Jennifer Schaeffers

Forty Under 40 winner 2014:  Executive director, CKNW Orphans’ Fund, Age 36

Even while working in the corporate world for such companies as Intrawest and Canucks Sports & Entertaiment, Jennifer Schaeffers was always involved in the non-profit sector, having first started volunteering when she was 15 years old.

Now, in her role as executive director of the CKNW Orphans’ Fund, she can devote even more of her time to making a difference in an area she feels passionate about.

And make a difference she does.

In 2013, Schaeffers’ third year with the organization, the fund raised more than $1.9 million – almost double the fund’s annual donations of around $1 million prior to her taking over.

This is particularly impressive given that she is the non-profit’s sole fundraiser.

Of the $1.9 million raised, $1.7 million went directly to special-needs children and other non-profit organizations.

The best part of her work and what keeps her motivated, Schaeffers said, is seeing exactly how the Orphans’ Fund benefits individual children.

“On a monthly basis, we turn around grants to a lot of vulnerable children in the province who are suffering from behavioural, physical and mental challenges,” she said.

“The work that we do can help benefit those children’s lives. Sometimes it’s a game-changer for them; sometimes it just eases the burden, financially, for their parents.”

Her achievements have not gone unnoticed. In 2014 she was granted a Telus Women of Promise Award, and she has been a finalist in the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards in the community building category and the Vancouver Board of Trade’s Spirit of Vancouver volunteerism award, among others. Her charity work does not end with her role at the CKNW Orphans’ Fund as she is still involved with many other groups. She has worked with several children’s charities, including Ronald McDonald House BC and the Canucks for Kids Fund.

She founded and is still actively working with the Steveston Moms Network, Women Leaders in Non-Profit and NetworkinginVan.com. She has also worked with the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, the Women’s Leadership Circle and the Vancouver Board of Trade Leaders of Tomorrow, just to name a few.

Outside of work, Schaeffers loves to spend time with her children, spin, walk her dog and read.