Jennifer S. Vanica
Jennifer's commitment to social change was shaped during the late 1960's when as a student she worked with Cesar Chavez organizing boycotts for better working conditions in California. After 20 years coordinating large public-private partnerships and raising millions of dollars for capital projects, Jennifer developed the concept and plan that led to the launching of 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 prestigious 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.
Jennifer spent two years as a Senior Fellow at the Aspen Institute’s Roundtable on Community Change and is currently a Senior Fellow at PolicyLink, writing and speaking on the topic of leadership in comprehensive community change and power of large-scale civic action and community ownership as key to neighborhood transformation.
She is a partner, along with her husband of 34 years, Ron Cummings, in the firm VanicaCummings Community Change Consulting.