Karen Zelermyer joined Funders for LGBTQ Issues as the Executive Director in August 2005. Prior to assuming this role, she served on the organization’s board of directors from 1999 to 2003, where she served as co-chair from 2001 to 2003.
Karen is a seasoned professional with 28 years of non-profit management experience and 15 years experience working in organized philanthropy. Her areas of focus have included LGBTQ human rights, women’s rights, children’s rights and empowerment, media activism and peace. She has worked as a board member, volunteer, consultant, program director, development director, deputy director and executive director and, in those capacities, has stewarded hundreds of donors and been a frequent presenter, facilitator and trainer at philanthropic, women’s and LGBTQ conferences.
From 1995 until 2003, Karen was the Deputy Director of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice where she was responsible for all aspects of the organization’s development programs. During her tenure, the organization’s budget grew from $500,000 to more than $2 million and the staff grew from five to 12. She also led the organization’s first endowment campaign, served as the interim executive director for six months in 2000 and, prior to joining its staff, served on Astraea’s board of directors from 1992-1995.
She has also worked for, served on the board of, or consulted with Women Make Movies, Women In Need, Women’s Funding Network, Media Network, Children’s Express, National Association of Latino Media Producers, War Resisters League, United for Peace and Justice, WHEAT Trust (Capetown, SA), New York Women Against Rape and the Rainbow Coalition.
Karen has a master’s degree in applied social research and has been trained in group process and facilitation, conflict resolution and consensus decision-making.