about us
Fig Tree Foundation was formed by a group of concerned Calgarians who had a desire to contribute to international development initiatives, but soon discovered that in addition to a lack of funding for established groups, there existed a lack of co-ordination and collaboration amongst groups, leading to duplication of efforts and less than optimal utilization of existing resources.

In 2006, Fig Tree Foundation obtained its status as a charitable foundation and since then we have been focused on improving the quality of international development initiatives that come out of the Calgary community while supporting a network of organizations that deliver them. Fig Tree Foundation accomplishes this mission through our four guiding principles: collaboration, effectiveness, sustainability, and transparency and by promoting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. 

Our Vision

A recognized and trusted leader enabling sustainable development around the world.

Our Mission

Through collaboration, investment and capacity building, Fig Tree Foundation empowers sustainable International development projects around the world.

Our Endowment Fund (Founding Funders)

The Fig Tree Foundation Endowment Fund was started by a small group of committed Calgarians who espoused the ideals of the Foundation. The Fund has continued to grow through ongoing philanthropic support and is used to support international development projects carried out by the Fig Tree Foundation’s Roundtable Members.

our board

Cailee Ellis

Chairperson

Cailee brings 16 years of experience across government and private enterprise to Fig Tree Foundation. Passionate about sustainability and climate change mitigation, Cailee currently serves as the Executive Director, Strategy and Engagement with Emissions Reduction Alberta. Prior to this, Cailee held a number of regulatory and operational Director appointments at the Alberta Energy Regulator leading key strategic, governance, operational, climate and innovation files. She also served as Executive Advisor to Operations when joining the organization in 2015. Prior to this, Cailee developed extensive experience in operations and regulatory/environmental affairs working in consulting, with oilsands, conventional and midstream oil & gas companies, and Government.

Cailee holds a M.Sc. in Environmental Practice, an MBA in Executive Management, and an Engineering Technology Diploma in Water Resources. Cailee has also completed executive education programs in regulatory leadership and climate change and energy policy.

Philippe Reicher

Vice Chair

Philippe Reicher began his career as a community relations specialist working on various natural resource development projects in Western Canada and the US. His work focused on engaging communities, including indigenous communities, faced with the economic, environmental and social impacts of energy development. Over time, Philippe added to his community engagement and social impact assessment skills, corporate communications, crisis communications, media relations, and government relations expertise.  Having spent most of his childhood in Africa and remained interested in international development throughout his life, joining the Fig Tree foundation was a great opportunity to become involved in a Calgary-based organization that aims to make a difference in developing countries.

David Park

Treasurer

David is currently an auditor at KPMG with 4 years of public accounting experience. David has had his CPA for over a year now and is a graduate from the University of Calgary with his bachelors in commerce. During his time at the U of C David was in charge of the corporate sustainability group for two years and has always had a strong passion for overseas developments.

Jessica Vu

Jessica is a student at the University of Calgary pursuing a dual degree in Business and Global Development with Embedded Certificates in Sustainability Studies and Entrepreneurial Thinking.  Jessica has work experience at multiple technology startups in marketing roles and has over 6 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Within the University of Calgary, Jessica is the President of the University of Calgary Consulting Association and a member of the Refugee Student Board. In addition, she has been a Student Consultant or Project Manager on over five pro bono consulting projects with both local and international small businesses and not-for-profits. In her greater community, she involves herself in the impact investing and sustainability space.

Iain Stewart

Iain is a real estate executive and investor.  He is President, CEO and a Director of Genesis Land Development Corp., a Calgary based residential land developer and home builder.  Previously, Iain was co-founder and former Co-CEO of Parkbridge Lifestyle Communities Inc. (“Parkbridge”), Canada’s largest owner and operator of land-lease residential and recreational communities, now with over $1.4 billion in assets. Mr. Stewart’s real estate experience spans over 30 years. 

 

John Moreland

A geologist and entrepreneur with over 40 years experience, John has been a co-founder of several Calgary based junior international oil companies, and is a Past President of the Canadian Global Exploration Forum (CGEF), the Canadian business association for international oil and gas companies. 

From living and working overseas, John has seen at first hand the impact that simple, inexpensive, self-motivated initiatives have achieved, and supports development at the grassroots level.  Effective communication among all stakeholder groups has been the key to success in all the projects John has been involved with, and The Fig Tree Foundation, particularly the Roundtable, works to optimize that process.

Milton Ortega

 During the last 15 years, Milton has worked on a variety of projects in the social and policy fields. Milton served as the Executive Director of the Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies (AAISA) for 6 years.  Under his leadership, operations of the organization grew and expanded services beyond Alberta to lead to AAISA’s inclusion on settlement efforts on a regional level, and as a recognized voice on the national stage. He currently serves as a board member with Imagine Cities and as a member for Community Grants with the Calgary Foundation, a Project Review Committee Member with DevXchange International.

Sarah Skett

Sarah is a sustainability and community development specialist with fifteen years of experience in research and project design, socioeconomic assessment, and community consultation in more than 15 countries. She is driven by her passion to collaborate with organizations, local leaders and their communities to build meaningful and lasting partnerships that allow her to better understand and address their needs, and to build strategies that foster mutually beneficial projects, capacity building, and sustainable growth. Sarah received her Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Calgary in 2014. She joined the University of Calgary’s Sustainability Studies program in 2015 became the first Assistant Professor in the program before she joined CMR Consulting Inc. in 2021.

Craig Pichach

Craig Pichach has over fifteen years of Project experience in the energy sector including work with ConocoPhillips, Nexen, Worley and Andora Energy. He holds an MBA from Texas A&M Corpus Christi, a Bachelor of Management from Athabasca University a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineeringfrom the University of North Dakota and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from University of Calgary. He is passionate about making the world a better place through sustainable development projects around the world and helping those in need.

our STAFF

Christoph Schultz

Christoph is the managing director for Fig Tree Foundation. Christoph is a Development Economist with over 15 years of experience in leadership and management roles advancing sustainable development. He served as the Executive Director of Light Up The World (LUTW) for 6 years, and their Program Director for 6 years prior to that. 

Carol Chu

Carol is the communications and event coordinator for Fig Tree Foundation. Carol has been involved with various nonprofits in Calgary for the past 15 years in work, volunteer and board capacities. Carol is passionate about international development and was previously a member of Fig Tree’s Roundtable. She has a degree in communications from the University of Calgary.