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 spend almost all of my time on 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 classroom behavior for students performing below grade level. The program trains, supports, and pays teachers to visit the homes of their students’ to build trust and forge relationships with their students’ families at all stages of the child’s academic career. Check out its website – www.teacherhomevisit.org.
I still support Cultural Leadership, a program I founded in 2004 that teaches both middle schoolers and high-school students to be change agents, social justice activists, and “troublemakers of the best kind.” It is all about civil rights, social justice, and democracy. Books & Badges is a program in which police recruits attending the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Academy spend an hour a week reading and writing with students in classrooms in several elementary schools in the St. Louis Public Schools.
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.