Jennifer focuses primarily on grantmaking in participatory civic media as part of the Journalism and Media team. In this role, she supports organizations and activities that encourage and train individuals and groups, particularly young people and those from historically marginalized communities, to use new media tools, platforms and practices to contribute to public dialogue and help shape culture and policy. Prior to joining the Media and Journalism team in late 2015, she was a Program Officer for Digital Media and Learning, a 10-year, $200 million initiative aimed at re-imagining learning for the digital age. She made grants in support of research and design experiments to explore new approaches to learning, which culminated in October 2015 with the launch of a new organization – Collective Shift – designed to bring innovations seeded through DML to scale. Jennifer is helping to manage the legacy phase of the DML initiative over the next few years. She joined the Foundation in 2002 and served as Associate Director for Public Affairs before moving to the program team.
Prior to her tenure with MacArthur, Jennifer spent three years with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, where she was responsible for media and public outreach for Museum exhibits, events, and fundraising campaigns. In the late 1990s she worked for a human rights organization in Kampala, Uganda, helping to run a program that trained human rights activists how to identify and document gender-specific human rights abuses in war. In this position, she helped to write and publish one of the first primary research reports on women and war in Uganda.
Jennifer has an M.A. in international affairs and journalism from The American University and a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is chair of the board of Young Chicago Authors, a Chicago-based arts education nonprofit that uses writing, spoken word, and performance to cultivate youth voice and self-expression. Each year, YCA runs a citywide youth slam competition called "Louder Than A Bomb," which is now spreading to cities around the world. She previously served on the board of the Communications Network, a national nonprofit that supports the use of strategic communications for social good in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.