Karen Scharff

Strategist + Facilitator

Karen Scharff is a life-long community organizer who ran Citizen Action of New York for 35 years, and was a founder and leader of the NY Working Families Party and the Alliance for Quality Education. Karen’s work has focused primarily on building power at the state level by combining grassroots organizing, coalition building and electoral campaigns. She built Citizen Action of NY into a powerful statewide grassroots organization with eight regional chapters across the state, and a track record of leading successful local, statewide and national issue campaigns. Citizen Action was also a founding member of the NY Working Families Party, and Karen served as co-chair of the party for a decade, playing a leadership role in progressive electoral campaigns and strategy. She was also a founder and co-chair of the Alliance for Quality Education, which won equitable school funding across NY State.

Karen now works as a strategic advisor and consultant, helping groups develop strategies and alliances to build power and advance a justice agenda. She works with Working Families Party to build strong state chapters, with GPP to advance state alignment and strategic practices, and with community-based groups in New York to build their shared power and shared strategies to advance a progressive statewide agenda.

Analysis by Karen Scharff