Karen Pittman co-founded the Forum for Youth Investment (FYI), with Merita Irby in 1998, and currently serves as its President and CEO.
Prior to founding the FYI, Ms. Pittman worked with ret. Gen. Colin Powell and Alma Powell to create America's Promise the 350+ partner network aimed at improving the lives of young people by connecting more of them with the resources essential for success. She came to that role through her work with the International Youth Foundation (IYF) where she served on the executive team, helping the organization strengthen its program content and develop an evaluation strategy.
Ms. Pittman was recruited to the IYF from the Clinton administration, which she joined in 1995 as director of the President's Crime Prevention Council. There she worked with 13 cabinet secretaries to create a coordinated prevention agenda. Just prior, in 1990, she was a vice president at the Academy for Educational Development, where she founded and directed the Center for Youth Development and Policy Research and its spin-off, the National Training Institute for Community Youth Work. Before that, she launched the Children's Defense Fund's adolescent pregnancy prevention initiatives and helped to create its adolescent policy agenda. Ms. Pittman started her career at the Urban Institute, conducting studies on social services for children and families.
Ms. Pittman has written extensively on youth issues, including as a regular columnist for Youth Today. She currently sits on the America’s Promise Board of Trustees, and on the boards of JCPenney Afterschool Fund, and the National Human Services Assembly, and chairs the board of the National Collaboration for Youth.
Ms. Pittman has been honored with the National Commission for African American Education Augustus F. Hawkins Service Award (2002), the American Youth Policy Forum Decade of Service Award for Sustained Visionary Leadership in Advancing Youth Policy (2003) and the Healthy Teen Network Sprit of Service Award (2007), and in 2009 was recognized in The NonProfit Times' Power & Influence Top 50.