Karen Lake Buttrey


IUPUI Spirit of Philanthropy Award (2013)
IUPUI Chancellor's Medallion (2011)
IUPUI Chancellor's Medallion
Location: Indianapolis


Karen Lake Buttrey graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Chatham College in 1967. She went on to complete two Masters Degrees, one in Educational Research from the University of Pittsburgh and the other from Indiana University in Educational Psychology. She also participated in the Stanley K. Lacy Leadership Development Program.

Buttrey emerged as a philanthropist and community leader in the Indianapolis area. In 2002, she and her husband made a lasting impact on IU with the creation on the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. After her father, Tom Lake, passed away in 1999, Buttrey, her mother, and husband were inspired to commemorate Tom Lake's lifelong commitment to philanthropy and helping others. When her mother, Marjorie Lake, also passed in 2001, the focus shifted to honor both her parents' memories. Because her parents' philanthropic values were born of their religious faith, the Buttreys wanted the Institute to focus on the connections between faith and philanthropy. Thus, the Lake Institute became the nation's only university-based institute dedicated to examining the integral relationships between faith and philanthropy. Through research, discussion, forums, and training, it has helped religious leaders and organizations, donors and the public understand and address issues related to faith, money and giving. It has also served as a catalyst for further reflection and exploration of the power of philanthropy to bring about beneficial change.

Buttrey served as the Honorary Chair of the Advisory Board of the Lake Institute. She was also on the Board of Trustees at Chatham College and McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. Buttrey served on several advisory and executive boards throughout her life, notably the Advisory Board of the Center on Philanthropy at IUPUI. In addition to her support of the study of philanthropy, Buttrey herself generously supported her church, the United Way, the American Red Cross (Tiffany Circle Member) and The Salvation Army. She also supported numerous other charitable organizations, including The Women's Fund and The Lacy Leadership Society.