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MDA Appoints Karen Lewis Alexander as Chief Revenue Officer

CHICAGO, Dec. 1, 2016 – After a comprehensive, nationwide search, MDA is pleased to announce the appointment of Karen Lewis Alexander as its new Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer. Alexander will join MDA in this newly created leadership role as a member of its Executive Staff Team beginning Tuesday, January 17.

Karen Alexander.

Alexander will lead all aspects of MDA’s fundraising, supervising its current Field and National Income staff leaders. She will have accountability for strengthening its ties with current partners and supporters, expanding its existing fundraising programs, adding new sources of income, and forging new relationships to help MDA achieve its life-changing mission goals.

“Karen is a highly accomplished, strategic and passionate development professional who has led successful teams, secured transformational philanthropic gifts, sponsorships and partnerships, and helped achieve growth at every institution where she has worked," said MDA President and CEO Steven M. Derks. “We are delighted to have her join our team at this pivotal time of therapy development, improved multi-disciplinary care, increased inclusion and opportunities for our families. Bringing both our Field and National Income Development teams together structurally under Karen’s leadership will allow for more integration, collaboration and opportunities for growth.”

Alexander has held fundraising leadership roles for cultural, academic medicine, university and religious non-profit organizations. Early in her career she also served as a corporate sales manager.

“MDA’s commitment to its mission, rich history and fresh direction are compelling,” Alexander said. “I look forward to getting to know our existing partners, supporters and staff, and to building new networks of philanthropy and sponsorship on behalf of kids and adults living with muscle-related diseases.”

Most recently, Alexander served as the Vice President of Development and an officer at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association (CSOA), overseeing annual giving, corporate sponsorships, foundation relations, individual major gifts, planned giving, and a $250-million capital campaign.

Prior to CSOA, she served as Senior Vice President of Development and External Affairs at Loyola University Health System in suburban Chicago which includes the Cardinal Stritch Medical School, Niehoff School of Nursing and Ronald McDonald Children's Hospital. Before her leadership role at Loyola, Alexander served in senior development and advancement roles at the University of Chicago and was instrumental in helping achieve a $2 billion fundraising campaign. From a corporate sales perspective, Alexander worked for six years as Vice President of Market Development for a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, creating new relationships and growing revenue with major retailers such as Target, Toys “R” Us, QVC, Costco and Sam’s Club. She also served in development roles for Indiana University and started her career at Union Theological Seminary in New York.

Alexander grew up in Boston and earned her bachelor’s degree from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. She is active with industry groups such as the Association of Healthcare Philanthropy and the Association of Donor Relations Professionals. She currently resides in Chicago, where she will be based with MDA.

About MDA
MDA is leading the fight to free individuals — and the families who love them — from the harm of muscular dystrophy, ALS and related muscle-debilitating diseases that take away physical strength, independence and life. We use our collective strength to help kids and adults live longer and grow stronger by finding research breakthroughs across diseases; caring for individuals from day one; and empowering families with services and support in hometowns across America. Learn how you can fund cures, find care and champion the cause at

Roxan Olivas
Muscular Dystrophy Association
Vice President — Public Relations and Community Programs
(520) 529-5305