Senior Fellow, The Kresge Foundation
Funders Together Vice-Chair
Fred Karnas joined The Kresge Foundation staff in 2013. He is a Senior Fellow in the Executive Office of the foundation, where he serves as a senior adviser to the foundation’s Human Services and Health teams, and supports the executive team in special initiatives and cross-program collaborations. He brings a long history of work on issues related to the intersection of housing, health, and human services, with a special focus on addressing the needs of vulnerable populations.
Prior to joining Kresge, he served as president and CEO of St. Luke’s Health Initiatives, a foundation based in Phoenix. Fred provided leadership for grant-making, policy analysis, capacity building and community development work, all focused on creating healthy communities.
Fred has been a senior adviser to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan in the Obama administration, serving as HUD's liaison to the 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 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 and the Community Housing Partnership in Phoenix, as well time at Area Agencies on Aging in Arizona and Virginia, He holds a bachelor’s of city planning degree from the University of Virginia School of Architecture, and 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.