Skip to main content

Karen Avery

Karen Avery

Karen Avery is a partner in the Isaacson, Miller Washington, D.C. office, with a deep background in philanthropy, foundations, arts and culture, and education. Karen offers substantive insights on executive leadership in the nonprofit organizational management sphere, in the community impact space, and in schools and higher education.

Prior to joining IM, Karen was Senior Director of the PBS Foundation, responsible for securing foundation and corporate support for PBS digital initiatives, educational outreach, and programming. While at PBS, she worked closely with the PBS Digital Studios, PBS LearningMedia, and PBS KIDS teams on developing strategies to enhance and broaden PBS’ content distribution nationally, particularly to reach those in underserved communities. Her success at PBS was built upon her work with the Smithsonian Institution, where as Director of Foundation Relations, she oversaw all foundation fundraising for 19 museums, 9 research centers, and the National Zoo. At the Smithsonian, she also was staff liaison to the Education Committee of the Smithsonian National Board.

Earlier in her career, Karen spent a decade in academic administration at Harvard University and served as Senior Admissions Officer prior to becoming Assistant Dean of Harvard College. Karen has an entrepreneurial spirit and a proven ability to adapt and grow in new arenas. She has a breadth of knowledge and contacts with funders, foundations, education associations, and nonprofit leadership. She has expertise in fields that has helped bolster IM’s growing practice areas and service to clients across a variety of sectors.

Karen has been active in the civic sector for many years. Currently, she is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for ACT for Alexandria Community Foundation, a voting member of the Vaccinate Your Family Board of Directors, and a member of the Board of Visitors for The Albany Academies. Past volunteer service includes the Harvard Club of Washington, D.C. Board of Directors, the Grantmakers for Education Arts Education Impact Group, the Wolf Trap Associates Board of Directors, and The Albany Academy for Girls Board of Trustees. Karen is a contributing author to Real Women, Real Leaders: Surviving and Succeeding in the Business World.