Session Two (Design and Innovation): Jennifer Aronson

Jennifer Aronson 100Jennifer Aronson is Associate Vice President for Programs at the Boston Foundation where she oversees the Foundation’s discretionary grantmaking operations and strategy which allocates $16 million annually in Greater Boston across five “impact areas (Education, Health & Wellness, Jobs & Economic Development, Housing & Neighborhoods, and Arts & Culture), two “cross-cutting strategies” (Nonprofit Effectiveness and Grassroots), and responsively to the community at large (via the Open Door Grants Program).

Jennifer also oversees the Foundation’s Nonprofit Effectiveness strategy which supports effective, sustainable and inclusive leadership, capacity and data-driven resources as the three linchpins necessary for Greater Boston nonprofits to effectively deliver on their missions. Under her oversight in 2013 the Boston Foundation launched Collaborate Boston ( a $100,000 prize competition that catalyzes and supports resident–led, cross-sector collaboration to develop solutions to our region’s toughest challenges. She also oversees the Giving Common (, an in-depth database of Massachusetts nonprofits that facilitates strategic philanthropy.

Prior to this role Jennifer oversaw the implementation and year-one operations of StreetSafe Boston, the Boston Foundation’s 5-year, $20 million initiative to prevent and intervene in gang activity in a subset of Boston neighborhoods disproportionately and persistently affected by high rates of violent crime. In 2015 StreetSafe was incorporated into the City of Boston’s Violence Interrupters program.

Jennifer holds a BA cum laude and an MA with honors in Art History from Columbia University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School where she was an HBS Social Enterprise Fellow. Jennifer currently serves as an Advisory Council or Board member of the Lenny Zakim Fund, the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, United Teen Equality Center, the Greenlight Fund and The Frances Jacobson Early Childhood Center. She believes that collaboration as well as diversity, equity and inclusion are necessary parts of effective social change efforts and speaks and writes frequently on these issue.


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