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Coast Funds Welcomes New Team Members

photos of four new team members: Rami, Ileah, Audrey, and Airlea

Coast Funds is expanding its team in alignment with our goals to serve First Nations in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii. With additional staff capacity, we’re preparing for new partnerships in the Great Bear Sea, broadening our storytelling and knowledge sharing, and enhancing our support for First Nations’ fundraising efforts.

In the last month, we welcomed Rami Agha (Financial Project Accountant) and Ileah Mattice (Communications Coordinator) to our team. We’d also like to introduce Audrey Popa (Conservation Finance Specialist) and Airlea Rasul (Stewardship Funding Coordinator), who joined our team in 2023 and have been working closely with First Nations to support their access to funding for conservation and stewardship. Each new team member brings unique skills, experiences, and perspectives to Coast Funds’ efforts in support of First Nations’ stewardship, conservation, and economic priorities.

“I am thrilled to welcome new staff members to our team,” says Eddy Adra, Coast Funds CEO. “With their support, we’re continuing to strengthen our commitment to support First Nations centered in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii in achieving their ambitious stewardship and economic development goals.”

Meet our new team members below.

Rami Agha, Financial Project Accountant

Rami Agha

As Financial Project Accountant, Rami works with the Coast Funds and Marine Planning Partnership (MaPP) teams to manage the financial administration of an initiative supporting First Nations’ marine planning and stewardship 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.

“Through the Marine Planning Partnership (MaPP), First Nations have led the way on marine planning that supports communities and ecosystems,” Rami says. “Amazing work is being done on the North Pacific Coast. I’m excited to learn more and contribute to the next phase of this work.”

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 and listening to podcasts.

Ileah Mattice, Communications Coordinator

Ileah Mattice

Ileah works with the communications team to highlight First Nations’ achievements in stewardship and economic development in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii. As the Communications Coordinator, Ileah helps amplify First Nations’ goals for healthy communities and coastal ecosystems.

“By amplifying First Nations’ voices we can draw attention to their self-determination while promoting their initiatives, and do so meaningfully,” says Ileah. “I am excited to support and highlight more First Nations’ projects, respectfully share their stories, and build relationships with people on the coast.”

Before joining the team, Ileah worked as a Communications Assistant for the Haida Enterprise Corporation (HaiCo) in Gaw Tlagée Old Massett. She brings seven years of experience in Indigenous communications, including work at the Council of the Haida Nation and HaiCo’s group of companies: Haida Tourism, Taan Forest, and Haida Wild. In her off-time, Ileah supports community multimedia projects and enjoys the company of her pets, flying drones, and tending to her plants.

Last year, we welcomed Airlea and Audrey to Coast Funds, increasing our capacity to support First Nations’ stewardship, conservation, and fundraising goals.

Audrey Popa, Conservation Finance Specialist

Audrey works closely with First Nations leadership and Coast Funds’ Director of Development to create their fundraising strategies that support Nations’ stewardship visions. As the Conservation Finance Specialist, she acts as a key resource for First Nations, offering knowledge sharing, expertise, and curating the latest research and opportunities in conservation finance.

“Stable, self-determined conservation financing supports First Nations to govern and steward their territories, in line with traditional laws and knowledge systems,” Audrey says. “I’m excited to work at an organization which recognizes First Nations’ inherent rights, and works to support not only stewardship, but also economic development across these territories.”

Before joining Coast Funds, Audrey worked in the social finance sector, supporting philanthropic, higher education, and non-profit organizations. Outside of her work for Coast Funds, Audrey is a National Geographic Explorer and enjoys running, hiking, and filmmaking. She’s also an avid reader.

Airlea Rasul, Stewardship Funding Coordinator

Airlea (Arifa) RasulAs the Stewardship Funding Coordinator, Airlea works closely with the Director of Stewardship Funding to support First Nations to secure funding for their stewardship, Guardian, and conservation programs. In her role, Airlea supports First Nations and Coast Funds colleagues with funding applications, grant research, project reporting, and other initiatives.

Airlea has a degree in Environmental and Urban Sustainability from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University), and prior to Coast Funds, held roles at Parks Canada and the Toronto Nature Stewards.

“Throughout my career, I’ve maintained a strong interest in Indigenous conservation, with a particular focus on understanding more about First Nations leadership in environmental conservation,” she says. “I am drawn to the protection of vital ecosystems through Indigenous-led conservation finance and excited to have the opportunity to contribute to a more holistic model of environmental conservation that’s rooted in stewardship and care.”

Airlea is the founder of Terra Elysium, a community-based organization which runs workshops, educational initiatives, and beach clean-ups in Toronto, and volunteers at the Royal Ontario Museum. She also enjoys writing and painting.

Meet our team >