Karen has been bringing organizations and donors together for over 25 years. For more than a decade, she was the principal at KPS Development, offering consulting services to organizations in the DC metro region to help harness their fundraising strengths and use the best tools to work with their donors and boards. She has led development efforts at NARAL Pro Choice America, National Immigration Forum and Dance Theatre of Harlem, and was Washington Director of New Israel Fund, running NIF’s fundraising, programming and events in the DC region for nearly 15 years.
Most recently, Karen was the Executive Director of the Tikkun Olam Women’s Foundation, where she oversaw the annual philanthropic and grant making process of 60 trustees dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls in the DC region and in Israel. Her experience with TOWF gave her insight into the funding side of fundraising, and the deep heart and extraordinary work it takes to give money away thoughtfully and effectively.
Karen was a participant in Selah, the Rockwood Institute/Jewish leadership training sponsored by Bend the Arc, and she studied Change Leadership through Cornell’s certificate program. She and her late husband, Jonathan Stern, who was a journalist, received the Heschel Visionary Award from Jews United for Justice in 2016 for their dedication to telling the story of his illness with compassion and honesty.
When she isn’t raising money for good, Karen is a writer, working on a book about her experience as a caretaker for a spouse with glioblastoma. She blogs regularly on her own site, “Life in the (Widow) Hood,” and has had essays, short stories and poems published in the Washington Post, Lilith Magazine, S’hma, Guideposts, Seltzer ezine, Red Wheelbarrow Literary Magazine, Scribblers on the Roof, and Heartscapes anthology.
Karen divides her time between Takoma Park, MD, and Chappaqua, NY, with three children, a dog and a patient partner keeping her hopping up and down the East Coast.