Karen joined MVAA as a grant and contract specialist in December 2019. In her role, Karen's responsibilities include oversight of the grant application and funding processes for all MVAA-administered grants, as well as working with grantees to implement programming and increase service provision for Michigan veterans.
Karen brings over 20 years grant and project management experience to MVAA. She has written and managed grants and programming for Michigan nonprofits, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Michigan State University, and Grand Valley State University.
Karen holds a bachelor's degree in communications and public relations from Grand Valley State University and has a passion and long history of working with veteran and active-duty military. She supervised students and participated in the Cooley Law School's Service to Soldiers program, was instrumental in establishing veterans' courts in many Michigan counties, and created and directed Cooley's Veterans Legal Assistance Program.
After serving as committee chair to organize and host two West Michigan Veteran's Stand Downs, she succeeded in establishing a committee, organizing and hosting West Michigan's first Women's Veteran Stand Down. Karen was influential in establishing WINC: For All Women Veterans (Women Injured in Combat) as a nonprofit advocacy group for women veterans and served as vice-president in the organization's early years.
Along with her husband Jeff, Karen raised two boys (a soldier and a free spirit) and recently welcomed two daughters-in-law to the family. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, golf, paddle boarding and sailing her 11-foot boat "Knots in My Hair."