Karen A. Dehais has been appointed as the new diocesan director and president of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rochester. Dehais will succeed Jack Balinsky, who is retiring as diocesan director and president after leading Catholic Charities for nearly 30 years.
A native of western New York, Dehais will direct the diocesan Catholic Charities family of agencies that serve more than 250,000 people annually in the 12-county diocese in such areas as home-purchase assistance; senior services; emergency services for food, clothing and housing; help for the homeless; assistance to developmentally disabled people; help for people with mental illness; migrant-family assistance; and help with addiction, among others.
“I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to lead the team of dedicated professionals at Catholic Charities who deliver vital services that make a positive impact for people in need,” Dehais said in a news release announcing her appointment. “I look forward to building on the rich tradition of service and advocacy for which Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rochester is known.”
Most recently, Dehais has served as evaluation and learning officer for the Health Forward Foundation in Kansas City, Mo., where she guided assessment of community needs to inform organizational strategy and investment of a $20 million annual grant-making budget. Previously, she founded and served for more than 12 years as principal consultant of Strategic Solutions Consulting. She also previously served as regional director for outreach in Dutchess County for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, and associate executive director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany.
Dehais has a master’s of arts degree in public policy from Duke University and a master’s of science degree in epidemiology from the State University of New York at Albany. She also has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Notre Dame.
Dehais will begin her position Jan. 8, 2022.