Karen Scharff

Executive Director, Citizen Action of New York

Karen Scharff has served as the Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York since 1984. Citizen Action is a statewide grassroots organization that empowers New Yorkers to fight for social, economic and racial justice, with a focus on policy change at the state level. Citizen Action has 40,000 members and eight regional chapters/affiliates with offices across the state. Karen is one of the founders of the Alliance for Quality Education, and continues to co-chairs AQE’s steering committee. AQE was founded in 2000 to fight for a high quality public education for every child in New York State, with a focus on fair state funding and accountability of school districts to parents and communities. Karen is a co-chair of the Working Families Party, as well as a co-chair of the WFP’s Capital District chapter. Prior to joining the staff of Citizen Action in 1983 as Organizing Director, Karen was a community organizer and lead organizer for Connecticut Citizen Action Group from 1980 to 1983. She organized for the Carolina Brown Lung Association in Aiken County, South Caroline from 1979 to 1980. She graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. from Harvard University in 1979.