Kerry A. Olson

Founder & President Emeritus

A lifelong advocate for children with a passion for community-based approaches to creating change, Kerry Olson founded Firelight Foundation with her husband Dave Katz in 1999. She served as President of the Board until 2013. Now, as President Emeritus, Kerry remains an active board member.

In 2007, Kerry and Dave were recognized by Geneva Global and Barron's Magazine as being among 10 philanthropists nationwide whose foundations "epitomized thoughtful and effective giving."

From 2006 to 2016, Kerry served as the founding Chair of the Faith to Action Initiative, which promotes and supports informed engagement on the part of churches and faith-based groups addressing the needs of children in Africa and beyond. She is the lead author of two widely endorsed resource guides on community and family-based care for children, From Faith to Action (2006, 2008) and Journeys of Faith (2011) and co-author of the Transitioning to Family Care for Children: A Guidance Manual.

Prior to Firelight, Kerry worked for 25 years in the nonprofit sector as an educator, the founding director of child/parent community centers, and as a research social scientist at SRI International. She has a PhD in Developmental Psychology and Education from The University of Michigan.