Karen Halazon joined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in March, 2005, and in her role as Deputy General Counsel provides a full range of legal support primarily to the Foundation's Global Growth and Opportunity Program (Agricultural Development, Financial Services for the Poor and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene), its US Program (US education initiatives, economic mobility programs and initiatives benefitting Washington State), and Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations, LLC - a nonprofit Foundation affiliate. Ms. Halazon develops innovative and practical solutions to a wide range of challenging legal, operational and business issues, and has significant experience structuring, negotiating and managing complex grants and program-related investments (PRIs), advising on affiliate formation and governance matters, and advising on compliance with the unique tax and other U.S. and foreign laws applicable to private foundations operating globally.
Prior to joining the foundation, Karen was an attorney with the Washington, D.C. law firm of Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan LLP. As part of the firm's Tax Practice, she advised exempt organizations on various matters including the application of the private foundation excise taxes, permissible legislative and political activities, UBIT issues, the formation/operation of business subsidiaries, public disclosure requirements, anti-terrorist financing procedures, and private inurement and private benefit issues. Prior to joining Sutherland, Karen practiced law with the Washington law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson & Hand, where she counseled exempt organizations regarding domestic and international grantmaking and PRIs.
Karen received her B.A., summa cum laude, from Boston University, and her J.D., cum laude, from the University of Notre Dame School of Law. She also received an LL.M., with distinction, from Georgetown University. She is a frequent speaker at continuing legal education courses and other seminars focusing on exempt organization issues, and she is a member of the Board of Directors of the GSMA Foundation