FPWNY Team and Board of Trustees

Luanne Firestone, Executive Director

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 lives with her husband and two children on the West Side of Buffalo.

Denise Morse, Case Manager

Graduate of D'Youville College with a B.S. in Business Administration. Denise’s diverse background includes experience in both the municipal and private sectors, however, she found her niche working in Human Services. Denise worked for Preventive Services within the Department ofSocial Services, providing assistance to families at risk of losing theirchildren to Foster Care. She also spent six years with the Buffalo Board of Education as a Substitute Teacher for grades P-K through 12. She then went on to work for the Erie County Department of Youth Services as a Youth Detention Worker. Denise currently serves as the Case Manager of FPWNY, helping families experiencing homelessness regain stability. 

Iris Applewhite, House Manager

Iris Applewhite grew up in Buffalo, New York before moving to Mississippi where she ran into Hurricane Katrina.  Katrina is the only woman in the world that Iris is afraid of.   Iris lived in Nashville for a few years where she outran a tornado.  She decided to move home to Buffalo.  Iris worked in medical insurance billing coding.  She enjoys making people laugh.  She now is at Family Promise as our House Manager and Office Assistant. She loves what she's doing and keeps us organized!  In fact, keeping things in order is a thing for Iris.

Grace Lindsey, Volunteer Manager, AmeriCorps VISTA member

Grace is from the Appalachian valley of Roanoke, Virginia and moved to Buffalo to study biology and English at Canisius College. Inspired by her Jesuit Education to "stand with and for others," Grace is serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA and working as the volunteer coordinator at Family Promise. She believes in the power of giving back to a community - especially a community which she has been fortunate to call home. Grace loves to learnm watch documentaries, read and be outdoors. Hiking trails, walks in the park, swimming, and kayaking are a few ways she likes to soak up the sunshine. Grace is always happy to meet new people and explore new ideas, so feel free to stop by and chat. 

Board President: J. Christian Hoffman

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. 

Board Treasurer: CJ Van Note, CPA

CJ Van Note is an In-Charge Senior 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, serving on the board of Dog Ears Bookstore and Café located in South Buffalo and volunteering 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. 

Vice President: Stanley "Lee" Evans, Esq.


Lee Evans is an Attorney at Gerber Ciano Kelly Brady, LLP where he practices workers’ compensation defense law. Lee received his J.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo’s School of Law, and his B.A. in Political Science and Government and Art History from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. He has served on the Board of Trustees for Family Promise of WNY since 2012.

Board Member: Kristen Luppino-Gholston, LMSW

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.  

Board Member: Clay Waterman, Esq.

Clay is an attorney at Gerber Ciano Kelly Brady, LLP and as part of the firm’s Insurance Solutions Practice Group he concentrates principally on insurance coverage analysis and litigation. He has also handles various civil and commercial matters ranging from car accident injuries to multi-million dollar commercial disputes. Drawing from a background involving environmental, criminal and personal injury law, Clay brings an adaptable approach to insurance and general litigation matters. Clay grew up in Rochester, New York and has resided in Buffalo for the past 11 years. He was previously involved in fundraising for inner city schools and wants to focus on helping Family Promise of Western New York grow and help as many families as possible. 

Board Member: Michael Lynch, LMSW

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. 

Board Member: Kandy Krampitz

Kandy is an accomplished instructor of Meditation, Classic Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, and Restorative Yoga, and has designed specialized yoga programs for seniors and those suffering from Arthritis and Osteoarthritis.  Kandy is an instructor at the Himalayan Institute, Canterbury Woods Retirement Community, Maryvale Community Education and previously an adjunct yoga instructor at the University at Buffalo. Kandy embodies yoga philosophy throughout her daily life and is a passionate animal advocate, naturalist, and volunteer for numerous area non-profits including BuffaloNiagara Waterkeepers, Friends of Night People, Family Promise and Second Chance Boxer Rescue. Kandy is a member of Crossroads Lutheran Church  and a church council member for three years.    

Board Member: Stephen Blass