Karina Claudio Betancourt is a Program Officer with the Open Society Foundations and works with the Open Places Initiative, a placed-based initiative in three sites: Buffalo, Puerto Rico, and San Diego. She is a skilled community organizer with several years of management, advocacy, policy analysis, fundraising and grant writing experience. She has particular experience working/organizing to empower low wage workers, immigrants, LGBTQ individuals and individuals living in the intersection of these identities.

Karina most recently hails from the New York City Council, where she served as the Senior Director of the Community Engagement Division in the Office of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. In this capacity, she directed the implementation of a citywide Participatory Budgeting project, as well as the implementation of several pro-LGBTQ rights policies.

From 2008 to 2014, she was a staff person at Make the Road New York (MRNY), where she oversaw its LGBTQ Justice Project. She also helped open MRNY’s new office in Brentwood, Long Island, where she supervised its immigration, housing, civic engagement and leadership development programs.

Karina grew up in Puerto Rico, where she attended the University of Puerto Rico, graduating with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies. She moved to NYC in 2007, where she attended New York University and received a M.A. in Performance Studies.