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Michelle Foster

Chief Executive Officer, Kanawha Institute for Social Research & Action, Inc.


Dr. Michelle Mickle Foster is the CEO of the Kanawha Institute for Social Research & Action, Inc. (KISRA) and has served in this capacity since 1998. She developed all of KISRA’s programs that are in the areas of health, employment, asset development and learning. Under her leadership, KISRA has grown from one employee sponsored by Ferguson Memorial Baptist Church (KISRA’s founder), to a team of over seventy employees with funding from multiple local, state, and federal sources. Dr. Foster and the KISRA team serve and empower thousands of West Virginians annually. Her work has been recognized locally and nationally. In 2012, she was honored to be named a Fatherhood Champion of Change by President Obama at the White House. Michelle has a doctorate in community economic development (CED) and two master’s degrees - one in CED and another in engineering management. She is also a certified economic development financial professional and a certified housing development financial professional. Prior to her CED career, Dr. Foster was a chemical engineer.