Karen began the role of Executive Director for CARITAS in 2000 and took the organization from a 22-week winter-only emergency shelter to one of Richmond’s largest and most effective human services organizations. CARITAS provides a continuum of services which include a year-round, housing-focused emergency shelter, Virginia’s only furniture bank, a 300+ bed residential recovery program called The Healing Place, a workforce development and life skills program for men and women with significant barriers to employment, and 47 sober-living apartments. In 2007, Karen took on the dual role of Executive Director for The Healing Place and guided the efforts to combine the organization with CARITAS in 2012. As President and CEO, Karen lead the successful $15.5M capital campaign and the development of a complex tax credit model including historic and New Market tax credits, CARITAS moved into the new $28M CARITAS Center in December 2020, which consolidated three locations and added a 140-bed recovery program for women and the 47 sober-living apartments. Under her leadership, CARITAS has grown to have more than 100 employees and a $7.5M budget. She is a 2007 graduate of Leadership Metro Richmond, a recipient of the Stettinius Award for Non-Profit Leadership, a YWCA Outstanding Woman Award winner, the 2010 Better Housing Coalition’s “Creative Collaborator,” and was inducted into the Virginia First Lady’s FLITE Hall of Fame for Women in Business in 2012. In 2020, Karen was a Richmond Times Dispatch “Person of the Year” honoree and in 2022, she was the Ukrop Community Vision Award winner.
She has served on the boards of Homeward, Leadership Metro Richmond, the Governor’s Advisory Board for Volunteerism and National Service, and the Vestry of St. James’s Episcopal Church. Karen and her partner moved to Biddeford, Maine in 2023 and she is stepping into the role of ED for United Recovery Fund that support MaineWorks part time this summer. Additionally, Karen is a Portland Gear Hub 2023 Bike Mechanics class alum!