MEET OUR STaff & BOard
meet our Staff & Board
Jess DaCunha serves Fostering Hope as administrative support staff. Originally from the City of Brotherly Love, Jess moved to Rhode Island for school in 2014 and quickly became invested in her church community and campus ministry.
Jess enjoys finding creative ways to care for those around her and help them to feel "seen." She feels grateful to have had exposure to the foster/adoptive care community through friendships with peers who had been adopted and families who provide different types of care to children in foster care. Jess is honored that so many children and families touched by foster care have shared their lives with her and allowed her to learn from them.
She and her husband Dan are parents to a joyful boy and this has solidified their conviction that every child deserves to feel the love and support of a family. In particular, they feel deeply for children who are at risk of "aging out" of the foster care system.
Jonathan Reid is the founder and director of Fostering Hope. A native New Englander, Jonathan and his wife Virginia began their foster care journey in 2004 when a precious little boy joined their family as a pre-adoptive placement. This experience radically transformed their perspective. Children in foster care were no longer an abstract, statistical category. They were real kids with real names, real faces, real stories and real needs. Each one was an individual person with dignity and value that was worthy of love. This compelled the Reids to continue to foster and adopt. Over the years, they have cared for 30 incredible children and six of them have become a permanent part of their family.
In the meantime, frustrated over the urgent shortage of foster and adoptive homes, Jonathan began to imagine a day when ZERO children in foster care were left waiting for a safe, supported family to care for them. As he began to dream, an exciting revelation dawned: as daunting as the situation seemed, the need could begin to be met if people of faith would open their hearts and homes to children and families impacted by foster care. Not only could this happen, it should happen! Caring for children in need of families is an authenticating expression of genuine Christian faith. So why wasn’t it happening? The church community needs awareness, vision, and a viable path to engage. And so, to meet this local need, Fostering Hope was born.
Jonathan finds great joy in helping to bridge the gap between the church community and our amazing neighbors in the foster care community. He is inspired by the incredible people he gets to serve alongside in churches, the child welfare community, and other community organizations. He is convinced that together we can bring hope and healing to our vulnerable neighbors impacted by foster care.
Mike Brown is the Director of Programs and Development at Fostering Hope. Mike’s work is deeply personal due to his own experience as a foster and adoptive dad. From early in their marriage, Mike and his wife Karen discussed becoming foster or adoptive parents. In 2005, Mike and his family relocated from the Chicago area to Boston to help start Reunion Christian Church where he served on staff for 12 years.
Soon the foster care conversation was on hold as the church and their family grew. With three biological children and a busy life as church planters, the timing never felt right. As they continued to think about it, however, Mike and Karen came to a realization. While they were waiting for the “right time” to foster or adopt, kids in foster care didn’t have that luxury. Instead, too many were either bouncing around the system or living in group homes while they waited for a safe and loving foster or adoptive family. So, in 2016, the Browns took the plunge and became licensed foster parents. Since then, they have provided a home for many youth in foster care and in the Fall of 2019, they had the privilege of adopting their youngest son.
The Brown’s experience with foster care compelled them to step away from their roles on staff at Reunion to discover new and more meaningful ways to respond to the foster care need. Mike joined Fostering Hope in 2018 and is excited to help churches create sustainable cultures of ministry to the foster care community. He is particularly passionate about our generational vision of ZERO youth in foster care waiting for a safe, supported family to care for them.
Hope Haslam Straughan, Adoptive Mom, Ph.D, Clinical Associate Professor of Social Work at Boston University
James Kwon, Serial Entrepreneur, Founder and CEO of Figmints
Jonathan Reid, Foster and Adoptive Dad, Founder and Executive Director of Fostering Hope
Lauren Wasinger, Adoptive Mom, MBA
Wendy Jacobi, Adoptive Mom, Founder of Home for Good