Spotlight On: Jana Karp

A life devoted to education.


Jana Karp has been committed to improving educational opportunities for young people since beginning her career as an elementary school teacher in Roxbury. After spending ten years teaching, she worked as an intensive care coordinator at the Home for Little Wanderers before founding Boston Youth Sanctuary, a therapeutic after-school program for youth ages 6-11 that have experienced traumatic events or circumstances in their lives.

Karp has been involved with Steppingstone in many capacities. A longtime supporter through her family foundation, Karp also nominated many Scholars during her tenure as a teacher at Roxbury’s St. Patrick School. In 2013, she joined Steppingstone’s Board of Directors.

Q: What drew you to working with Steppingstone, and why do you continue to stay involved?

Having the advantage of knowing students that have benefitted from the experience certainly sealed the deal. My career and life focus have been dedicated to working with inner-city youth and advocating for equality in education, healthcare and services offered. Education is incredibly empowering, and our young people are worthy and deserving of higher education, but do not always have the tools and opportunities needed to access it. Steppingstone is committed to helping them achieve this end. I continue to stay involved because Steppingstone truly lives its mission and provides immeasurable opportunity for inner-city youth.

Q: Do you get an opportunity to meet the Steppingstone Scholars and/or Alumni? What makes that special?

YES!!!!! I am so fortunate to have had some of my own students matriculate through the program. Additionally, last school year a Scholar who was a senior in high school volunteered at BYS and it was an incredibly rewarding experience for both the student and the children of BYS.

Q: This year, as you know, we celebrated our 25th anniversary. What does it mean for a Boston nonprofit to have 25 years of success?

25 years and THRIVING is an immense accomplishment in the non-profit world. The students whose lives have been touched by the gift that is Steppingstone are using what they have been given to make the world a better place – what more could we hope for?