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As a member of the South Bend Common Council, Karen has been Council President, Vice President, Chairperson of the Committee of the Whole (which chairs all public hearings on proposed ordinances), and as chair of the Personnel & Finance And Community Relations Committees and Vice Chair for the Health & Public Safety and Residential Neighborhood Committees.


Karen’s road to community service began while she was a high school student and continued throughout her college and professional life. A firm believer in the tenet, as Marian Wright Edelman has stated, “Service is the rent we pay for living.” She is the only African American who has served both as the President of the South Bend Community School Corporation Board of Directors, and as President of the South Bend Common Council.


Long recognized for her exemplary administrative leadership skills and commitment to community service: Karen is the recipient of multiple awards such as:

  • South Bend Women: 150 Years of Leadership, Service and Achievement, 2015

  • The Indiana University Charlie Nelms Alumni Award, 2012

  • “Drum Major” Community Service Award, 2008

  • Inducted into the South Bend Community Hall of Fame, 2008

  • The South Bend Police Department Outstanding Efforts Community Service Award

  • The IU South Bend Distinguished Education Alumna Award

  • Indiana University E Ross Bartley Memorial Award

  • Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Award, Inc., South Bend Alumni Chapter South Bend Achievement Award of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

  • Community Service Award for Solidarity Day 1989

  • Featured in the South Bend Tribune Accent Feature June, 1988

  • South Bend Human Rights Commission Award for Dedicated Service, 1988


Ms. White is a member of numerous boards all of which focus on community betterment. She was chair of the Committee of the Whole in 2015. Her commitment to improving our neighborhoods and ensuring that they have the high quality services are her top priorities.

At- Large Karen L. White


​"Representing all of the residents within the city limits & the businesses of South Bend since 2000" - Karen L White


Committee Chairperson
Residential Neighborhood Committee
Personnel & Finance Committee


Committee Member
Community Relations Committee
Health & Public Safety Committee
Council Rules Committe

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