Champion Spotlight: Meet Karen Law
We each have only one life. What do we do with it? Karen Law found her answer on a stage in a crowded community theater.
Karen is one of those people who commit fully to their values. Most recently, she committed to joining MAF’s Adelante Advisory Council (AAC), a committee whose members play a key role in building awareness and cultivating financial support for MAF. We’re thrilled to benefit not only from her broad skillset, but her even greater perspective.
Karen is not one to shy away from life’s big questions.
Having been diagnosed with cancer in her early twenties, Karen couldn’t afford to leave these questions to the never-arriving “someday.” Her core values were defined early on and crystallized further when she received a terminal diagnosis for her husband of 10 years.
“I accompanied my husband Eric through the final 14 months of his life; living life intensely and intentionally using the end as the starting point,” she recounts.
More than anything else, the value of community defined Karen’s life during this time.
As word spread in her network of Eric’s condition, the couple found themselves at the center of a web of care, support, and humanity.
Karen started a private Facebook group to share periodic health updates to a few friends and family. Soon the group swelled to over 900 members, each willing to do anything in their power to provide support.
“I felt I could just ask and someone would find an answer,” she explains. “That community could have done anything.”
Fourteen months after the diagnosis, Eric passed away. Karen reflected on the feeling she was now living for two lives. She looked to the rest of her years, knowing each day was to be treasured, and began to wonder what she had to offer the world.
Intuition provided an answer. Since the passing of her husband, Karen had found herself drawn to the potential of alternate resources, ignoring traditional boundaries between philanthropy, venture capital, and volunteering.
Like MAF, Karen realized the best of finance could be put to work in service of community.
“I’d seen how powerful it was to organize people around a common goal,” she shared. “I wondered, ‘What would it look like if communities came together like this when there ISN’T a crisis?’”
This question led Karen to founding Infinite Community Ventures, a fund that draws from across philanthropy and private investing to “build and strengthen communities through Sustainability, Equitable Empowerment, and the Arts.”
Resolved, Karen is putting her remaining years to work in service of community, passing forward what she’d received in abundance during her husband’s final months. She is now leveraging the resources, skills, and knowledge she has for those left in the shadows.
“Community to me is when you say, ‘Let me look at your problems as my own, and share what I have with you,’” Karen explains. “It’s really quite simple.”
In this, we at MAF see eye to eye. Karen first learned of MAF through her local community foundation. MAF was a grant recipient and we quickly saw in each other a shared understanding of community as a continual process of reaching out, listening, and connecting with authenticity.
“The MAF team was the only one who reached out to me and asked, ‘Who are you, and what’s your interest in financial empowerment?’ I have deep admiration for and am always happy to work with people who can see the bigger picture and spot opportunities.”
We are excited to welcome Karen as a MAFista.
While her experience stands on its own, Karen’s passion for showing up, in the truest sense, embodies the MAF spirit. She has lived it herself, after all.
The last performance she and her husband shared was Fiddler On The Roof. Eric led the orchestra and was also on stage as the fiddler. The theater on opening night was packed.
“This was the first time I experienced community. It’s hard to talk about death. But it’s easy to care by attending our show. So people showed up. I’ll never forget that.”