Karen Leshner is the founder of Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation, a family foundation focused on education in the San Francisco Bay Area. Intrepid’s mission is to identify, recruit, mentor and recognize superior teachers and school leaders. By investing in these individuals, Intrepid believes that we help create environments in which students can flourish. Intrepid manages its own grant program, the LIGHT Awards, which provides funding directly to cohorts of teachers interested in directing their own professional learning and growth. Since its inception in 2014, the LIGHT Awards have supported over 180 teachers working on 37 projects. Karen is also a board member of the New Teacher Center.
Prior to launching Intrepid, Karen was the founder and portfolio manager of an investment business based in Palo Alto, California. Before her work in finance, she spent the first several years of her career as an engineer. Karen was also a volunteer music teacher for eight years at her local elementary school. She has a degree in Electrical Engineer from the University of Virginia, and a Masters in Business Administration from Vanderbilt University. She also has a long standing Ashtanga yoga practice.