Fred Karnas joined The Kresge Foundation in 2013, bringing with him extensive experience working on issues at the intersection of housing, health, and human services and the needs of low-income populations. He is a senior fellow in Kresge's Executive Office, where he serves as adviser to the foundation’s Human Services and Health program teams and its Social Investment Practice. He also supports the Executive Office in special initiatives and cross-program collaborations.
Prior to joining Kresge, he served as president and CEO of St. Luke’s Health Initiatives, a foundation based in Phoenix. Fred has been a senior adviser to former U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan in the Obama administration, serving as liaison to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on issues affecting homeless persons, older Americans and persons with disabilities. Previously, he served as deputy assistant secretary for special needs at HUD, director of the Office of AIDS Housing, and acting executive director of the Interagency Council on the Homeless in the Clinton administration. He also served as former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano’s policy adviser on urban affairs and in her cabinet as director of the Arizona Department of Housing and executive director of the Arizona Housing Finance Authority.
His nonprofit work has included: service as executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, a Washington-based advocacy group; the Central Florida Coalition for the Homeless in Orlando; the Community Housing Partnership in Phoenix; and time at Area Agencies on Aging in Arizona and Virginia.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in city planning from the University of Virginia School of Architecture, and both a master’s of social work degree and a certificate in gerontology from Virginia Commonwealth University. He earned a doctoral degree from the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech.
Photo: Douglas Schaible