Karen Cohen

President Emerita & Founder

Karen Cohen founded the Randall’s Island Park Alliance in 1992 with the belief that access to high quality outdoor fields, play spaces and nature is key to the quality of life of all New Yorkers. Her vision led to the Island’s historic transformation of nearly 330 acres of sports fields, natural areas, pathways and open parkland.

Karen’s early career in interior design, combined with her commitment to children and love of sports, played an influential role in the development and redesign of Randall’s Island. Her philanthropic endeavors have included service on numerous nonprofit Boards, and she has been recognized for her contributions to New York City both locally and internationally.

In 2004 Karen was profiled in the Italian magazine Ventiquattro, which recognized the impact of her work on NYC. She was also honored by the Parks Council of NYC (now New Yorkers for Parks) for the creation of RIPA, and in 2008 received the Brooke Russell Astor Award for Philanthropy in recognition of her leadership of the Alliance.

Karen has two children, who inspired her to begin this work, and five grandchildren, who continue to keep her motivated!