The board of the Abbotsford Community Foundation (ACF) has announced that Areni Kelleppan has been named its new executive director, effective Jan. 2.
Kelleppan will replace retiring executive director Wendy Neufeld after six years at the helm.
She has already started her employment at the ACF and will work with staff and Neufeld over the next few weeks to facilitate the leadership transition.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Kelleppan has worked in both for-profit and non-profit organizations throughout the Lower Mainland, the Okanagan, the Edmonton area and Calgary.
For more than two decades, she has been a leader in a range of sectors including lumber and building materials, the environment, agriculture, food security and, most recently, gender-based violence and mental health.
Having recently re-located, she said she is excited to immerse herself in all things Abbotsford and share in the vibrancy of the local community.
“I believe that Areni has the energy and competence to not only steward the substantial resources that donors have already entrusted to the ACF, but also that she will be able to inspire others to invest in causes that will have a positive impact within Abbotsford going forward,” said ACF board chair Mark Janzen.
An event was held Nov. 22 to celebrate the many accomplishments Neufeld has achieved throughout her time at the ACF.
Founding donor Vivian Trethewey was among Neufeld’s family, friends, ACF volunteers, donors and community leaders in attendance.
Former mayor Henry Braun, along with Carson Noftle, Michael Adkins, Terry Voth and past board chair Andrea Senft, affirmed the contributions that Neufeld has made to the community in their respective comments to the guests.
“It was a privilege to have had this opportunity to serve the Abbotsford community,” Neufeld said. “These past six years, I have seen the hard work of our amazing volunteers and staff contribute to the growth and impact of the ACF. Assisting our donors to connect with the causes they care about through their gifts to the foundation has been one of the highlights for me.”
Since its inception in 1979, the ACF has invested more than $17 million in student awards to high school grads and funding to local charities.
Annually, the foundation provides more than $1 million in grants and student awards. Recently, its total endowments reached the $17 million mark.
Visit abbotsfordcf.org for information on how to support the ACF or to read the annual report.