Scholar Profile - Karen Hart PDF Print E-mail
Karen Hart


General Manager at The Youth Junction Inc

Recipient of the 2014 Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Non-Profit Leadership, funded by the Origin Foundation and supported by the Australian Scholarships Foundation

What sort of work does your organisation do?

The Youth Junction is a not-for-profit organisation, established in 2005. We carry out three primary roles:

  • Project Management - responsible for the governance and day to day management of the Visy Cares Hub and co-located model. The Visy Cares Hub comprises 15 diverse not-for-profit organisations who work with disadvantages young people aged between 12-25 years. Services included in the model are mental health, housing, new arrivals support, education, employment and training, AOD and legal support.
  • Youth Service Innovation - design and deliver crime prevention programs for young people.
  • Research and Development - develop the organisational capacity and build evidence of the critical success factors that create successful co-located not-for-profit centre for young people.

Describe a typical day's work.

As General Manager I am responsible for the overall management of the co-located youth centre along with fundraising, finance and design and provision of targeted programs for young people.

My typical day entails managing staff, designing programs, building operations, engendering collaborative practice and relationship building with stakeholders. We have ongoing youth programs throughout the year, young people accessing the centre every day and 3 major events per year - National Youth Day (March / April), International Youth Day (12 August) and Christmas Day (25 December).

How did you come to be working in the not-for-profit sector?

I am a trained child protection and youth justice social worker, and spent many years working with children and young people in the government sector.

Though this work, I was continually inspired by the enormous contribution the not-for-profit sector makes to supporting communities and how NFP organisations are able to innovate to address gaps in service provision for vulnerable populations.

I was drawn to work in the NFP sector in 2000, as I wanted to support the sector in creating projects, raising funds and building projects that in turn developed the social capital of local communities. This continues to drive and inspire me and in the last ten years I have had the opportunity to seek out ways to support the NFP sector in streamlining services, working collaboratively and effectively to meet the needs of people, particularly young people who do not fit neatly into government programs.

What do you feel is most needed to sustain and build the impact of the not-for-profit sector?

  • Recognition - a workforce that is recognised for the enormous value it makes to addressing and rectifying the psycho-social-bio and economic problems that local, state and federal government are not able to address within local communities.
  • Material support - for governments to make available land and real estate opportunities to be taken over by the NFP sector to create service delivery centres that are accessible and available for disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.
  • Research and Evidence - government funded research and conference support services to promote the work of the NFP sector.

What is something interesting / unique / unusual about you?

I am eternally optimistic - I hold the belief (and I have seen it in numerous selfless acts of kindness and empathy throughout my career) that genuinely good and compassionate people will continue to build the capacity of humanity.

Click here to read about other ASF scholars.

Click here to read more about the Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Non Profit Leadership.

"I hold the belief...that genuinely good and compassionate people will continue to build the capacity of humanity."


Karen is a general manager with 12 years’ experience, specialising in co-located youth service management. She is currently undertaking a PhD in the efficacy of community justice interventions to increase social capital and reduce incarceration for young adults aged 18-25 years.

In 2014, ASF awarded Karen a Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Nonprofit Leadership (funded by the Origin Foundation and supported by the Australian Scholarships Foundation).


Annual revenue / size:

Medium: $250,000 - $5m pa

Segment of NFP sector:

Social Services

Operating in: