Growing up in rural Ohio, Jennifer's commitment to social change was shaped as a student during the late 1960's civil rights movement. After 20 years coordinating large public-private partnerships and raising millions of dollars for capital projects, Jennifer spent the next 20 years launching and leading the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, an operating foundation headquartered in San Diego's southeastern neighborhoods dedicated to community building and the resident ownership of change.
Under her leadership, the Council on Foundations bestowed its Critical Impact Award for innovative and bold solutions to enhance the public good. In 2009, Jennifer was recognized with the James Irvine Leadership Award for California leaders who are implementing innovative and effective solutions to significant state issues, and in May 2012, was given an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Wittenberg University.
A a former Senior Fellow at both PolicyLink and the Aspen Institute's Roundtable on Community Change, Jennifer writes and speaks on the topic of leadership in comprehensive community change and the power of large-scale civic action and ownership in neighborhood transformation.