Jennifer Leonard, President & CEO
As president and CEO of Rochester Area Community Foundation, Jennifer Leonard works with philanthropists and community partners to strengthen our eight-county region. Since Jennifer assumed her position in 1993, the Community Foundation has grown fifteenfold to $478 million, nearly two-thirds of which is permanently endowed. The Community Foundation distributed $36.7 million in grants and scholarships last year.
Jennifer led implementation of the first national standards for community foundations and chaired her field from 2004 to 2006. Before coming to Rochester, she served as vice president of the California Community Foundation in Los Angeles and a national writer and consultant in philanthropy. She held national positions with the American Heart Association and The Grantsmanship Center.
Jennifer is a member of the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative's steering committee. Previously she chaired our community's ROC the Future education initiative and served on the board of Center for Governmental Research. She speaks and writes widely about our community and philanthropy.
In 2007, the Rochester Business Journal named Jennifer one of “20 business people who have made the biggest impact on Rochester over the past 20 years.” In 2010, she received the Athena Award from the Women’s Council of the Rochester Business Alliance. The New York Attorney General appointed Jennifer to the Leadership Committee that shaped a 2013 overhaul of the state’s nonprofit laws. In 2019, she was one of 10 women inducted into RBJ's Circle of Excellence.
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wellesley College, Jennifer was a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs and holds an urban studies master's degree from Occidental College. She lives in Brighton with her husband, investigative journalist and columnist David Cay Johnston.