Board of Trustees

Karim Merchant, Board of Trustees

Karim Merchant


  • Vice President of Strategic and Major Giving, Cancer Support Community


  • JD, University of Virginia School of Law
  • BA, Vanderbilt University

About Karim Merchant

Karim Merchant is the senior executive officer for development at The Arc of the United States, the world’s largest and oldest community-based organization of and for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families.

Prior to joining The Arc, Karim lead development teams at the Cancer Support Community (CSC), the largest nonprofit network of cancer support worldwide, and the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) USA, a private, nonprofit international development organization. Merchant’s knowledge of philanthropy, network of industry professionals, and years of volunteering experience enabled him to bring new ideas and best practices in raising funds and leveraging volunteer talent for nonprofit organizations.

Prior to transitioning to fundraising and nonprofit leadership, Merchant practiced as a corporate finance attorney with Chapman and Cutler LLP and then with Baker & McKenzie. He now applies his legal and client service training to proactively identify potential issues, deliver creative solutions to complex problems, and seize new opportunities to advance nonprofit organizations’ missions.

Merchant also has many years of experience in volunteer leadership, serving as chair of the Aga Khan Education Board (AKEB) Midwest Region and then honorary secretary of AKEB USA. He has collaborated with teams of volunteers to arrive at a shared vision, developed strategy with stakeholder buy-in, created tactical execution plans with attention to risks, agreed on performance metrics, and executed and troubleshooted, all while ensuring volunteers felt respected, valued, and appreciated.

Merchant earned a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University and a Juris Doctor from University of Virginia School of Law. He lives with his husband and son in the greater Washington D.C. area.