Michelle Foster, Ph.D | Biography
Dr. Foster used these skills to transform KISRA into one of the most impactful and enterprising community-based, non-profit organizations in West Virginia. She developed all of KISRA’s programs, which are in the areas of Health, Employment, Asset Development and Learning. Under her leadership, KISRA grew from one employee sponsored by Ferguson Memorial Baptist Church (KISRA’s founder) to a team of over 60 employees with funding from multiple local, state, and federal sources. The KISRA team now serves and empowers over 2,500 West Virginians annually. Her work at KISRA has been recognized locally and nationally. She was honored as a Fatherhood Champion of Change by President Obama at the White House in 2012. The WV Martin Luther King Holiday Commission honored her in 2016 with the Living the Dream Award.
Michelle has a doctorate in community economic development (CED) and two master’s degrees – one in CED and another in engineering management. She is also a certified economic development financial professional and a certified housing development financial professional. Prior to her CED career at KISRA, Dr. Foster was a chemical engineer at Union Carbide (now Dow Chemical). Most recently, she completed additional university-level studies in impact investing at the University of Oxford, Saïd Business School as well as in nonprofit management and leadership at Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Dr. Foster is chairperson of the West Virginia Community Development Hub Board of Directors and a founding member of the giving circle, African American Philanthropy in Action (AAPA).