Karen Marder (she/her)
Karen supervises Dutchess County Pride Center’s community outreach, programs, and operations, and works directly with program facilitators and volunteers. She is also responsible for overseeing the Youth Board and co-chairs Poughkeepsie Pride.
Karen received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Wurzweiler University. She has spent the majority of her career working to better the lives of youth (particularly LGBTQ+ youth) and their families. Karen has many years of experience in the non-profit sector. She previously held the position of Executive Director at My House, a center which aids previously incarcerated women and those recovering from addiction or domestic violence in obtaining employment skills, training, and GEDs. While there, she also helped create an after-school program for at risk youth.
Karen’s son came out as transgender in 2015. As her son began his transition, she looked for resources for LGBTQ+ youth in Dutchess County. Unfortunately, she was not able to find anything local. Knowing that her son and many other LGBTQ+ folks needed support and acceptance, the Dutchess County Pride Center went from an idea to a reality.
Before co-founding the Dutchess County Pride Center, Karen had taken some time off from work to raise her children, James and Samantha, and their puppy, Juliet. During this time, Karen was very involved in their schools PTA’s as a member of the Executive Boards of both of their schools. She also leads a Girl Scout troop and was the Volunteer Manager for their Girl Scout Service Unit.