Karen Brooks Hopkins served as President of the Brooklyn Academy of Music from 1999 until her retirement in 2015, and was an employee of the institution since 1979. Hopkins served as the chair of the Cultural Institutions Group from 2002-2004, a member of the Mayor’s Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission and as a participant on Mayor de Blasio’s transition committee. From 2005-2010 she served as the Brooklyn Regent for the New York State Education Department. In 2013, Crain’s named her one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in New York,” and in 2014 she was one of ten selected into its inaugural “New York Business Hall of Fame.” From 2015-2017, she served as the Inaugural Senior Fellow in Residence at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation where her research focused on the impact of anchor cultural institutions. Columbia University conferred upon her an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on May 22nd, 2019.
Hopkins is the author of the widely read book, Successful Fundraising for Arts & Cultural Organizations, which is currently available in a revised second edition through Greenwood Publishing. Hopkins has been awarded several honorary designations for her international work in the arts including Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Republic of France, Commander of the Royal Order of the Polar Star from Sweden and the King Olav Medal from Norway. Hopkins serves on the boards of the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, the Trust for Governors Island and Alexander Onassis Foundation, where she is currently serving as Senior Advisor. She is currently the Nasher Haemisegger Fellow of the National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) at Southern Methodist University.