Karen Phillips is the co-founder of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Phillips Charitable Organization (PCO). Together with her husband, Charles Phillips, she established PCO in 2010 in order to support wounded veterans, single parents, and engineering students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The organization operates with no administrative overhead and only a few board members who volunteer their time. This structure allows PCO to act quickly in response to grant requests and to devote 100% of its budget to financial aid.
Unique among charitable foundations, PCO offers smaller grants to individuals and families that can provide lifesaving support when they need it the most. PCO also responds to grant applications quickly, often within as little as 48 hours. This quick response can deliver urgently needed funds for people in crisis—for example, when they are facing eviction, an unsafe living situation, or other emergencies.
Beyond single-parent families, PCO also extends support to engineering students and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, in recognition of the fact that the STEM fields are critical to the American economy and for the advancement of society. Assistance for wounded veterans constitutes the final focus area for PCO. With four board members who have served as military officers, PCO understands the sacrifices and struggles of our country’s military members, and seeks to support these men and women as they transition back to civilian life.