Meet the team
Mike Thorne originally volunteered with the Disabled Sailing Association of BC as a companion sailor in 1997 and has been on the Disability Foundation Board for the past 10 years, stepping up to the role of Chair four years ago. He is passionate about the positive impact the affiliated Societies provide to directly improve the quality of life for people with physical disabilities. He envisions for the Foundation to grow its ability to help support and sustain the programs delivered by the affiliated Societies.
Mel Gardner has been on the Disability Foundation Board for the past 8 years. He is both humbled and inspired by the community impact of the various affiliated societies, which he has engaged with through various events. Mel is proud to be a part of the Foundation and believes the best is yet to come as the Foundation and affiliated Societies continue to develop its core community services while finding new ways to provide positive impact for people with physical disabilities.
Brett Kohli is the CFO at Peace Arch Hospital Foundation and has been on the Foundation Board since 2018. He has been instrumental in helping to manage the upgrading of the financial reporting/operations of the Foundation and affiliated Societies. He hopes to see the Foundation emerge as a financially healthy charity with a robust fundraising program, good governance and more streamlined structure.
Maureen's first contact with the Disability Foundation was through volunteering to re-establish the boat donation program at DSA. She soon connected with other affiliated Societies, traversing rough forest trails with BCMOS, enjoying growing fruits and vegetables with DIGA participants, and grooving to the VAMS performers. Maureen brings to the Board her entrepreneurial experience and people skills, honed as an independent realtor and interior designer, and the alignment of her personal values with the Disability Foundation's mission and vision.
Member at Large
Peter Jefferson helped found the disabled sailing program through his support as Commodore of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club for the members to purchase and donate a Sunbird for its fleet. Over time, and through his continued support of Sam Sullivan and hosting events to raise funds and increase awareness about the need to improve accessibility, the Foundation (originally known as the Reach Disabiilty Foundation) was formalized and founded in 1996. He was Board Chair of the Foundation until 2014 and continues to be committed to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.
Member at Large
Amney Amery is a media veteran in Vancouver. First in print media with the tourist publication Vancouver Guidelines, Amney moved into radio with CISL 650 before joining the powerhouse of Vancouver TV, BCTV. She has witnessed and experienced all the ownership changes that has characterized the media industry and retired from Global TV/Corus Entertainment in 2016. Throughout her career, Amney deservedly earned a reputation as one of the most respected client resources on the media advertising scene. She has served on various boards over the years, ranging from ABCOM, Vancouver AM Tourist Services Association and the Vancouver Youth Theatre. She has been on the Disability Foundation Board since 2018.
Non-voting honorary member
Our founder, Sam Sullivan, wanted to rebuild his life following a high-level spinal cord injury. Over a 20-year period, Sam established seven non-profit groups offering opportunities to people with physical disabilities in Vancouver and across Canada. Sam found that his greatest strength was in bringing people together to create self-maintaining groups: people with disabilities who want to be more engaged, and volunteers and other supporters who want to make a difference.
And that’s what the Disability Foundation does to this day – supporting programs and services that provide opportunities for assistance, activities and social engagement for people with physical disabilities to empower their individual journey.