Founder and Executive Director
Carissa's background is in education, graduating from Bethel University and then receiving a Master of Education from the University of Minnesota. She taught at the elementary and collegiate levels before an unexpected diagnosis and a sweet baby boy named Jack, changed her heart and passion. After an abrupt and assumptive diagnosis experience after the birth of their son, Carissa felt led to start Jack's Basket. She wanted to make a change for future parents, ensuring that they felt their child was a reason to celebrate and opportunities to connect within the community. Carissa spends her days presenting to medical professionals about how to deliver the diagnosis without bias, working with the Jack's Basket board to further the mission, connecting with volunteers who deliver baskets, blogging, speaking to various groups, and meeting with potential donors.
Marie J. Harvat
Jack’s Basket Operations Manager
Marie's background spans libraries, orchestras, running events, tea shops, academia, non-profits, retail, and e-commerce . A life-long learner and creative problem solver, she is excited to make connections between details and the big picture. She is passionate about applying her diverse domain experiences to supporting Jack's Basket's strategic, process, and organizational needs. Marie is driven to continuously optimize our operations so we can celebrate more babies. Her favorite little one with Down Syndrome to cheer about is her niece, who has already grown up to a confident kindergartener. When not playing proud auntie to Quinn and her brother, Gibson, Marie enjoys gardening, hiking, and a good meal.
Jack’s Basket Marketing and Development
Julie brings her passion for our mission and a background in corporate marketing to a variety of communications, events, and development duties and projects at Jack’s Basket. She juggles time in the office and time at home with her family as well as supporting her wider community - all with a smile and a willingness to embrace challenges and learning new things.