Karen Haren’s expertise in nonprofit management and passion to feed the hungry was instrumental in Harvesters being named Feeding America’s 2011 Food Bank of the Year. This honor recognizes Harvesters as the leading hunger-relief organization and as a role model for food banks across the nation in using resources provided by the community to provide food and hope to hungry people.
2009 Feeding America’s Executive Director of the Year
Recognized as a national leader in hunger relief, Karen is past chair of the Feeding America National Council and served on the board of directors for Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network. In 2009, she was honored as the network’s Executive Director of the Year, which recognizes the leader of a member food bank who has contributed an extraordinary effort to the network’s viability and momentum.
2010 Nonprofit Professional of the Year
Karen was named the 2010 Nonprofit Professional of the Year by Non Profit Connect. The award recognizes her depth of experience in the nonprofit field, as well as her leadership, creativity and personal commitment to philanthropy. She was further recognized as the recipient of the 2012 Regional Leadership Award from the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) and also received the 2012 Growing Philanthropy Award from the Hartsook Institutes.
Karen has been involved in hunger relief and hunger advocacy for 28 years. She served on the Harvesters’ board of directors for 11 years, including three years as board president. In 1999, Karen was named Harvesters’ executive director, and in 2007 she was named president & CEO, a position she held until she retired in July 2013. Prior to her staff positions with Harvesters, she spent more than 20 years in nonprofit agency management in organizations serving youth.
Karen grew up in Montana and graduated from Chapman University in 1971 with a BA in home economics. She has an MBA from Rockhurst University in Kansas City.
Named a “Local Hero” by Ingram’s Magazine in 2008, she received the Herman and Dorothy Johnson Award for Outstanding Public Service presented by the Missouri Association of Social Welfare (MASW) in May of 2009. She was named the Woman of Achievement by Metropolitan Zonta Club of Kansas City in 2012. She also received the Toastmasters International Communication and Leadership Award presented by District 22 for her outstanding service to her community.
Karen is a member of Rotary Club 13 and serves on the US Bank Community Advisory Board and the Rockhurst University Board of Trustees. She is also a founding member and now Executive Vice President of the Hartsook Companies Kansas City Advisory Council, an organization dedicated to growing philanthropy globally.
In recognition of her extraordinary work, Karen is being awarded the 2014 Schweitzer Award of Excellence, given since 1982 by Chapman University to an individual and/or organization that exemplifies Schweitzer’s ethics of reverence for life and his dedication to a life of service.