Merrill Pond, President & Founder

Merrill was born in Glasgow, Scotland and although all of her extended family still lives in the U.K., she has lived most of her life in the United States. Merrill attended high school in Milford, CT at Lauralton Hall and then college at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland. She attended graduate school at the University of Connecticut Law School and Indiana University, studying law, philosophy and environmental policy.
In addition to being the current President of BCHF, Merrill is vice president of the research & policy department at the Partnership for New York City.

Merrill has lived in Brooklyn for the past 12 years and has been involved with BCHF since its inception. One of most rewarding things about Merrill's involvement in BCHF is that she feels a real attachement to the Brooklyn community and has made many important connections (and friends!) through BCHF.  In addition, over the past few years, Merrill has taken real pride in being able to help other organizations just starting out, passing on information and lessons learned.

Jennifer Connors, Vice President at Large

Jennifer Connors was born and raised in New England and moved to Brooklyn shortly after graduating from SUNY New Paltz with a degree in Art Education.  She has been working for the Estee Lauder Companies since 2002 and is now an Education Manager for the Online Division. 
Jennifer is very proud to have been a part of the BCHF since the beginning.  The holidays have always been a favorite time for her and she has many fond memories of a decorated Christmas tree, and family and fun.  The BCHF provides an opportunity to make a difference for the children in the city that she loves and each year is reminded of how just a little joy can provide hope to these families who it may seem have so little to celebrate. She hopes that each year this organization will be able to do more and more for the communities that she cares so much about.

Karen Matychak, Vice President at Large

Karen considers herself a native Rhode Islander (or ro 'dislander as the locals call it) despite having lived in Michigan for the first 9 years of her life and in NYC since 2001.  She received her BFA in Creative Writing after studying in Boston, the Netherlands and Los Angeles. After a brief stint in Los Angeles, she was thrilled to return to the east coast.  

After living in Brooklyn for the first 7 years, she moved to Queens with her husband Ezra and their hyper little pooch, Noodle.  They welcomed their daughter, Joanie, into the world in 2009. Aside from being on the board of BCHF, she keeps busy taking care of her daughter, working part-time with the Estee Lauder Companies, traveling, renovating her home and exploring new places in NYC

Brooklyn will always hold a special place in Karen's heart, as it was the place she came to love NYC.  The holiday season has always been Karen's favorite time of year, so she was thrilled when, after an extensive run as "star volunteer" she was asked to join the board of BCHF.  She is very proud of what BCHF has become and the joy it is able to provide for the families it serves.  

Laura Metzger Lynch, Vice President at Large

Born in Redding, Connecticut, Laura has made Manhattan her home since 1993 living in a variety of neighborhoods including the Upper East Side, Soho, the West Village and Inwood. Aside from pursuing all the amazing things NYC has to offer, Laura enjoys playing tennis, swimming, discovering new restaurants, watching movies, spending time with her niece & nephews, and traveling the world. Since getting married she has made at least one trip a year with her husband back to his hometown in County Limerick, Ireland.

Currently, Laura is the Senior Producer of the PBS series NATURE. She also spent 7 years as the producer and on-air reporter for BBC's entertainment news program "Talking Movies" – and she has been a freelance producer for CNN and Associated Press Television News.

Laura holds a Master of Arts degree in Journalism from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from Princeton University.
After volunteering with BCHF and bringing her gift wrapping expertise to the mix for a couple years, Laura joined as an official BCHF board member in 2006.

Michael Thiel, Secretary

Michael is originally from a tiny town in Long Island called East Williston, and now lives in Kew Gardens, Queens. Michael graduated from Boston University in 2008 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, and after a fun-filled, post-graduate summer in Boston, he moved back to New York. In dire need of a job, Michael happened upon a lovely Temp Agency, through which he was placed at the Estee Lauder Companies (ELC), and was thereafter hired full-time.  

Through ELC, Michael became good friends with Jennifer Connors, who enlisted his help as a BCHF volunteer during both the 2008 and 2009 holiday seasons. Michael’s superb wrapping skills and sheer enthusiasm landed him a spot on the BCHF board, which he has proudly held for the last two years. Michael is truly excited about working with BCHF each year to help bring some joy and happiness to such deserving children and families during his favorite time of year. Michael’s goal is to make this and every holiday season rewarding, exciting, and memorable for both the families BCHF serves and for the friends and volunteers that help make it all possible.

Kate Hutchinson, Fundraising Committee

Kate (or Katy as known by her older sister and her friends) was born and raised in Milford, CT. After graduation from Colgate University with a bachelor of arts in Economics and Politic Science, she dabbled in Sonoma County California government work for about a year, until she came to the conclusion that it wasn’t fast enough paced for her. She also realized she needed to be closer to home, friends and family, so moved back east, and soon settled into NYC living. For the last 7 years, she has been an Upper East Side resident, moving a few times either a block away or within her current building but never far from friends and family again. She is currently working at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, assisting with the hiring and onboarding of experienced financial advisors.
Throughout college Kate was heavily involved in the Community Outreach program and at present date, she continues to look for opportunities to volunteer and help others in need. Through her older sister Jen, she was able to volunteer her phenomenal wrapping skills to the BCHF each holiday season and was thrilled after 5 years that they finally asked her to join the board and fundraising committee! She looks forward to bringing new ideas and fun to the BCHF board as well continuing to help out the kids in the Brooklyn community each holiday season.

Suzie Sheridan, Fundraising Committee

Prideful of being a true Brooklynite, Suzie couldn’t imagine calling any other place home. Extremely loyal to her parents, younger brother, and band of merry friends, no favor is too big to ask of her.

Suzie loves to cook and is always trying to improve with the help of her mom and the Food Network. Suzie is a firm believer that nothing beats the simplicity of a fabulous homemade cupcake.  However, she would never turn chicken feet while out for dim sum either.

Suzie’s father fostered in her a steadfast passion for reading. She enjoys reading as much as possible on the subway and has no idea how people who drive to work find time to read a good book.

Once upon a time Suzie planned on being a marine biologist. A love hate relationship with sharks steered her in another direction (she hates that they would love to eat her). Achieving her Masters in Visual Arts at Brooklyn College made her a huge supporter of local artists and musicians.  They are her friends after all! Being a humble yet talented artist herself, it is not unusual to find some of her very own artwork in cafes on the Lower East Side or at galleries in Red Hook.

Stacey Douglass Moverley, Online Coordinator

Stacey is a 4th generation Nevadan, born and raised in Reno. A series of roundabout adventures took her to San Francisco, and New Orleans, with stints as a Nanny, Barrista, Bartender, Waiter and Radio Talk Show Host before she ended up at Syracuse University where she found her passion as an Editor.  After graduating with a degree in Television, Radio and Film Production, Stacey headed to New York City where she worked with a number of companies before she landed her dream job as a freelance editor with the PBS series NATURE.  Within her 7 years at NATURE, she has edited the award winning episodes “Christmas in Yellowstone” and “Wolverine, Chasing the Phantom” as well as a variety of promos and podcasts for the series.  In addition, she has designed websites for a variety of clients.

After volunteering with BCHF for a couple of years and seeing the wonderful work they did, Stacey wanted to get more involved and was thrilled to be asked to join the board.  She looks forward to bringing her experience to BCHF and focusing on the end goal of bringing joy to as many children as possible each holiday season.

Emma Harrison, Founder Ex-oficcio

Emma is British born and bred but having lived in the United States for eight years now feels more at home here than England. Emma has a natural affinity with children and always knew she would work with them in one capacity or another. For most of her working life she was the ubiquitous "British nanny". Then last year after hearing again and again from women she worked with how unsupported they felt in the first month or so of their baby's birth, she realized that her true calling laid with supporting couples as they transitioned into their new lives as parents from early pregnancy right through the postpartum period. Now Emma works as a doula, supporting couples and babies as they become families.
While currently living in Los Angeles, Brooklyn will always have a special place in her heart as it was her first home in the US and holds many happy memories. While she is unable to take as active a role as she would like from so far away, as one of the founders of BCHF, Emma will always be a part of it. After all the holidays will just not be complete for her without shopping for 100 extra children! Being part of BCHF for so many years, reading these children's heartfelt letters each year has been a truly humbling and extremely rich experience.
From the day eight years ago when she first went to the post office and picked up a letter at the post office from a single grandmother raising eight grandchildren, to now when over a hundred volunteers help to buy, wrap and deliver gifts for so many children, she is filled with gratitude for what BCHF has brought to her life. Each one of the children that BCHF has helped over the years feels like one of her own and BCHF and Brooklyn will always be a part of her.