Karen A. Swanson, CFRE

Karen A. Swanson, CFRE became the Executive Director of the Cedar Rapids Community Schools Foundation in May 2011.  An alumna of the District (Thomas Jefferson High School Class of 1985), Ms. Swanson brings to the Foundation extensive experience in writing federal, foundation, and corporate grants, as well as development marketing materials.  Karen has worked with numerous consulting firms and not-for-profit organizations across the U.S. for more than 30 years, including such clients as the American Diabetes Association, National Philharmonic, Armed Services YMCA, Goodwill Industries International, American University, Children’s Inn at NIH, Salvation Army, Daughters of the American Revolution, and Make-A-Wish America.  She earned a bachelor of music degree from Baylor University and began her development career with the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra. She has also served as director of corporate and foundation relations for Trinity International University on Chicago’s North Shore and as director of development for the American Red Cross in Mason City, Iowa.

Karen has been awarded the Certified Fund Raising Executive status from the Association of Fundraising Professionals and is a sought after presenter of workshops on all aspects of foundation funding and grant writing.  She is a Past President of Junior League of Cedar Rapids, and has served in volunteer capacities with Iowa PTA and the Association of Junior Leagues International.