Many people don’t know that the Kinsmen Foundation (and TeleMiracle) have an office that is staffed year round.
If this organization is a 3-legged stool (Kin Canada/Kinsmen Foundation/TeleMiracle) than the office staff are like the seat that links the 3 legs together. (Click on the links below to learn more about each section.)
Kin Canada is the governing body to which all Kinsmen, Kinettes and Kin clubs (Kin) in the province belong to. The Kinsmen Foundation and the TeleMiracle telethon were started by club members. Almost five decades later, the Kin are still the ones who sit on the TeleMiracle Committee (Committee), make up the majority of the workforce during the telethon, and sit on the Kinsmen Foundation Board of Directors (Board). They are all volunteers.
Kinsmen Foundation Inc. (Foundation) is the charity, the registered entity. Its Board meets nine times per year and decides where the money raised through TeleMiracle will go (not responsible for the home lottery). Most Board members serve a two-year term, with a few exceptions. The Board rotates about half of its members each year.
TeleMiracle (a.k.a. Kinsmen TeleMiracle) is the fundraising event, the 20-hour telethon, through which all donations are received, all year round. The Committee also meets around nine times per year. Committee members also serve two-year terms, with the first year being their shadow year. The whole Committee rotates out every year.
But what do these mysterious office staff people do?
As a group, they provide the continuity from year to year and help ensure a smooth transition from one Board or Committee to the next. They are also the keepers of the archives.
Individually, they are responsible for the following:
Richard Kies, Executive Director
As the only man, working with five strong women, Richard has his work cut out for him, encouraging the ladies to think outside the box, while still colouring within the lines.
Reporting to the Kinsmen Foundation Board Executive, his primary responsibility is the overall business operations of the organization. He also manages advertising and marketing, Silver and up corporate sponsors, planned giving, etc.
He attends both TeleMiracle Committee meetings and Kinsmen Foundation Board meetings.
Wendi Cowles, Finance Co-ordinator
Wendi is the “money lady”.
All the donations that come in and all the grants that go out, she tracks. She also does payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and is the contact for the accountants who do our annual audit.
She oversees the Treasury area at TeleMiracle, the three temporary staff who work after the telethon to enter all the manual donations into the database, and all the volunteers who help package up the teddy bears to be mailed out. She alone issues the over 10,000 tax receipts.
She’s been working here for 25 years, so is a wealth of historical information for the other staff members.
Geneen Guinan, Senior Foundation Administrator
Geneen (pronounced Jeanine) is the first point of contact for all those wanting to apply to receive financial assistance, from the Foundation. She is also the primary support person for the Board.
She has a great big laugh, an even bigger heart, and LOVES being a gramma.
She makes sure that all the approximately 1,000 applications received each year are complete, before they get passed for the Board members to review. She takes minutes a the Board meetings, sends out notification letters after each Board meeting, answers questions from the Board members, and listens patiently to some of the most heart-breaking stories from the applicants, that you’ll ever hear.
She also covers for Lori when she is away.
Lori Klassen, Foundation Administrator
Lori (a.k.a. Lori-Anne) is the other half of the Foundation duo.
She is primarily responsible for processing the hundreds and hundreds of invoices and claim forms that come in from the funding recipients, so that Wendi can pay them.
She has the quickest wit in the office and keeps everyone laughing, especially Geneen.
Lori also covers for Geneen when she is away.
Everyone else in the office basically has busy times and quiet times, but Geneen and Lori go full speed all year long. Plus they are currently learning how to use our new Grant Management System, which replaced a Microsoft Access database that no longer met the needs of the organization.
Diane Brakefield, Administrative Assistant
Diane is the newest member of our team. Eager to learn and just as passionate about the cause, she is a great addition to the team.
As the first point of contact for the office, she helps out wherever she’s needed, but her main responsibilities include souvenir items, school kits, bookings for our mascot, Helping Hands, incoming/outgoing mail, and general inquires.
Brigitte April, TeleMiracle Administrative Assistant
Yes, April is indeed her LAST name.
Brigitte’s responsibilities are primarily TeleMiracle telethon related. Providing support to the Committee, taking minutes at the Committee meetings, etc.
Working along side the show Producers, she also takes care of booking the Saskatchewan Talent auditions, On-Air Presentations, Corporate Phone Panels, etc.
Throughout the year, she creates our website and social media content, with the exception of during TeleMiracle weekend, when a team of volunteers takes over those duties.
She has also fallen into the role of our in-house “tech. guru”, while we’ve been modernizing our procedures, implementing our strategic plan, and adapting to the pandemic. Lucky for us she speaks a little “tech” on top of being fluent in French (and English of course).
Now that you have a better idea of who does what, if you need assistance or have any questions or feedback, the easiest way to reach our staff members is by going to the Contact Us page of our website. https://telemiracle.com/
There you will find names with photos, job titles, a summary of their roles, phone numbers, email addresses, and the office’s mailing address.
We want to end by thanking our staff for the incredible work they do and the assistance they provide with our mission of “Helping People Every Day”.