Betsy Karel serves on the board of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, is board chair of the Trellis Foundation and a board member for Human Rights Watch where she chaired the Women's Rights Advisory Committee and now chairs the Communications Committee. She is a principal in a New York-based family investment business and a photographer. She worked as an award-winning photojournalist in the 1970s and early 80s. Her first photographic book, Bombay Jadoo, was short-listed for the Deutscher Fotobuchpreis in 2008. Her second book, Conjuring Paradise, was published in the fall of 2013 by Radius. In winter 2019 her book America's Stage: Times Square was published by Steidl. Her photographs are in the permanent collections of The National Gallery of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Yale University Art Gallery, the John F. Kennedy Library, and the US Embassy of India in Dehli. She has served as chair of the Center for Reproductive Rights, as vice chair of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, on the Executive Committee of the Community Foundation of the National Capital Region, and as chair of the Washington AIDS Partnership.