Who We Are

Coast Funds' team works closely with First Nations, oversees the funds' financial performance, liaises with funders, and leads organizational initiatives.

Eddy Adra

Chief Executive Officer

As the Chief Executive Officer, Eddy leads a committed team that works in close partnership with First Nations on the investment of more than $100 million in financing for ecological and cultural stewardship, Guardian programs, sustainable energy projects, and economic development initiatives in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii.

Eddy joined the Coast Funds team in 2018 and has served as Director, Finance and Chief Financial Officer. In those roles, he oversaw Coast Funds’ financial operations, advanced fund development platforms, and led values-aligned investing to grow the organization’s capacity and deliver financing, fundraising opportunities to First Nations in coastal communities.

Prior to joining Coast Funds, Eddy was a senior manager at a leading public practice firm in Vancouver. Eddy has more than 15 years of experience in accounting, finance, and advisory services. He has worked with numerous not-for-profit organizations, Indigenous governments, and other public sector organizations.

Eddy also serves on the Investment Committee of Boann Social Impact and the Advisory Council of InBC, a strategic fund supporting a more prosperous, sustainable and inclusive future for British Columbia.

Eddy is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University.

Email
604-684-0223 Ext 2

melissa sevigny

Melissa Sevigny

Executive Assistant

As the Executive Assistant, Melissa works closely with the CEO and is a key resource person supporting First Nations, as well as Coast Funds’ board of directors, Members, and staff team. In her role, Melissa leads on administration, providing support for governance, communications, and operations.

Melissa is from the Canoe Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan on her maternal side and carries French and English ancestry on her paternal side.

Prior to joining Coast Funds, Melissa worked in administration and office coordination for more than 12 years. In her most recent role, she supported the human resources and programs teams at the Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society, an Indigenous child welfare agency.

Outside of work, Melissa is a Level 2 Reiki practitioner and an avid yogini. As a professional photographer, she enjoys illusion photography and studio work.

Email
604-684-0223 Ext 1

Ross Dixon

Director, Development

As Director, Development Ross supports First Nations and his Coast Funds colleagues in securing funds for Indigenous stewardship and economic development. Prior to joining Coast Funds, Ross worked on conservation initiatives in the Great Bear Rainforest and Salish Sea as Communications and Development Director with the Raincoast Conservation Foundation. In that role, Ross worked to create stewardship education programs for Indigenous youth, acquire trophy hunting rights in collaboration with Coastal First Nations, and assisted the Indigenous-led Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance with funding for habitat restoration.

Ross has also worked with governments, industry, academia, entrepreneurs, and economically-deprived communities to create jobs in the United Kingdom’s environmental technology sector. He holds a Bachelor of Environmental Science from Manchester University and a Master of Science in Water, Energy, and the Environment from Liverpool John Moore’s University. Ross is also a registered therapeutic counsellor.

Email
604-684-0223 Ext 5

Zahra Laarif

Director, Finance

As the Director of Finance, Zahra leads on the management, investment, and disbursement of funds for First Nations’ investments in conservation and economic development projects. In her role, she manages Coast Funds’ accounting, budgeting, financial reporting, and risk management. She also works closely with the Manager, Economic Development to deliver financing for First Nations’ businesses and infrastructure projects.

Prior to joining Coast Funds, Zahra served in several senior financial roles including with the Musqueam Indian Band and the Heiltsuk Economic Development Corporation. She brings more than 15 years of experience in financial management, accounting, and economic development. Zahra is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CGA) and holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Sydney. She has also completed the Də Tatəl’təl’ Management Certificate from the Ch’nook Indigenous Business Education program at UBC.

In her spare time, Zahra enjoys the outdoors, and spending quality time with her family.

Email
604-684-0223 Ext 3

Raine Playfair

Director, Stewardship Funding

As Director, Stewardship Funding, Raine works with First Nations to develop, implement, and administer Coast Funds’ investments into their stewardship authorities, Guardian programs, and conservation projects. Raine also collaborates on planning and articulating First Nations’ long-term visions for stewardship.

Prior to Coast Funds, Raine managed species-protection conservation initiatives and oversaw corporate and fundraising communications at Grizzly Bear Foundation. Her community well-being lens was developed during her time at planning and engineering firm Urban Systems. Raine’s passion for community building and stewardship drives her vision for a thriving conservation economy.

Email
604-684-0223 Ext 7

Photo of Stephanie Butler, Communications Manager

Stephanie Butler

Communications Manager

As Communications Manager, Stephanie works with First Nations to uplift the knowledge, experience, and stories of their stewardship and economic development initiatives. From day to day, she manages Coast Funds’ communications strategy, content development, design, and social media efforts, and is always on the lookout for good news and story ideas.

Before joining Coast Funds, Stephanie led communications at the Real Estate Foundation of BC and managed branding, content strategy, and events for the Healthy Watersheds Initiative. She brings an educational background in journalism and more than 10 years of experience supporting communications and community engagement in the housing, education, and philanthropic sectors.

Stephanie grew up on Algonquin Anishinaabe territory, in the Ottawa Valley, and now lives on the unceded lands of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Away from work, she enjoys reading, creative writing, and live music.

Email
604-684-0223 Ext 4

meghan saunders

Meghan Saunders

Senior Project Manager

As Senior Project Manager, Meghan serves First Nations and their regional groups, and works with their partners (NGOs, funders, and Crown agencies) on marine finance strategies for Indigenous-led marine conservation and stewardship. As part of the Marine Finance Working Group, which includes representatives from First Nations and supporting organizations, Meghan is supporting a feasibility assessment for a potential project finance for permanence (PFP) that could ensure sustainable financing for Indigenous stewardship in the Northern Shelf Bioregion, also known as the Great Bear Sea.

Meghan brings diverse experience from working for conservation organizations, Crown governments, and the private sector. Prior to joining Coast Funds, Meghan served as the project manager for the Wetlands Workforce, the largest collaborative wetland initiative of its kind in Canada. While working for the Province of BC, Meghan engaged with First Nations on land tenure negotiations, government-to-government agreements, and other policies, initiatives, and regulatory decisions. Meghan is grateful for the opportunity to bring her skills and experience to Coast Funds, in a role that serves First Nations and builds on a path to a better future for people and planet.

Email
604-684-0223 Ext 11

Patricia Sayer

Manager, Economic Development

As Manager, Economic Development, Patricia works in partnership with First Nations to develop proposals for First Nations’ business investments in start-ups, joint ventures, strategic acquisitions, and infrastructure projects that create family-supporting jobs in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii. Patricia is also responsible for administering Coast Funds’ monitoring, evaluation, and learning program.

Prior to Coast Funds, Patricia has worked in commercial banking with HSBC Canada, financial management systems and financial performance testing with the First Nations Financial Management Board, and social impact investing with Grand Challenges Canada – Indigenous Innovation Initiative.

She is passionate about bringing the intersectionality of her skills, experience, and worldview to contribute to the strengthening of Indigenous communities and peoples. She has served in an advisory capacity and as a mentor on issues related to inclusion and education for Indigenous peoples and currently serves on the Advisory Board for Indigi-X and the Finance and Audit Committee for the BC Rugby Union, and is a former director of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank and Vancouver Native Housing Society.

Patricia is a proud urban Cree-Métis Saulteaux woman from Treaty 4 territory. She is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of British Columbia.

Patricia is grateful to make her home in Vancouver as a guest on the unceded, ancestral, and sacred territory of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples.

Email
604-684-0223 Ext 9

Ileah Mattice

Ileah Mattice

Communications Coordinator

As the Communications Coordinator, Ileah works to support Coast Funds in engaging with communities, knowledge sharing, and highlighting First Nations’ success stories. She will work with the Communications Manager to highlight First Nations’ achievements in stewardship and economic development throughout the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii.

Before joining Coast Funds, Ileah worked as a Communications Assistant for the Haida Enterprise Corporation (HaiCo) on Haida Gwaii, supporting the efforts of HaiCo and its Group of Companies: Haida Tourism, Taan Forest, and Haida Wild. She brings seven years of experience with Indigenous governance and corporate communications, including her work with the Council of the Haida Nation and HaiCo, where she developed valuable multimedia and relationship-building skills.

Born in California, Ileah spent part of her childhood in the United States and Alberta while her father served in the Canadian Forces and US Army. Now residing in Haida Gwaii, Ileah supports community projects such as web and graphic design for language houses, health centers, governance, and renewable energy. In her down time, Ileah enjoys being active with her dogs and tending to her plants.

Email
604 684 0223 ext. 13

Audrey Popa

Conservation Finance Specialist

As the Conservation Finance Specialist, Audrey works closely with communities to bring new investment to stewardship authorities, Guardian programs, and conservation programs. Prior to Coast Funds, Audrey was a graduate student at the University of Victoria in the Environmental Studies department where she studied the landscape of conservation financing for Indigenous stewardship in Canada. Audrey holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of British Columbia and has dedicated her early career to environmental justice and economic equity, across areas of research, social finance, and creative storytelling.

Audrey is grateful for the opportunity to bring her skills and experience to Coast Funds, in a role that aims to serve and support First Nations in their stewardship objectives. She currently lives and is a guest on the traditional territory of the Anishinabek, Huron-Wendat, Haudensosaunee, Ojibway/Chippewa peoples, and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Away from work, Audrey enjoys reading, running, and being outdoors.

Email

Airlea (Arifa) Rasul

Airlea Rasul

Stewardship Funding Coordinator

As the Stewardship Funding Coordinator, Airlea works with senior management and First Nations stewardship staff to coordinate the development, implementation, and ongoing administration of funding from the Coast Conservation Endowment Fund Foundation. This includes investment into stewardship authorities, Guardian programs, and conservation projects. Airlea supports the Director of Stewardship Funding by assisting applicants, advising on the development of work plans, and performing due diligence on proposals as well as progress and final reports. Airlea also leads in researching Indigenous grant opportunities.

Airlea attended Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) and graduated with distinction from the Environment and Urban Sustainability Honours program. Airlea’s interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree was focused on ecological biology, urban sustainability, law, and environmental geography. With previous experience in environmental and social organizations, Airlea served as the President of Regenesis, a TMU grassroots chapter that supports environmental, social, and community needs through CycleTMU, the Mutual Market, the Free Store, and other student-focused initiatives. Airlea has experience with organizations such as Parks Canada, where she served as a Policy Officer, and has a keen interest in Indigenous conservation within coastal and marine environments.

She is grateful for the opportunity to support Indigenous environmental stewardship and spends much of her time researching ways to implement environmental protection within marine environments. With a passion for oceanic microorganisms, Airlea believes supporting and collaborating with Indigenous partners is the key to protecting precious ecosystems in Canada.

Email
604-684-0223 Ext 8

Lydia Liew

Senior Financial Accountant

As Senior Financial Accountant, Lydia is responsible for effective and accurate accounting to support the entire team as they work with First Nations to invest funds in conservation and sustainable development throughout the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii.

Lydia has eleven years of accounting experience in the not-for-profit sector. Prior to joining Coast Funds, she worked for the YMCA of Greater Vancouver to strengthen local communities. Lydia has a diploma in business administration with a focus in accounting. She enjoys continuing to support BC communities in her role at Coast Funds.

Email
604-684-0223 Ext 6

Rami Agha

Rami Agha

Financial Project Accountant

As Financial Project Accountant, Rami works with the Coast Funds and Marine Planning Partnership (MaPP) teams to manage the financial aspects of initiatives supporting First Nations’ marine planning and stewardship work in the Great Bear Sea. In this role, he works closely with MaPP team members and partners on project accounting, financial management and financial reporting.

Prior to joining Coast Funds, Rami spent several years working with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the British Columbia Financial Services Authority. Away from work, Rami enjoys long walks in the outdoors and listening to podcasts.

Email
604-684-0223 Ext 12

Coast Funds' Board of Directors is responsible for governance of the conservation and economic development funds, reporting to the Members.

The Board has specific obligations set out in the governing documents of the organization, in particular, the Conservation and Investments Incentives Agreement (CIIA). Under that agreement, the Board must:

  • Publish an annual Strategic Plan spanning a three-year cycle;
  • Ensure compliance with the requirements of CIIA; and
  • Review and make decisions on whether to approve funding applications.

The Board carefully considers economic and environmental factors when approving funds for investment into projects and programs. The Board also ensures compliance with governance policies and ensures that new Directors meet the requirements of a competency matrix.

Dallas Smith

Board Chair

Dallas has roots from all four corners of the Kwak̓wala speaking peoples with his mother coming from Haxwa’mis (Wakeman Sound) and Tsakis (Fort Rupert) and his father coming from G̱wayasdums (Gilford Island) and Qalagwees (Tourner Island). He’s spent the majority of his career working to bring greater human well-being and capacity to the Nations of the Great Bear Rainforest (GBR). As one of the architects of the GBR agreements and as the Founder and President of Na̲nwak̲olas Council he has built positive working relationships with all levels of government, industry, and the philanthropic community to find balance between conservation and sustainable economic development. His pragmatic and straight forward style has made him a welcome addition to many boards and committees and even led to him running as a candidate in the 2017 provincial election in the North Island riding. He lives in Duncan with his wife Toni and three beautiful daughters.

Sage Berryman

Sage is the founder of the Prosperity Pollinator movement helping to bring impact-based businesses into the areas that need them the most. Before becoming an entrepreneur she was the West Coast General Manager and Senior Managing Director with a global management consulting company called FTI Consulting working in San Francisco. Through her career she has worked with a number of high growth companies where she led multiple successful business and strategic planning initiatives, private and public financings, and sales and marketing programs. Sage holds an M.B.A. in international business from Queen’s University. She serves on three corporate boards and is an active mentor and advisor for numerous entrepreneurs and their businesses.

Tamara Davidson

Laanas (Tamara Davidson)

Tamara is a member of the Haida Nation and proudly serves as a Vancouver Regional Representative for the Council of the Haida Nation. She has worked in the federal public service for more than 25 years in the areas of land stewardship, strategic planning, community planning, visitor experience, and policy development, working with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Indigenous Services Canada, and Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Reserve and Haida Heritage Site.

Previously, Tamara served as the co-chair for the Haida Gwaii/QCI Land Use Planning Process on behalf of the Council of the Haida Nation. Through her work in planning and policy development, she developed strong facilitation skills and a collaborative approach to conflict resolution. Tamara served on various boards over the years such as the First Peoples Heritage, Language, and Culture Council; the First People’s Foundation; and the Haida Enterprise Corporation. Currently, she serves as Secretary of the Board for the Rediscovery Haida Gwaii Society. Tamara has also worked in property management for four years and managed more than 25 commercial/residential strata buildings in and around Vancouver.

Garth Davis

Garth is a Managing Partner of New Market Funds and has spent more than 25 years in capital deployment. He has leadership experience in impact investing (Vancity Community Capital), private equity (Turtle Creek and Scotia Merchant Capital), and corporate and leveraged finance (Scotia Capital). He has a Master of Arts in International Economics from the Paul H. Nitze School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, a Master of Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Bachelor of Arts from Simon Fraser University.

David Egan

David is a recently retired Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers, a major accounting firm, where he worked for over 25 years as a financial advisor and management consultant specializing in financial and market analysis, strategic planning and business decision support.

David has had a strong focus on public sector infrastructure and has worked on large scale complex procurements involving project financing. He has also worked on outsourcing programs and been involved in federal and provincial Treasury Board submissions to obtain program funding approvals.

David’s experience includes working extensively in the transportation, energy and resource sectors in BC including with several First Nations. He brings a depth of experience in financial and market analysis and business decision support and is a Chartered Accountant, and a Chartered Professional Accountant.

megan moody

Ts'xwiixw (Megan Moody)

Megan, a citizen of the Nuxalk Nation, was born and raised in the village of Bella Coola, near the original settlement of Q’umk’uts’. After completing her B.Sc. (biology) at the University of Victoria, she worked as the Nuxalk Fisheries Manager and later, after completing her M.Sc. from the University of British Columbia’s Fisheries Center, as the Nuxalk Stewardship Director. Currently, she works more broadly with First Nations communities as a trustee for the Coastal Nations Fisheries Trust and as the wild salmon program manager for Coastal First Nations – Great Bear Initiative. Her passion continues to be eulachon restoration and protection and advancing indigenous authority and territorial stewardship.

Chris Trumpy

Chris Trumpy

Chris spent more than 30 years in the BC public service. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and, while working for the provincial government, served as Deputy Minister of the Ministries of Finance and Corporate Relations; Provincial Revenue; Sustainable Resource Management; and Environment. He has also served on a number of for-profit and not-for-profit boards since his retirement from the public service and undertaken a number of public policy consulting projects.

Angela Wesley

Angela is a citizen of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations (Nuu-chah-nulth) and has been principal in Wes-Can Advisory Services since 1992. Over the past 30 years, she has worked extensively within her own community and with First Nations communities throughout BC providing advisory and facilitation services in the areas of strategic planning, community development, communications, community engagement, and governance capacity building.

She has been one of the champions in her Nation’s self-governance journey, having been involved throughout all stages of negotiation, ratification and now implementation of the Maa-nulth First Nations treaty, the first multi-nation modern day treaty under the BC Treaty Commission process. She represents all 5 signatories to the treaty as their representative on the tripartite Treaty Implementation Committee.
Currently serving as a Director on the Boards of the Land Title and Survey Authority of BC and Technical Safety BC, she also served for 9 years as Board Chair/President for the HFN Group of Businesses (forestry, fisheries, gravel, hospitality, lands, management limited partnerships) and has been a Director on a number of other boards including the New Relationship Trust, the Royal British Columbia Museum and the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology where she also served as Chair.

Angela is actively involved in international discussions on indigenous governance and leadership and has been serving as a Commissioner on the British Columbia Treaty Commission since 2018.

Coast Funds is a globally recognized model of permanent conservation financing that invests to strengthen the well-being of First Nations.

In recent years, conservation practices have increasingly adopted business-based approaches. Among these is the use of project-finance techniques to mobilize the resources, institutional commitments, and other conditions needed for successful long-term conservation.

The fundraising and negotiations that resulted in the creation of Coast Funds are globally recognized as an example of Project Finance for Permanence (PFP). The aim of PFP is to help establish the conditions required to secure the ecological, financial, organizational, political, and social sustainability of globally important places. The PFP process often takes many years and a high-level of collaboration between disparate partners, but provides a durable foundation for long-term landscape-level conservation success.

The efforts to establish Coast Funds introduced full-cost fundraising and a single financial closing to the PFP model. The project also took a comprehensive view of stakeholder support and organized efforts from each party. For example, Tides Canada led the key stages of the PFP process, including the financial closing and fundraising in Canada, while The Nature Conservancy led the private fundraising effort in the United States.  These are examples of the many important roles played by different parties, including First Nations, NGOs, funders, and industry groups. The involvement of such a wide range of stakeholders is an important feature of the establishment of Coast Funds.

More information on the history of the strategic land use plan agreements, collaboration between stakeholders, and the creation of Coast Funds is available on the History of the Great Bear Rainforest page.

Project Finance for Permanence Resources

Linden Trust, Moore Foundation, and Redstone Strategy Group:
Lessons from Landscape-scale Conservation Deals, 2011
Assessments of three landscape-scale conservation deals, 2011

Stanford Social Innovation Review:
“A Big Deal for Conservation”, 2012

World Wildlife Fund:
Project Finance for Permanence: Key Outcomes and Lessons Learned, 2015

World Bank, World Wildlife Fund:
Securing Sustainable Financing for Conservation Areas: A Guide to Project Finance for Permanence, 2021

Funders

Initially capitalized with $118 million provided by six private foundations, the Province of British Columbia, and the Government of Canada, Coast Funds is comprised of two separate organizations.

Members

Coast Funds’ Members (defined in the Conservation Investments and Incentives Agreement – see Our Mandate) represent the interests of the original funders and the eligible First Nations communities.

The Members convene once a year at an annual general meeting of the Foundation and Society.

Chris Roberts

Member on behalf of Na̲nwak̲olas Council

K̓áwáziɫ Marilyn Slett

Member on behalf of Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance

Jennifer Melles

Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Indigenous Relations & Reconciliation

Sarah Fraser

Assistant Deputy Minister, Coast Area, Ministry of Forests

Jenny Brown

Director of Conservation Programs, Nature United (non-voting)

Lisa Hageman

Gaw Tlagée (Old Masset) Regional Representative, Haida Nation

Bruce Watkinson

Executive Director, North Coast Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society