Vice President of Programs
Kara Carlisle joined The McKnight Foundation in January 2017. Before McKnight, Carlisle worked for eight years at the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, most recently as director of New Mexico Programs, where she oversaw the strategic direction of an $85 million portfolio of investments in the state. Previously, she served as a program officer on the foundation’s Civic and Philanthropic Engagement Team, developing the first manual to inform the organization’s approach to place-based grantmaking. Over the course of her tenure at Kellogg, Carlisle functioned as a convener, collaborator, and catalyst, leading efforts ranging from program conceptualization, design, planning, and management to coordination, communication, evaluation, policy, and learning from programming efforts.
Prior to the Kellogg Foundation, Carlisle was associate director at Zócalo Public Square Lecture Series and a development consultant. Earlier, while at Korean American Coalition – Los Angeles, she was director of public relations and director of the 4.29 dispute resolution center. She also held the positions of personnel officer and development officer at Koreatown Youth and Community Center, Inc., in Los Angeles, California. She also served as president of the City of Los Angeles’ Human Relations Commission in 2007 and 2008, and as chair of the Empowerment Congress, also based in Los Angeles. She is a former board member of the National Association for Community Mediation in Washington, DC.
Carlisle holds an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, as well as an MDiv in Urban Studies and Education from Claremont School of Theology and a BA from Anderson University.