Karen Kavanaugh directs Pew’s financial security and mobility project, which conducts original research to assess family balance sheets and their effect on economic mobility across diverse U.S. households.
Previously, she directed Pew’s home visiting project, which guided state policy and advocacy work to increase state and federal investments in home visiting family support programs and helped states improve the accountability and performance of their home visiting systems. Kavanaugh also served on Pew’s emerging issues team, helping to identify potential areas of engagement for state-based work. Before coming to Pew, she was a policy adviser at various levels of Michigan state and local governments, including to former Governor Jennifer Granholm.
She received a bachelor’s degree in social work from Wayne State University and a master’s in social work from the University of Michigan.