Karen Baker

Chief Service Officer @ CaliforniaVolunteers

Karen Baker currently serves as California’s Chief Service Officer for Governor Jerry Brown. She leads CaliforniaVolunteers, the State Service Commission charged with administering the nation’s largest state AmeriCorps portfolio. In addition, CaliforniaVolunteers serves as the lead agency for disaster volunteering and donations management, and promotes volunteering and service across California.

Initially appointed in February 2006, Karen has forged vibrant public-private partnerships resulting in the creation of successful innovations, including the California Disaster Corps, Business Partners Program and the CaliforniaVolunteers Service Enterprise Initiative. She serves on a number of national service boards and coalitions including Voices for National Service, The Presidio Institute, and Reimagining Service.

Karen’s 20-plus year career began with a year of service as a Jesuit Volunteer Corps member, working with at-risk youth. Her solutions-based innovations have been fundamental to her work in settings ranging from Johns Hopkins University to Chrysalis, a Los-Angeles based homeless nonprofit, to the Corporation for National and Community Service.

While at the Corporation for National and Community Service, she served in the Clinton administration as the Deputy Director of AmeriCorps*VISTA and the Director of Special Projects for CEO Harris Wafford. Her interest in addressing poverty issues led her to Share Our Strength, where as the Director of Innovation, she led “Taste of the Nation,” a fundraising platform in 50 states and Canada. She returned to Sacramento as the Managing Partner of Valley Vision, an “action tank” that addresses regional economic, environmental, and social issues, and then began her state service with CaliforniaVolunteers.

Karen holds her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Karen, her husband Ed, and her two children live in Sacramento.