Learn about our history and team.

who is rainbow railroad?

oUR HISTORY

2006

Delegation of prominent LGBTs from Canada went to World Pride in Tel Aviv and met with a Palestinian  youth who lived on the streets in Tel Aviv and inspired the group to help.

2009

Gareth Henry came to Canada as a refugee and joined the grassroots group to help those he left behind in Jamaica. Gareth goes on to become a Director of the organization and help save dozens more.

2013

Rainbow Railroad received official registered charitable status and laid the groundwork for capacity building, leading to the first hire in 2014. Over 70 refugees helped since ‘06.

raised in ’16

$833k

case Spend

70%+

emPLOYEES

4

voLUNTEERS

30+

OUR TEAM

kIMAHLI POWELL

 Executive Director

Kimahli has a wide range of experience in the non-profit sector and has spent more than fifteen years advocating for social justice, youth, arts and culture. He was the Director of Development and Outreach at the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, the Senior Development Officer at Dignitias International, Director of Development at the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film and Video Festival in addition to holding other director-level positions with non- profit organizations in Toronto and the National Capital Region.

Among Kimahli's achievements in advocacy and social rights, he most recently helped launch the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network's legal challenge to Jamaica's anti-sodomy law, led public outreach initiatives including the Human Rights Networking Zone at multiple international AIDS conferences and guided the Legal Network through a monitoring and evaluation framework on legal advocacy. 

Kimahli is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) with a Bacc.Social Science (Political Science) from the University of Ottawa. He is a member of the Association for Fundraising Professionals(AFP) and serves as a mentor for AFP's Fellowship in Inclusion and Philanthropy.

the board of directors

Rainbow Railroad is governed by a Board of Directors with a deep knowledge of refugee and community activism and expertise across immigration law, community outreach, fundraising, operations and marketing.

Michael Battista
Chair of the Board
Joined 2006

Michael is a partner at Jordan Battista LLP and has been practicing immigration and refugee law since 1992. He is by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a Specialist in Citizenship and Immigration Law (Immigration and Refugee Protection). Michael worked with EGALE Canada in successfully lobbying the Canadian government to extend the family class to same-sex couples under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. He has been adjunct professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto since 2003 and was an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section from 2006 to 2008. Michael is a former Chair of the Board of Directors of the AIDS Committee of Toronto and frequently lectures on issues pertaining to immigration and refugee law for law schools, and professional and community organizations. Michael has been admitted to the Ontario AIDS Network’s Honour Roll and is a recipient of the Metropolitan Community Church’s Community Service Award. 

Gareth henry
Co-Chair of Case Committee
Joined 2009

Gareth is a gay rights activist and social worker from Jamaica who has first-hand knowledge of the risks faced by LGBT people in Jamaica.  In 2007, he was beaten by policemen in front of a mob of 200 people who cornered him in a Kingston pharmacy.  This was one of three beatings that Gareth suffered at the hands of Jamaican police.  Gareth was a co-chair of J-FLAG (the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays), involved in the organization since its inception.  During the four years that he worked with J-FLAG, thirteen of Gareth’s friends were killed.  Gareth fled to Canada as a refugee in 2008 after a series of death threats.  His knowledge and understanding of the circumstances in Jamaica has been critical in helping Rainbow Railroad verify cases and save lives.

Caleb goodman
Chair of Development Committee
Joined 2014

Caleb Goodman is a Partner and Managing Director of Rethink, a communication agency in Toronto. He holds a BBA from Bishop’s University and a master’s degree in design and advertising from OCAD. Caleb first got involved with the Rainbow Railroad when he organized a fundraising event called The Freedom Party, in June 2014. Following the success of that event, Caleb took on the role of Fundraising Chair and was invited to join the Board in September 2014. Prior to his involvement with the Rainbow Railroad, Caleb founded a fundraising group called Courageous Campers, in support of the General Romeo Dallaire Foundation. Caleb grew up in New Brunswick and has lived in Toronto for the past 13 years.

LARRY HUGHSAM
Treasurer
Joined 2016

​Larry has been in the Rainbow Railroad Treasurer position since the end of 2015.  He has previously been on the Boards of Inside Out LGBT Film Festival and Community One Foundation as Treasurer.   Larry is a CPA, CA, and his fulltime job is the Director, Finance & Treasurer for the Toronto Public Library, the world's busiest library.  Larry is also on the Finance and Audit committee for the Toronto Public Library Foundation. He full believes in the role and power of public service and not-for-profit organizations in enriching and strengthening our community.  Born and raised in Jamaica (yeh-man!), Larry is proud to call Toronto his home and his passions include world travel.

ANDREY TIMOFEEV
Director
Joined 2014

Andrey joins Rainbow Railroad with over ten years of progressive experience in various accounting and finance positions in private and not-for-profit sector. He is currently employed at Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation in a Finance Manager role. Andrey came to Canada in 2000 as an LGBT immigrant from Kyrgyzstan and brings with him first-hand experience as an LGBT person in Central Asia.

joan anderson
Director
Joined 2006

Joan is respected leader, facilitator, and project manager and has been involved in the not-for-profit sector for over 30 years.  Prior to becoming a consultant in 1999, Joan was an AIDS Educator/Policy Adviser with the East York Health Unit (1988-1994) and Director of Education & Advocacy with the AIDS Committee of Toronto (1994-1999), including a period as Interim Executive Director.  International work includes being Senior Adviser for the Toronto Local Host for the 2006 International AIDS Conference.  Past volunteer commitments include serving on the Boards of the AIDS Committee of Toronto and The 519 Church Street Community Centre.

laurie arron
DIRECTOR
Joined 2010

After earning a B.Com. and MBA, Laurie worked in real estate development for 7 years. Shortly after getting involved in the LGBT rights movement, Laurie became a lawyer, worked at a Bay Street law firm for a few years, and then became the Director of Advocacy for national LGBT advocacy group EGALE Canada and National Director of Canadians for Equal Marriage. Following that, he was the Executive Director of the Green Party of Canada, and then took a sabbatical to focus on his meditation and mindfulness practice. Laurie is currently the Executive Director of Discover Mindfulness and the Managing Director of The Centre for Mindfulness Studies.

KARLENE WILLIAMS-CLARKE
Director
Joined 2010

Karlene is the Manager, Direct Servicesat the 519 Church Street Community Centre in Toronto, where she has been coordinating the LGBT Refugee Program (Among Friends) for the past three years.  Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, Karlene served as co-chair and chair respectively of Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) and Women for Women (WfW) for over 7 years and was a visible LGBT advocate/activist for the human rights of LGBT Jamaicans. Although Karlene is professionally trained in Business Administration and worked for several years in the financial industry, after moving to Canada, she put that experience aside to follow her passion and work with the newcomer LGBT community 

michael murphy
Director & Chair of American Friends of RR
Joined 2013

Michael is a marketing professional experienced at leading brand transformation projects for start-ups and multi-nationals around the world. Currently Director of Marketing at Avenue Road, a luxury design brand, he works in Toronto and New York. Michael is a graduate of the Honours Business Administration program from the Ivey School of Business at Western University and the Hochschule St. Gallen business school in Switzerland. A co-founder of the Group of Five in Toronto, Michael has personally helped to privately sponsor a number of LGBTQ refugees in coming to a safer life in Canada. 

ann ROSENFIELD
Secretary
Joined 2015

Ann Rosenfield, MBA, CFRE is an award-winning professional  has been helping donors, volunteers, Boards, and neighbours make good decisions about charity for over 20 years. She has worked as small shops (staff of 2) and large shops (national organization with staff of 1,000) and can help you decide what is the best fit for you. In her spare time, she is on the Board of a start-up LGBTQ human rights charity and volunteers with several local charities.

kate lazier
Co-Chair Case Committee
Joined 2015

Kate Lazier is a family physician practicing emergency medicine at Toronto East General Hospital and maintains a practice in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto as well as preceptor for medical students and residents. Before attending medical school she enjoyed a career in Toronto municipal politics and journalism that included being a senior policy adviser to Mayor Barbara Hall, as well as a reporter for Now Magazine. In 2012 she was a co-founder of Group of Five, which privately sponsors LGBT refugees to come to Toronto. She holds a BA and BSc from University of Toronto as well as an MD from Dalhousie University. She completed family practice residency at University of Toronto and a fellowship in emergency medicine at Western University. She has trained in CBT at University of Toronto and the Beck Institute.

Get in touch

our address

PO Box 60053
Queen & Beverley PO
Toronto, ON
M5V0C5

email

info@rainbowrailroad.ca

MEDIA Inquiries

media@rainbowrailroad.ca