Our Team

Tom CongerExecutive Director

As Executive Director, Tom oversees Stray Dog Institute’s grantmaking, research, and collaborations. Tom began his career in philanthropy service ten years ago when he founded a social venture to help donors and nonprofits make the best use of charitable giving. The venture sponsored donor-advised funds, provided investment advisory services, and developed a software platform to reduce the cost of donating, raising, and investing funds. The affiliated 501(c)(3) now operates as the Blackbaud Giving Fund, which granted $266 million to more than 100,000 nonprofits in 2020. Before philanthropy service, Tom founded and led a boutique research and consulting firm with offices in Washington, DC, London, Shanghai, and Tel Aviv. The firm specialized in foresight and its application to strategy and innovation primarily for Fortune 500 companies, including many in food and agriculture. 

Laura DriscollResearch Director

As Research Director for Stray Dog Institute, Laura identifies research objectives, produces research publications, and manages research collaborations. Before joining Stray Dog, Laura supported food system sustainability and meat reduction campaigns around the world at Greenpeace International. She holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from UC Berkeley with a focus on political ecology of food systems. Throughout her career, Laura has used participatory social science research to reveal untold stories and elevate sustainability and justice narratives in food and farming. Laura is passionate about healing our food system to bring about a kind, green, and equitable future.

Lauren KohlerDirector of Food Systems Philanthropy

As Stray Dog Institute’s Director of Food Systems Philanthropy, Lauren develops and executes Stray Dog Institute’s food system-related grantmaking, activities, and strategy. Lauren brings an academic and professional background in food systems and environmental studies to her work. Previously, Lauren worked for the Yale Sustainable Food Program as a Senior Advisor, Farm Manager, and Volunteer Coordinator, leading community engagement in food systems learning. Lauren’s work is motivated by a deep care for people, animals, and the environment and a lifelong interest in the interconnections between people and the natural world.  

Chuck LaueCo-founder and Chair

Chuck is Co-founder and Board Chair of Stray Dog Capital and Stray Dog Institute. He also serves as Executive Board Chair at Companion Protect, Director of GlassWall Syndicate, Vice Chair at Asurion, and a board member at Gathered Foods Corporation and BlueNalu. Chuck is a board member at The Humane Society of the United States and chairs the boards of Great Plains SPCA and the Humane Society Legislative Fund. Along with his wife Jennifer, he co-founded The Quinn Foundation and Ringo’s Fund, private foundations dedicated to building a more compassionate world for animals, people, and the environment. Chuck follows a vegan lifestyle and is motivated by the need to support supply-side changes that contribute to sustainable food systems transformation.

Jennifer LaueCo-founder and Vice Chair

Jennifer is Co-founder and Vice Chair of Stray Dog Capital and Stray Dog Institute. She serves as Director of GlassWall Syndicate and a board member at Companion Protect. She is also on the non-profit boards of the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA), All About Autism, and Humane Society International. Along with her husband Chuck, she co-founded The Quinn Foundation and Ringo’s Fund, private foundations dedicated to building a more compassionate world for animals, people, and the environment. Jennifer is deeply committed to veganism and building the movement for food systems transformation.

About the Author

To cultivate dignity, justice, and sustainability in the food system, Stray Dog Institute provides nonprofit allies with funding, strategic research, and opportunities for collaboration. Together, we hope to build a more compassionate world for people, animals, and the environment.

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