The Center for Elder Law & Justice is proud to announce that CEO Karen Nicolson has been selected as a Finalist for the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo’s Centennial Awards. Karen is nominated for the Cause Award, which honors a change maker dedicated to addressing a pressing issue in our region.
The winner in each category will be awarded $100,000 to assist a Western NY nonprofit organization, and $100,000 to endow an invested fund at the Community Foundation. Finalists will each be awarded $25,000 for a nonprofit of their choice.
More about Karen:
Karen Nicolson has the innate ability to connect the dots when it comes to early identification of elder abuse. An issue that includes everything from physical and emotional abuse to financial exploitation, she has dedicated the last 16 years to bringing awareness to this complex and often undetected problem.
With 1,500 cases of elder abuse reported annually in Erie County alone, and only a small percentage of all cases ever reported, Karen saw the need to shine a light on the problem, provide services to those in abusive situations and educate the community. Her work in this area has led to one of the most robust elder abuse prevention programs in the state. As CEO of the Center for Elder Law and Justice, a nonprofit civil legal service provider that serves all eight counties of Western New York, Karen secured a grant in 2008 that allowed her to train law enforcement to identify the issue and hire a staff attorney to work with aging clients in abusive situations. Today, Karen has expanded her team of attorneys, social workers and paralegals to represent over 500 clients and have performed outreach to thousands more.
Karen’s leadership has contributed to a strong network of agencies working together to fight abuse of our aging population, and today her organization coordinates multi-disciplinary teams in five counties across Western New York.
Exemplifying someone who is mission-driven, Karen has improved the quality of life for our older residents by assuring they live independently and with dignity.