Communities are collaborative.


KLB Advisory Services works with nonprofits, philanthropies, and local governments on projects and strategies designed to reflect the aspirations of its community members.

Architect Max Bond believed we had a responsibility to “design the built environment in a manner that expresses the cultural traditions, needs, and aspirations of our society.”

Through creative partnerships and collective action, communities can be places where everyone can afford to live, has access to opportunity, and feels connection and belonging.


Learning &

  • Construct meaningful learning questions and measurement strategies
  • Determine how and whether a program had the impact intended

Strategy & Program Development:

  • Develop data-based strategies for achieving a client’s goals
  • Design programs that maximize social impact


  • Shepherd a concept, program, initiative, or event from inception to completion


Karen Minkel’s work over the last 17 years in local government and philanthropy has been to capture the aspirations of a growing and diversifying population, both in how communities are built and how we use public spaces to foster inclusion. As the Home Region Program Director at the Walton Family Foundation, she launched the Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program and managed a portfolio of over $300 million in grants, supporting the development of a sense of place and belonging, wealth creation, and an arts and culture ecosystem in Northwest Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta. 

She has been a Senior Research Officer of strategy, learning, and evaluation at one of the largest family foundations in the U.S. and worked in multiple leadership roles in local government. Karen has an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and a Master of Public Policy from the University of California at Berkeley. She has served on the boards of the Walton Charitable Support Foundation and Thaden School and as a member of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Community Advisory Council. 

Select Speaking Engagements: 
  • “Navigating the Board Room and Beyond” at Soiree’s inaugural Women’s Leadership Symposium, April 2019
  • “Out here in the middle: Perspectives from the Heartland” at the Grantmakers in the Arts national conference, (panel discussion with the Windgate Foundation and Mid-America Arts Alliance) October 2018
  • “Arts and Culture as an Economic Driver for Communities” at Women in the World, April 2018
  • “Making the Ripples Go Further” at the Congress for the New Urbanism national conference, May 2017
  • “The Arts and Place-making” at the National Council on Foundations national conference, April 2016

Making the Ripples Go Farther

Karen Minkel

Learn how a diverse coalition of local government, businesses, and a foundation are helping a region get out in front of rapid growth and into vibrant future.

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