Home Region Staff

Karen Minkel
As director of the Home Region Program, Karen is responsible for work with grantees focused on quality of life initiatives in Northwest Arkansas and the Delta Region of Arkansas and Mississippi. Karen was previously a senior research officer in the Evaluation Unit at the Foundation and provided analysis and evaluation of the Home Region Program’s grants and strategies. Before coming to the Foundation, Karen worked for the City of Fayetteville as director of strategic planning and internal consulting, administering and evaluating myriad programs, policies and processes. She has also worked in public sector consulting and served as a Teach For America corps member in Harlem. She holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.S. in Communication Studies from Northwestern University.


Rob Brothers
Rob is a consultant for the Home Region Program, after serving as director for the past five years. He previously spent 37 years as a commercial banker in Arkansas and Missouri, including a term as the chairman of the Arkansas Bankers Association. He holds a B.S.B.A. in economics and finance from Missouri Southern State University and is a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers.


Ryan Hale
Ryan Hale is a program officer for the Home Region Program and is responsible for the Northwest Arkansas and Delta region initiatives. He previously served as director of business development for the Soderquist Center for Leadership and Ethics at John Brown University and as a vice president of commercial lending at Arvest Bank in Rogers, Arkansas. Ryan was drafted by the NFL’s New York Giants and spent two seasons with the team, including their 2000 NFC championship season and Super Bowl XXXV appearance. He holds a B.S. in education from the University of Arkansas where he was a captain of the Razorback football team.


Karis Butler
Karis is the focus area coordinator/grants manager for the Foundation’s Home Region. She has a B.S. in Journalism and a M.B.A. with an emphasis in Leadership and Ethics from John Brown University. Concurrent with her master’s program, Karis also served as a project coordinator at The Soderquist Center as a graduate fellowship recipient.


Angela Shirey
Angela is a Home Region program consultant focusing on the Delta Region of Arkansas and Mississippi. Prior to joining the Foundation, she was a policy advisor consultant for the Delta Regional Authority and held several director roles at Teach For America. Angela holds a B.A. in business administration from Tennessee State University and an MBA from Arkansas State University. She is a native of Helena-West Helena, Arkansas.