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 more than fifteenfold to $492 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 boards of Center for Governmental Research and Causewave Community Partners. She speaks and writes widely about our community and philanthropy.
In 2010, Jennifer received the Athena Award from the Women’s Council of the Rochester Business Alliance (now the Rochester Chamber of Commerce). In 2007, the Rochester Business Journal named her one of “20 business people who have made the biggest impact on Rochester over the past 20 years.” In 2019, she was one of 10 women inducted into RBJ’s Circle of Excellence. The New York Attorney General appointed Jennifer to the Leadership Committee that shaped a 2013 overhaul of the state’s nonprofit laws.
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 Rochester with her husband, investigative journalist and author David Cay Johnston.