The Fund is administered by the Victoria Foundation under the guidance of a nine person Advisory Committee appointed by the Adoptions Council of Canada. The Committee includes a broad range of community perspectives on adoption and permanency. The Director of Adoption at the Ministry of Child and Family Development is a permanent member of the Committee. The members meet quarterly, including twice a year to review grant applications.
Current Committee Members:
Dana Brynelsen was a Provincial Advisor for the Infant Development Program of BC for many years and is now retired. A published author, Dana has been a member of many boards of provincial and national organizations, and has won numerous awards for her work. Dana is an adoptive parent and has been involved in a range of adoption-related activities.
David Cameron (Chair) is an adoptee himself, and he and his wife have adopted two children internationally and are very active in the local adoption community. A successful reunion with his birth mother and her extended family, coupled with his direct experience, allows for a personal and unique perspective into the many issues in the adoption triangle. David is a Portfolio Manager and co-founder of Cameron Woods Portfolio Management.
Preston Guno is from the Nisga’a Nation of the Eagle Clan and has worked with and for youth for over 12 years. He has worked as a Prison Corrections Officer, a transition worker for youth in the Downtown Eastside and as a Child and Youth Advocate at the Provincial Office for Children and Youth, and currently works as the Provincial Director, Indigenous Cancer Care at the BC Cancer Agency. In his various roles, Preston has consistently advocated for systemic change in the ways that government, schools, and the criminal justice system deal with young people –particularly Aboriginal youth.
Geord Holland (past-chair) manages his own law practice, Geord Holland Law. He has had extensive experience as counsel in adoptions, and was consulted in the BC government’s overhaul of the Adoption Act in 1996. As adoptive parents of four children, Geord and his wife have been involved in the adoption community for many years and are intimately familiar with adoption issues.
Catherine Pope is an award-winning senior journalist who spent 20 years at Global News Vancouver. Many of her stories and investigative reports reflected her passion for making a difference in the lives of children, including her highly acclaimed series on Teen Adoption. Catherine has been a volunteer with the Adoptive Families Association for many years. She is a single parent of an adopted child.
Renaa Bacy has a Master’s degree in Social Work and Public Administration. She has been working in the adoption field since 1997 when the current Adoption Act was implemented. Renaa believes that every child in care deserves permanency and this is one of her driving passions. Renaa approaches her work with commitment, honesty and a genuine desire to improve permanency for children.
Kellie Tennant is from the Cree Nation, from Peguis Manitoba, and has been a visitor in Coast Salish Territory for 25 years. Kellie is an adoptee, and grew up with another adopted sibling, foster brother, her amazing parents and their 2 biological children. Kellie has been a Faculty member for 9 years at Douglas College in the Child and Youth Care Degree Program and the Aboriginal Child Family and Community Studies Program. Kellie is also a child protection mediator for the Ministry of Justice in her private practice working to Indigenize mediation for families involved in child welfare services. Kellie specializes in urban Aboriginal social issues and assisting youth and families to walk in both worlds with cultural pride.
Russell Pohl and his partner of 28 years have fostered for 17 years. They have 10 children in total; 2 from Russell’s first marriage, 5 are adopted and 3 are in the permanency process. As Russell’s children get older he spends time supporting causes which he has a passion for. He is past President and the current Vice President of the Board of Directors for BC Federation of Foster Parent Associations. As a volunteer Board member who advocates daily for children and families, he is BCFFPA’s Solutions Facilitator. In this role he travels the province building relationships between Ministry and foster parents and facilitating workshops on a variety of foster-related topics. As an independent speaker, Russell also travels and presents on a number of topics across Canada and parts of the United States. Russell has a passion for foster and adoptive parents and the families they build. He works tirelessly trying to bring all parties working with our children to the place of permanency, safety and of course love.