Our mission is to enable and inspire individuals to reach their greatest potential. Our goal is to empower them to be the author of their own story.
We are a lean operation run entirely by volunteers with minimal overhead expenses.

Whether your contribution is monetary, a labor of love, spiritual support, or in any other form, thank you for taking the time to learn more about us.

Our charity registration number is 80828 4442 RR 0001.

Meet our team at The Local Charity.

Laney Lui (she/her), Founder + Executive Director

I was inspired to start The Local Charity after having gone through many trials in my own life. Having experienced abuse and being estranged from my father, I can relate to those who have experienced despair and hopelessness. The journey has taught me how to be strong, how to be independent, how to forgive, and how to love.
I had also experienced being a single mother, and the journey had been challenging, but it has given me perspective on what it takes to overcome rough patches in life (though now I am happily re-married). I hope to contribute and inspire the folks I cross paths with towards living their best lives.
My parents have both exemplified qualities that contributed to my charity work. My mother modelled benevolence, and I’ve learned to be kind and grateful from her (I also acquired her sense of humour 😉 ). As an illegal immigrant, my father persevered through adversity and built an empire; I got my curiosity, strength, and entrepreneurial spirit from him.
For me, charity can be so impactful. The effort put in goes a long way in helping to improve lives. It’s often easy, usually inconvenient, but always necessary.

Muneeb Syed (he/him), IT Manager

I had always been interested in technology and computers growing up and decided to turn this interest into what I would pursue in terms of education and what I would go on to do as my career. I think what drew me to computers and working with them was the lack of conscience of making mistakes (which for whatever reason I seem to be highly predisposed to in all facets of my life). Most things can be fixed, most mistakes can easily be reversed, and any problems created can be worked around. But as I grew older, I started to realize that with the lack of these consequences came with a lack of benefit to society. Sure there was more risk in the work done by doctors, nurses, Firefighters, or engineers but when they were successful they saved lives, brought people together and made the world around them better for everyone. Seeing examples in my life of people that were able to do they daily jobs and directly help people in their trying times motivated me to try and find a way in which I could use my skills to help others.

I joined the Local Charity in 2015 in the hopes of finding a way to bridge the gap I felt in providing a benefit to society. I have seen in glimpses the benefit that The Local Charity can bring to people that are looking to better their lives and give them the opportunity to better their lives and grow. My hope is that with continued time we at The Local Charity can grow the impact we have and continue to provide greater and meaningful opportunities to less-privileged societies.

Bob Issa (he/him), Strategic Communications Director

I believe I owe it to society to contribute to the accessibility of people to Technology, and Education and empower them to develop the right skills so they can contribute to the development of their local economy. With a diverse global background both within corporate and agency environments, I have led integrated communications teams and agencies in charge of External/Internal Communications, Brand Development, Issues Management, Media/ Analyst Relations, Events & Direct Marketing.

Nader Ibrahim (he/him), Business Coordinator

Since high school, I’ve struggled with mental health, and it’s still something I’m learning to handle. In 2019 I had an episode of psychosis that changed me into who I am today, I’m not going to say it changed me for the better or worse, but it has impacted me. It made me realize that there are people who fight silent battles and that it’s not always possible to share your struggle with others. Whether it’s because of pride or shame, the struggle you face isn’t easy to share, but you can get assistance from others by sharing it. It doesn’t even have to be physical assistance. Even just knowing someone is there for you helps.

I’m trying to say that not everyone can openly share their battle, but it takes courage to share what you’re going through for those who do. I believe that everyone is on a journey to improve themselves, whether they know it or not, and I want to be a part of that journey, helping others find a way to live a life that they can be proud of.

Board of Directors

Laney Lui (she/her), Chair

Beth Dunford (she/her), Vice-Chair

I am honored to join the Local Charity Board of Directors, because supporting youth from challenging backgrounds to become the best version of themselves, is something that I believe will benefit not only the individual, but the larger community as well. Success comes in a variety of forms that is achieved through a myriad of mechanisms including education, networking and mentorship. The Local Charity is one such mechanism with both a growing capacity and steadfast intention to see the best possible outcomes for those they hope to support.

I have worked in IT, government and healthcare in both the private and public sectors for over 14 years. I hold an MBA from Edinburgh Business School, with a BA (Hons.) in Political Science and Religion from the University of Toronto. I also hold a Project Management Professional (PMP) designation and certificates in change management from Prosci, and in workplace mental health leadership from Queen’s University. Over the past several years, my focus has been on strategy, performance measurement and progress reporting. In my personal time, I have a young daughter and enjoy painting and fitness, and pre-COVID, I attended as much live theatre as possible.

Nitin Basandra (he/him), Treasurer
Excise Tax Auditor, Small and Medium Enterprises Directorate, Canada Revenue Agency

My vision is to build a community that is just and equitable. I envision our youth from all social demographics to have fair access to the resources, tools and knowledge that will strongly cater to their development as valuable individuals in our society and ignite an internal flame that will pave a bright future for them.

My passion to serve as a Board Member and Treasurer for the Local Charity stems from my own personal upbringing in a disadvantaged community and building the resilience to succeed in my personal and professional life. I believe the support of our youth who grew up in similar circumstances as mine is instrumental in their formative years. Having the right tools and guidance, such as education, mentorship, and mental health resources, makes the difference between choosing the right and wrong path and breaking the cycle of poverty.

By day, I work as an Excise Tax Auditor for the Canada Revenue Agency dealing with corporations from a wide range of industries. When I’m not working, I enjoy reading, traveling (pre covid!), working out, attempting new recipes in the kitchen and learning something new to add to my skill set.

Joseph Manner (he/him), Secretary
Principal, JDManner Consulting

I am excited to become a Board member of The Local Charity, an organization that looks to empower youth who, in particular, may be disadvantaged due to poverty, or other circumstances. I look forward to helping the organization grow through continuous improvement of its skills, education, coaching and resource offerings, and by delivering these to more clients, in collaboration with other organizations. Currently, I am the sole Principal of JDManner Consulting: providing strategic planning, business process improvement, performance measurement, risk management, procurement, and policy development analysis and advice to clients. I have been on the Board of the North York Harvest Food Bank, and the Toronto Ultimate Club.

Most of my career has been with the LCBO and the Ontario Public Service (OPS). As Director of Store Network Planning and Analysis at the LCBO, I directed business and capital planning, and market research and location analysis activities, making recommendations regarding new stores, store location, store sizing, and the development of new store formats.

Previous to that I have held various procurement management, retail consulting, and policy development positions with the Ontario government.

I’m a CPA CMA, and have a BBA from the Schulich School of Business, York University. In 2019 I completed the Not for Profit Governance Essentials Certificate program with the Institute of Corporate Directors.

I’m married, have two daughters, and enjoy travelling, hiking, and ultimate frisbee.

Blair Ryan (he/him), Board Member

When I’m asked to tell my ‘story,’ by default I go back to my first job out of University; I tell tales of companies I’ve started, products I’ve built, or money I’ve raised. That’s typically what people want to hear about. But the truth is my story starts much earlier, with a whole bunch of super-impactful people who believed in me way before I believed in myself.

My story starts with the substitute teacher who helped me get through math class in the 10th grade (and stayed late for weeks to help me learn how to high jump, no less!). It starts with the teacher I had in 5th and 6th grade who worked for two years to teach me discipline, and continues to cheer me on today. Or the doctor I met when I was 20 who looked me in the eye and made me promise her that I would never let my liver disease be an excuse. And so forth…

When I look at the work that we’re doing at The Local Charity, what I see is that we’re creating a space where youth can come and find the people who will play big roles in their stories; connecting them to the resources and knowledge they need to thrive.

I’m a 3x startup founder, MBA Lecturer, TEDx speaker, and Techstars mentor. I’ve spent the majority of my career in strategy, operations, product, and fundraising. The most rewarding work I’ve done to date is as the Founding CEO of the Empathy Factory; a charity built to teach empathy to Canada’s youth; I feel like my position on the board of The Local Charity will allow me to pick up where I left off – helping empower the next generation.

Past Board of Directors

  • Simon Fahy (he/him), Secretary, 2021
  • Rick Johal (he/him), Vice-Chair, 2022