Kara Nelson


Kara Nelson is an advocate, activist, and entrepreneur and currently the Chief Operating Officer at True North Recovery (TNR). TNR is a recovery community organization (RCO) that provides withdrawal management (detox), inpatient residential treatment, outpatient, intensive outpatient, recovery and reentry housing program, intensive case management, walk-in and by appointment integrated behavioral health assessments, pre and post release intensive reentry case management and programs, crisis stabilization, mobile crisis team, community connections and peer support throughout all programs/services in Alaska.

She was a founding member and former Executive Director of Haven House Juneau, a peer-led, faith based recovery residence and program for women coming home after incarceration. It was the first of its kind, a model of reentry/recovery housing and programs that have since been duplicated across the state of Alaska.

Kara is a consultant and member of the steering committee for Just Leadership USA (JLUSA) JustUs Coordinating Council (JCC) and a 2016 JLUSA Leading with Conviction Alumni. She has served on multiple boards and coalitions devoted to prison/jail pre and post release systems of care, reentry, behavioral health, recovery support services, criminal legal reforms and peer support efforts; collaborating with lawmakers to shape ground-breaking legislation at local, state and federal levels. Kara has held many roles over the years, leading efforts to expand access and remove barriers to behavioral health, recovery support services, and justice-involved settings.

She is a Governor-appointed Alaska Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction board member, the current tri-chair of the Matsu Reentry Coalition and a board member of Careline Alaska that provides crisis intervention for individuals considering suicide or experiencing crisis, isolation, or depression.

One of her favorite roles is her Alaska Department of Corrections chaplain designation that has been maintained since 2016. She graduated from Bethel School of Ministry in Redding, California in 2021.

Kara is a lifelong Alaskan, a mother of three adult children, a woman in recovery and formerly incarcerated; this all contributes to her fierce dedication in transforming our criminal legal system and recovery support services across Alaska and throughout the country.