the Foundation in 2007, and brings with him a wide range of skills including project management, business analysis and data management. David believes strongly in community building and he enjoys helping local organizations overcome the various challenges they face.
Robert Janus – Director of Communications
Rob was born in Alberta and moved to Victoria in 1983. Following studies at Camosun College and the University of Victoria, he has worked for over 20 years in the fields of communications and social marketing. Rob started his career at the Capital Regional District where he worked for 14 years in a number of capacities including Senior Regional Recycling Coordinator and Communications Coordinator for the Environmental Services Department. He has also worked as an independent sustainability consultant for businesses, government and non-profits and, most recently, as the Manager of Communications, Marketing and Public Relations for Victoria Hospice. Rob joined the Foundation in 2012 and enjoys volunteering as well as gardening, renovating, travelling, classic cars and spending time with his family.
Nathan Lapointe – Finance Administrator
Nathan was born in Vancouver, raised in Victoria and graduated from Oak Bay High School. He has been with the foundation since May 2008. He graduated from Camosun College in April 2009 with his Bachelor of Business Administration (Accounting Option) degree. He completed the Certified General Accountant program in August 2011. Nathan completed co-operative work terms with local accounting firms before joining the Foundation. Nathan enjoys volunteering, reading books and playing board games.
Rita Lord – Finance Director
Rita moved to Victoria from Montreal in 1990 after falling in love with the West Coast after one visit. She has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Concordia University and is a Chartered Accountant. She has worked for Coast Capital Savings, VIHA and KPMG. Rita is also an associate faculty member of Royal Roads University in the School of Business. Rita joined the foundation in September 2011. She enjoys volunteering for projects in which her two daughters are involved.
Louise MacDonald – Director, Governance and Executive Operations
Louise is a native of Victoria and graduated from the University of Victoria with a History in Art degree. Louise joined the Foundation in February 2006 where she works closely with the CEO and the Board of Directors. Louise previously worked at the Greater Victoria Hospitals Foundation. She has more than 15 years experience in the art industry, serving as the director of a commercial art gallery in Calgary and then as a corporate art consultant. Louise maintains her connection to the arts in Victoria and served on the Capital Regional District Arts Advisory Council, including six years as Chair.
Brin Morgan – Office Administrator
Brin was born in Edmonton and raised in Prince George. She has called Victoria home since 1991, when she moved here having never visited the city before. She attended Camosun College and the University of Victoria, studying psychology and then business administration. After 16 years in the tourism industry, she changed career paths and joined a local real estate company. As part of their support staff for over 5 years, she filled many different roles including Reception and Conveyancing. Outside of work, Brin enjoys an active lifestyle, reading, and creating foods, crafts and memories with her family.
Sara joined the Victoria Foundation in 2008. She is responsible for working with professional advisors and their clients, building relationships in the community and enhancing services provided to individuals and organizations who invest their funds with the Foundation. A native Victorian, Sara graduated from the University of Victoria Faculty of Law in 1982. After practicing for several years Sara joined the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation in 1993 where she served as the Director of Gift and Estate Planning for over 14 years. Sara maintains membership with the Law Society of British Columbia, the Canadian Bar Association, the Victoria Estate Planning Council, and the Canadian Association of Gift Planners. She was also the founding chair of LEAVE A LEGACY™ British Columbia and served on the Board of the Victoria Symphony for six years.
Melanie Porter – Philanthropic Services Assistant
Melanie was born in Burnaby and raised in Comox before settling in Victoria in 2003. She studied Travel Counselling/Tourism at North Island College. Melanie’s previous positions include Sales and Business Development Representative at Core-Mark International, and Administrative Technician at Ross Place Retirement Centre. Melanie enjoys the activity and natural beauty that Victoria and surrounding areas have to offer and enjoys taking in the cultural talent that we have in this city.
Kathryn Righetti – Grants Administrator
Kathryn manages grant applications, organizes Community Advisor activities, prepares committee minutes and reports and assists with general office administration. Kathryn’s previous positions include a 27-year career with Telus/BC Tel in a variety of roles. She was Executive Assistant to the CEO of the Greater Victoria Public Library, and most recently, she was Office Coordinator at the Prostate Centre. She grew up in Victoria and lends her knowledge of the community to the grants team.