Karen Robertson-Fall is an LASVP Partner who has dedicated more than 15 years of her life to serving vulnerable and underserved people. She is currently a Program Officer in the Planning & Development department at First 5 Los Angeles.
Q: How were you introduced to LASVP?
Karen: I found out about LASVP in 2006 when I was doing some research for our social venture fund at First 5 LA. That was my first exposure to SVP, and after exploring the organization a little bit more I was able to come on as a David Rimer Fellow Associate Partner.
What inspires you to want to make a difference?
Karen: During a post graduate school trip to Jamaica, I began having difficulty seeing in one eye. After an MRI, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Back then the prognosis was very grim—the doctors told me that I wouldn’t be able to have children, that I wouldn’t be able to walk. With the prospect of a shortened lifespan in front of me, I realized that I wanted to spend my life doing something that mattered, something that would make as much of an impact as possible. I’ve now lived with MS for 22 years, made a career in philanthropy, and with the improved treatments and technology, my disability hasn’t stopped me from doing everything I can to make an impact.
What is your favorite part about being involved in LASVP?
Karen: I love reading the proposals we receive, both the applications for the Fast Pitch program and from organizations applying to be our next Investee. It’s great to be exposed to all the creative problem-solving that people are doing—usually you only hear about the problems.
What did you dream of being when you were a kid?
Karen: A Supreme Court Justice. When I was little my dad told me that the most powerful thing a President can do is appoint Justices to the Supreme Court, because they do so much to shape the law and the country. I thought that would be a great way to do something important.
What do you listen to when you’re stuck in traffic?
Karen: My husband and I are big Christian music fans. We listen to a lot of Gospel and Christian Rock on Pandora.
Who was your favorite teacher in school?
Karen: My 5th grade teacher really changed my life. She was totally committed to me becoming an A student. We had this astronomy class that I was really into—and I was the only person in the class to get all A’s on the tests. She really praised me and encouraged me for that accomplishment, and it changed my way of thinking about what I could be.
You can find out more about all of our Partners by clicking here.