Susan Downs-Karkos

Susan Downs-Karkos is Director of Immigrant Integration at The Beacon Fund, a Denver-based social impact organization focused on positive social change. She drives and hones the organization’s national and regional immigration strategy and brings forward emerging opportunities for exploration and investment. Prior to this role, Susan was the Senior Director of External Affairs at Welcoming America, a national network of local governments and nonprofits working to promote inclusive, economically vibrant communities.  During her eight-year tenure, Susan developed partnerships, toolkits. and trainings to address new and emerging needs in the field related to immigrant inclusion and bridge building with the long-term, receiving community.  

Prior to Welcoming America, Susan served as Director of Integration Strategies at Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning, where she managed programs for foreign trained health professionals and health literacy for immigrants. She also served for more than a decade at The Colorado Trust, where as a senior program officer, she designed and managed the Supporting Immigrant and Refugee Families Initiative, an $18 million effort to engage immigrants and members of receiving communities in local immigrant integration efforts. She is a former national board co-chair of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) and was involved in the creation of GCIR’s immigrant integration Toolkit in 2006.  She has written and spoken widely about the importance of immigrant integration and strategies for promoting it.  She holds a B.A. in psychology from Bates College.