Kari Allen

VISTA Leader

Kari is currently a first-time VISTA leader at Literacy Minnesota. She recently served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member for two organizations. Focusing on Outreach Coordination and Nonprofit Fund Development, she first gained nonprofit capacity building experience working at Champaign County Christian Health Center where she concentrated on grant research and resource development. Although the position was not intended to be remote, Kari was forced to find creative methods to help the organization grow after America’s first COVID lockdown took place just days after she started service. She fixated on expanding the growing organization’s online presence through social media and other digital platforms.

The pandemic left Kari feeling dissatisfied with her first year of service so she signed up for a second year of service at the East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center where she furthered her experience in outreach coordination and digital expansion. She tabled at various community events alongside The Refugee Center’s sister organizations and later developed a network of donors to meet the basic needs of incoming Afghan refugees.

Kari maintains in Bachelor’s in Art from Columbia College Chicago, where she started as a Journalism major but graduated as a Creative Writing major. Artistically inclined, she enjoys playing the acoustic guitar, songwriting, and studying the human experience under a creative lens. She believes that while literacy may take on a million-and-one definitions, the perception of what defines it matters the most because the lack of understanding can be weaponized against underprivileged citizens. It can best be described as the foundation for communication in a systemically multifaceted society and possess a dangerous potential to be the difference between a peaceful society and war torn one. The big picture of contributing to the development of a more empathic and inclusive world is what motivates Kari to pursue a career in nonprofit.

Kari Allen photo