Karen Keating Ansara

Karen and her husband Jim’s inspiration for philanthropy comes from the adoption of their four young adult children, with whom they live in Essex, MA and Boston’s Back Bay.  Witnessing the conditions in which millions of children are born and raised, they have been making grants to end global poverty and build health systems, primarily in Haiti, via a fund at The Boston Foundation since 2006.  Recognizing a dearth of learning opportunities for herself and other globally focused funders, Karen co-founded New England International Donors in 2008.  She continues to serve as Chair of the Steering Committee of NEID, based at The Philanthropic Initiative and The Boston Foundation. 

In 2010, in the immediate days after the horrific earthquake in Haiti, Karen co-founded with The Boston Foundation the Haiti Fund.  Guided by a primarily Haitian Advisory Board, the Fund made over $4.2 million in grants for humanitarian relief and development over five years.  After participating on the Advisory Board and Grantmaking Committee, and now serving on the Board of the Haiti Development Institute (HDI), Karen is committed to strengthening Haitian-led NGOS and improving collaboration among those who fund them. 

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Jim Ansara

Jim Ansara is a retired general contractor who founded Shawmut Design and Construction in Boston in the early 1980’s – now one of the top 25 construction companies in the US.  During that time Shawmut was proclaimed one of the best places to work in Massachusetts and named by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in the US or five years in a row.  After retiring from active management, Jim served as Chairman of the Board for over ten years before redirecting his energy to the developing world.

Since retirement from Shawmut Jim has been dedicated to actively participating in programs that make a tangible difference in the lives of poor and underprivileged people. While at Shawmut he led several teams of Shawmut volunteers to build low-tech, clean water systems in Nicaragua with the organization, El Porvenir. After reading the classic book Mountains Beyond Mountains Jim became eager to visit Haiti in 2009. That trip with Dr. Paul Farmer led to an invitation to build a 100-bed community hospital with Partners in Health (PIH) in Haiti’s Central Plateau – a process that took a major turn when a massive earthquake struck the country on January 10, 2010.

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