Has led the grantmaking arm of Third Federal since inception in 2007

Third Federal Foundation President and Executive Director Kurt Karakul will be retiring from his current role in June and transitioning to an advisory role with the Foundation through the end of 2021, focusing on special projects.

Working with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, for the last 14 years, Karakul was instrumental in the development of the Slavic Village P-16 program to support children with critical wrap-around services and programs to help them succeed in school and in life. The collaborative effort has helped move the needle on academics in the four Cleveland Metropolitan School District K-8 schools in Slavic Village.

“Kurt was my only choice for the first Executive Director of our Foundation,” said Third Federal Chairman and CEO Marc A. Stefanski. “He embraced the role and expanded our support beyond simply making charitable donations. He is a tireless community activist, making an impact through his leadership and support of a wide-range of programs and projects that support the most vulnerable in our communities. He will be missed in an everyday capacity, but I know he will continue to be engaged with our Third Federal family and the community at large.”

The Third Federal Foundation was formed in 2007 with $50 million in stock and $5 million in cash as a result of the Initial Public Offering of Third Federal stock. Karakul was the first director of the Foundation, leading impactful initiatives in education, housing and healthcare in the communities Third Federal serves, and most directly, in Slavic Village, where the company was founded in 1938. In 2020, the Foundation was one of the first funders of the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund, which supported non-profit organizations and programs hit hard by the pandemic.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Karakul was a partner with the law firm Weston Hurd, LLP, where he was also co-chair of the Real Estate Law Section. For more than two decades, he has served as an adjunct professor at The Case Western University Law School and co-authored a real estate column in The Plain Dealer Saturday Real Estate Section. Mr. Karakul is a graduate of Kenyon College and Case Western Reserve School of Law.

Upon Karakul’s retirement, Third Federal Foundation Vice President Emily Thome will assume the role of President and Executive Director. Thome came to the Foundation in 2018 with 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, most recently serving in senior development roles for the Cleveland Orchestra and the Cleveland Clinic. Early in her career, she served in program development and delivery roles as a health educator, managing various grant programs in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties. Thome holds a Bachelor of Science in Community Health from Ohio University.

Jennifer Rosa (216) 429-5037

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