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Introducing the 2020 Southcentral Champions for Kids

Alaska Children’s Trust is honored to announce our 2020 Southcentral Champions for Kids: Charity Carmody and Lisa Wade. We will celebrate Charity and Lisa, along with our 2020 Northern/Interior Champions for Kids, Traci McGarry and Bernard Gatewood, at the premier of our Champion for Kids Challenge Campaign on September 15. Learn more about the campaign on our website.

Charity Carmody

Charity Carmody is a fourth-generation Alaskan. She and her husband, Kris, have been married 26 years. They have four grown children and two grandchildren. The Carmody’s took in their first foster child when Charity was only 21 years old. Within the first six years of their marriage, they owned a large home in North Mountain view and cared for foster children and adults in need of rehabilitation. Their oldest son, Jesse, was one of their first foster children. 

Caring for foster children continues to be a passion for Charity. The nonprofit Beacon Hill was founded in the Carmody’s living room in 2009 by a group of friends that wanted to give back. It started as a transitional living facility for homeless mothers and children, and then became a foster care and adoption agency five years later. 

Today, Beacon Hill has a foster care prevention program called Safe Families for Children Alaska that operates in six cities. It also operates Family Support Centers in Anchorage and Wasilla that host supervised visits and mentorship for children in foster care with their biological families.  Beacon Hill also manages the Heart Gallery of Alaska, which recruits adoptive homes for children in foster care that are legally free for adoption and are waiting for a forever family. In 2017, Beacon Hill opened a thrift store and café, whose profits fund Beacon Hill’s operating expenses. Charity acted as Beacon Hill’s volunteer executive director until 2018, when Kristen Bierma was hired to take the organization to its next level. Charity remains the board president.

Outside of her volunteer work, Charity has been in finance and insurance since beginning her career in 1994 at Smith Barney. She started her own company, Carmody Insurance Agency, in 2007. Her agency is now located in South Anchorage and still going strong, giving jobs and resources to the community.

Charity received her bachelor’s in business and MBA from Alaska Pacific University, where she now teaches as an adjunct business professor. She is currently finishing her doctorate in law and policy from Northeastern University in Boston. She has a dream of writing federal and state child welfare law.

Charity’s efforts to better her community has been recognized numerous times. She is a 2015 Top 40 under 40 recipient by the Alaska Journal of Commerce, a 2019 Athena Society Inductee, the recipient for Beacon Hill of World Magazine’s Hope Award for effective compassion in Washington D.C., and a member of 100+ Women Who Care.

Lisa Wade

Lisa Wade is Ahtna Dene’ of the taltsiine (water clan) and the c’etsiy tnaey (iron people clan). Lisa is a Nay’dini’aa Na’ Kayax (Chickaloon Native Village) Tribal citizen. She is a wife and mother of two amazing daughters and currently lives at Tsidak’etna’ (Grandmother’s Creek), just north of Palmer.

Lisa has served as a member of the Chickaloon Village Traditional Council since 2012, and Council secretary and Tribal Court judge since 2018. She has worked for Chickaloon Village Traditional Council since 2007, and serves as the health, education and social services division director. She also manages the Ya Ne Dah Ah School, the first school in Alaska established by a Tribal government.

Lisa is a standing board member on the Benteh/Nuutah Valley Native Primary Care Center joint operating board, the Ce’yiits Hwnax Life House Community Health Center advisory committee, the Mat-Su Health Foundation board of directors, the Alaska Family Services board of directors, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Tribal technical advisory committee. She has also participated on the steering committees of Raising Our Children with Kindness (R.O.C.K.) Mat-Su and the Alaska Resilience Initiative (ARI) since their inception.

Lisa is an advocate for the health and wellness of Alaska Native peoples and is committed to supporting healthy communities locally, statewide and nationally through community building, policy development, and indigenous advocacy. She enjoys cultural learning and creating community art projects, especially with children.

About the Award

Each year, through our Champion for Kids Awards, Alaska Children’s Trust recognizes individuals who have demonstrated dedication and commitment in working toward preventing child abuse and neglect by ensuring that children are living in safe, supportive, and nurturing communities. The purpose of the Champion for Kids Award is to recognize someone for his or her contributions to children living throughout Alaska, whether it is through their professional employment, volunteer work, community activities, or actively working with children.

Charity and Lisa join other 2020 Champions throughout the state, including Traci McGarry and Bernard Gatewood, our 2020 Northern/Interior Champions, and Kevin Ritchie and Kyle Worl, our 2020 Southeast Champions. Find full bios of our Champions on our website.

Champion for Kids Challenge Campaign

Our 2020 Southcentral and Northern/Interior Champions for Kids, Charity Carmody, Lisa Wade, Traci McGarry and Bernard Gatewood, will be honored on September 15 at the Facebook Live premier of our Champion for Kids Challenge Campaign. While COVID-19 prevented us from celebrating these champions at in-person receptions, we are pleased to recognize them at the virtual launch of our Champion for Kids Challenge Campaign

Our Challenge Campaign is an important effort to raise funds during a time when children and families are more vulnerable than ever before. A very special thank you to our generous challenge grant sponsors: Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, Wells Fargo, Doyon, Limited, the Brice-Henderson Family, Mat-Su Health Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, and Southcentral Foundation, as well as our 45+ co-hosts and board members who are challenging our community of friends. Learn more about the campaign and see the full list of supporters on our website.

We invite you to join these supporters and help us meet our challenge grant of over $35,000 by making a gift between September 15 and October 18. Because together we can prevent child abuse and neglect.