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Carolyn Stolper Friedman, MA, President Emerita



Carolyn founded Smart Love Family Services as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in July 2002 and led it for 22 years as its Executive Director and president. She retired in 2023 as President Emerita. During her tenure she expanded its programs and staff to establish mental health counseling services, The Natalie G. Heineman Smart Love Preschool, and its therapeutic tutoring and psychological testing programs. She also oversaw the purchase and renovation of its facility in Logan Square to house the preschool, counseling and tutoring programs, and executive offices.

She began her nonprofit career in arts administration in New York City working for Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, The National Fund for Dance, Playwrights Horizons, AFS International and then in Chicago, where she headed the Development Department and Capital Campaign to build the Museum of Contemporary Arts facility on Chicago Avenue. With the birth of her child, she learned about the Smart Love approach and after several years of nonprofit consulting with Smith, Beers, Yunker decided to create an organization to offer a range of services to parents and children informed by Smart Love.

Carolyn is the author of Successful Fundraising for Arts and Culture Organizations, currently in its 2nd edition. She holds a BA in Art History and Ibero-American Studies and a MA in Business-Arts Administration from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

“When I began working on what was to become Smart Love Family Services, I could not have imagined the life-changing positive impact we would have on thousands of children and families in our community! It has been a privilege to work with so many dedicated employees, board members, and volunteers over the years to ensure the organization flourishes.” -Carolyn Stolper Friedman


Kathryn Karn, Chair Emerita






Katie served as Chair of the Board of Directors from 2016 to 2023. She was a consultant for 17 years prior to leaving the workforce to care for her three young children. As a principal at a leading economics consulting firm, she specialized in damages analysis for high stakes patent infringement and securities transactions litigation. Katie holds a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business.

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