Staff

Luanne Firestone, Executive Director

Annalyse Paulsen, Community Engagement Coordinator, AmeriCorps VISTA

Annalyse Paulsen, Community Engagement Coordinator, AmeriCorps VISTA

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Lu grew up here in Buffalo and left to pursue her undergraduate education at Georgetown University in D.C.  Following that, she spent several years in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps on the Colville Reservation in Omak, Washington before continuing on to earn her M.A. from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.  Lu returned to Buffalo and spent 12 years as a campus minister at Canisius College before becoming the Executive Director of Family Promise of WNY.  She is motivated each and every day by the children and parents FPWNY serves to make this program better.  She lives with her husband and two children on the West Side of Buffalo.

Annalyse Paulsen, Community Engagement Coordinator, AmeriCorps VISTA

Annalyse Paulsen, Community Engagement Coordinator, AmeriCorps VISTA

Annalyse Paulsen, Community Engagement Coordinator, AmeriCorps VISTA

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Annalyse is a recent grad from Canisius College where she studied Psychology and Environmental Studies. Throughout her time at school one of her biggest motivations was deepening community. Her love for people and inclusion is what brought her to Family Promise. She is looking forward to connecting to her local community and being a small part of an important cause. 

Board of Trustees Officers

J. Christian Hoffman: President

C.J. Van Note, C.P.A.: Treasurer

J. Christian Hoffman: President

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Christian Hoffman is the Director of Communication at Community Missions in Niagara County, the largest private provider of basic human needs and of mental health services in the area. Since joining the Mission in February 2013, Mr. Hoffman has garnered unprecedented media coverage for the agency, launched several new initiatives, and helped secure hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant funding.  He resides in Cheektowaga with his wife, Toni, and two children, Elliana (6) and Jack (3). He has served on the Board of Family Promise of WNY since 2014. 

Kelli Cavo: Vice President

C.J. Van Note, C.P.A.: Treasurer

J. Christian Hoffman: President

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Kelli Cavo currently works at Via Evaluation which provides grant writing and program evaluation services in Buffalo.  She has a background in Human Resources and Fund Development and has held Director of Development jobs at the WNY Women's Foundation and Gerard Place.

C.J. Van Note, C.P.A.: Treasurer

C.J. Van Note, C.P.A.: Treasurer

Kristen Luppino-Gholston, LMSW: Secretary

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CJ Van Note is a Manager with BS&P CPA’s and Consultants working in all areas of taxation. CJ has been in the tax industry since she graduated from Niagara University with her MBA in 2012. CJ is passionate about helping the people in the City of Buffalo in any way she can including serving as treasurer of Family Promise of WNY.  CJ used to serve on the board of Dog Ears Bookstore and Café and volunteers with many organizations through her firm.  CJ has been on the board of Family Promise since November of 2015 and currently resides in Lake View with her husband.  

Kristen Luppino-Gholston, LMSW: Secretary

Kristen Luppino-Gholston, LMSW: Secretary

Kristen Luppino-Gholston, LMSW: Secretary

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Kristen Luppino-Gholston is the Director of the Saffrin Center for Sustainability and Civic Engagement at Daemen College. Prior to moving to Daemen, she was at the WNY Women’s Foundation, Catholic Charities WIC, and Child and Family Services Haven House.  She has been working with and for the women of Western New York for nearly 15 years. A community social worker by training, Kristen does macro-level work to promote safe and healthy WNY communities by building collaborations, increasing opportunities, educating, researching, and promoting justice. Kristen is a member of the SUNY at Buffalo Chapter of the Rho Kappa Social Work Honors Society and was named one of Buffalo Business First’s “40 Under 40” in 2017.  

Stephen Blass: President Elect

Kristen Luppino-Gholston, LMSW: Secretary

Stephen Blass: President Elect

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Steve Blass is a Field Agent for New York Life where he sells Life Insurance. Annuities, Long Term Care Insurance, and Disability Insurance. Steve has a Bachelors of Science in Childhood and Special Education from Daemen College and a Masters of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Medaille College. Steve brings fundraising and development skills and knowledge from previous work experiences to the board. Steve has been helping Family Promise of WNY since 2014 and on the Board since 2017. 

Board of Trustees Members

Michael Lynch, LMSW

Marissa Desiderio, LCSW

Michael Lynch, LMSW

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 Michael Lynch, LMSW, is an assistant clinical professor for field education at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work. Lynch works with the field department connecting students to meaningful agency placements. He has spent a number of years working with the field department in various capacities, including as a faculty liaison and a field educator. Additionally, he brings experience working in a variety of social work settings including urban education, program development, child welfare and community collaborations.   Michael lives on the west side of Buffalo with his wife, Meghan, and his son, Hugo. Michael has a strong commitment to social justice and equity and pursued helping at Family Promise after hearing about their mission and the impact the work is having on the community. 

Jamie Owens

Marissa Desiderio, LCSW

Michael Lynch, LMSW

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Jamie Owens is self-employed in handyman and horticultural services and also serves as a construction manager for Fuller Center Disaster Relief. Jamie is an ordained elder in Presbyterian USA and a member of Orchard Park Presbyterian Church . Jamie hopes to be an asset to Family Promise drawing from his experience in construction, facility management and property maintenance. Jamie lives in Orchard Park with his wife Susana and their four dalmatians . 

Marissa Desiderio, LCSW

Marissa Desiderio, LCSW

Marissa Desiderio, LCSW

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Marissa Desiderio is the Program Manager of Case Management Services with Child & Family Services of Erie County. Prior to Child & Family Services, Marissa was a Supervisor with Say Yes to Education Buffalo and Catholic Charities. She has been working with children and families for over 15 years in various capacities. Marissa is also a clinical social worker who maintains a small private practice. 

Courtney Sullivan

Katherine Dibble, Esq.

Marissa Desiderio, LCSW

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Courtney Sullivan holds the position of Leadership Giving Officer at Canisius College where she connects alumni and friends of Canisius with philanthropic and engagement opportunities with the college. She graduated from Medaille College with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and received her Master of Science in Communication and Leadership with a concentration in Non Profit Management from Canisius College.   

Keith Preston, CPA

Katherine Dibble, Esq.

Katherine Dibble, Esq.

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 Keith Preston is a certified public accountant (CPA) in New York State specializing in providing audit and attestation services to small and medium sized businesses particularly in the manufacturing and construction industries.  He also audits a wide variety of employee benefit plans for private and public companies. Prior to auditing, Keith worked in small business consulting and taxation and specialized in providing tax preparation, attestation, and consulting services to a variety of closely held private companies and individuals.  In his spare time he enjoys reading, music, hiking and being outdoors, and spending time with friends and family.  

Katherine Dibble, Esq.

Katherine Dibble, Esq.

Katherine Dibble, Esq.

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Katherine Dibble is a Pro Bono Staff Attorney at ECBA Volunteer Lawyer's Project, Inc.  Her interest in joining the Board of Family Promise stems from both her personal and professional life.  As an attorney, she has had the opportunity to be on all sides of difficult situations, and has had to counsel people through some of the most trying parts of their lives.  In these moments, she has realized how important it is to have robust support systems in place to help anyone and everyone who needs a hand.  As a life long Buffalonian, she could not be more proud to be part of a community that fosters places like Family Promise and protects the most vulnerable people in their most vulnerable moments.  She finds having some small role in assisting in the mission of Family Promise to be a privilege.

Advisory Board Members

  • Anthony Buttino - former Board President
  • Frank Cammarata - Executive Director, Erie County Office for People with Disabilities
  • Jim Connolly - Communications Advisor
  • Pat Crowley - Special Events Advisor
  • Marcus Deveso -  Assistant Director, Director of Academic Programming, Buffalo Prep
  • Zeneta Everhart - NYS Senate Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Senator Tim Kennedy's Office
  • Kathy and Bob Hayes -  Community Coordinators, Saint Vincent De Paul Catholic Church
  • Althea Luehrsen - CEO, Leadership Buffalo, Inc.
  • Rev. Joan Montagnes - Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo
  • Cynthia Munschauer - Director of Development, Sisters of Saint Francis
  • Remla Parthasarathy, J.D. -  Project Leader, Crime Victims Legal Network
  • Diane Picard - Executive Director, Massachusetts Avenue Project
  • Dr. Rolonda Ward - Director,  Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equity and Mission, Niagara University
  • Pat Whalen - Director,  Niagara Global Tourism Institute
  • David Zapfel - President/CEO, Gerard Place

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