Welcome to karenkalish.com, my personal website.
I am a “serial social entrepreneur.” An entrepreneur starts things, “social” means “for the good of the community,” and “serial” means “more than one.” It means that when I see a problem I am passionate about solving, I roll up my sleeves, grab as many allies as I can, and get to work. The main issues I focus on are literacy, closing the academic and opportunity and achievement gaps, and ending discrimination. I have founded three non-profit organizations and one program, and am lucky enough to have a donor-advised fund, which I started in 2000. Click here for my complete bio.
I dedicate most of my time to my latest program, HOME WORKS! The Teacher Home Visit Program. HOME WORKS! is designed to foster parent engagement in their child’s education to improve academic achievement, attendance, and behavior in school. The program trains, supports, and pays teachers to visit the homes of their students’ to forge relationships with their students’ families at all stages of the child’s academic career. I am also still dedicated to Books & Badges, a program in which police recruits attending the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Academy spend one hour a week reading and writing with students in classrooms in several elementary schools in the St. Louis Public Schools. And, I still support Cultural Leadership, a program that teaches high-school students to be change agents, social justice activists, and what we call “troublemakers of the best kind.”
Named after my wonderful grandmother, Estelle Watelsky Kalish, The Estelle W. and Karen S. Kalish Foundation is a donor-advised fund at the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation that supports both local and national organizations in three areas: 1) literacy, closing the achievement gap, and leveling the playing field for African Americans and issues of race; 2) the Jewish community; and 3) causes that my close friends care about.