Remembering Karen Chizeck (1959-2018)

Karen Chizeck, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit and political fundraising consultant, died on August 31. She suffered from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

She had a distinguished fundraising career. Before establishing her consulting practice, Karen worked for US Sen. John Heinz (R-PA), WHYY-TV 12, and Fox Chase Cancer Center. Her consulting clients included US Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), state Sens. Joe Rocks (R-PA) and Bruce Marks (R-PA), Philadelphia mayoral candidate Sam Katz (R), Republicans for Choice, Pennsylvania Ballet, Temple University Health Systems, and Friends of Old Pine Street. She also served as a Republican Ward Leader in Philadelphia.

I was fortunate to have been friends with Karen. Decades ago, we met when we both first got involved with the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Philadelphia Chapter. We served on the same committee that happened to meet early in the morning, prior to the traditional workday. At the committee’s inaugural meeting, everyone was quite chipper, that is with the exception of Karen and me. We were the only non-morning people on the committee and, therefore, we developed an instant bond.

Karen Chizeck

Karen and I would always sit next to each other during the committee meetings. We would share side-jokes and, I’m sure, brilliantly witty comments; it kept us awake those early mornings. At one point, the committee chair jokingly threatened to separate us – at least I think she was joking.

Eventually, Karen and I both served on the AFP/GPC board together. I always appreciated her insights, dedication to the profession, common-sense views and, oh yes, her sense of humor. Whenever we would get together socially, we’d always end up having spirited conversations about politics, philanthropy, or pretty much anything else. We did not always agree, but we respected and challenged each other. We each could always rely on the honesty of the other.

As I said, I was fortunate to have been friends with Karen.

She is survived by her husband, Jeffrey Arkin, three stepchildren, a sister, a brother, an uncle and several aunts, nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, Delaware Valley Chapter, 399 Market St., Suite 102, Philadelphia, PA 19106.

Goodbye, my friend.

That’s what Michael Rosen says… What do you say?

6 Comments to “Remembering Karen Chizeck (1959-2018)”

  1. I’m so sorry to hear this. Thoughts and prayers with Karen’s family and her professional community and with you Michael. Erica

  2. I am sorry for your loss; this is a lovely tribute to Karen.

  3. As the daughter of two parent’s with dementia (one with vascular dementia and the other with Parkinson’s dementia) I can tell you how devastating this disease, including Alzheimer’s, is. I admire that you remember the good qualities that made your friend the exceptional person she was. Not many really understand the traits that make a professional fundraiser exceptional and your artical memorialized one of the few who certainly did understand the profession.

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