Karen Nicolson | Cause Award Finalist
Karen Nicolson has the innate ability to connect the dots when it comes to early identification of elder abuse. An issue that includes everything from physical and emotional abuse to financial exploitation, she has dedicated the last 16 years to bringing awareness to this complex and often undetected problem.
With 1,500 cases of elder abuse reported annually in Erie County alone, and only a small percentage of all cases ever reported, Karen saw the need to shine a light on the problem, provide services to those in abusive situations and educate the community. Her work in this area has led to one of the most robust elder abuse prevention programs in the state. As CEO of the Center for Elder Law and Justice, a nonprofit civil legal service provider that serves all eight counties of Western New York, Karen secured a grant in 2008 that allowed her to train law enforcement to identify the issue and hire a staff attorney to work with aging clients in abusive situations. Today, Karen has expanded her team of attorneys, social workers and paralegals to represent over 500 clients and have performed outreach to thousands more.