Karen Dabson

Board Chair

Author and Former Community Development Finance Consultant and Practitioner
Retired

Karen Dabson is the author of three novels and numerous short stories and poems and has received recognition for many of her works. She also brings more than 25 years as an experienced community development consultant and practitioner who specialized in working in enterprise development and microenterprise finance, concentrating on people excluded from the economic mainstream, refugees and immigrants, and rural communities.

For over a decade, Karen owned and operated OrgMent, a business devoted to working around the nation with nonprofit practitioner organizations to achieve mission in these areas. She also served as Executive Director of a CDFI, the Enterprise Development Corporation, that served the 30 counties of Appalachian Ohio with microenterprise finance and a variety of asset-building services, including the foundation of a community development credit union. During this period, she authored and co-authored several articles and guides on entrepreneurship and microenterprise, and later specifically wrote The Microenterprise Cookbook for refugee and immigrant-serving organizations. Following and before her practitioner years, she held senior positions at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the CDFI Fund, US Treasury, the Institute for Social and Economic Development (ISED), and the Ohio Department of Development.

During her consultant years, Karen co-founded the Credit Builders Alliance along with Mary Niebling of Capstone Community Action in Vermont.

Karen holds a BA in Sociology from Purdue University, and a Master’s degree from Case Western Reserve University for Social Service Administration.

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