JENNIFER FOSTER, Senior Project Associate

B.A, Comparative Literature, cum laude, Smith College
M.B.A., Finance & Management, Columbia Business School

Professional Background

Since joining Fern Tiger Associates almost twelve years ago, Jennifer has been involved with a range of organizations, including Arizona State University; Berkeley Biotechnology Education, Inc. (BBEI); Children’s Network of Solano County; 18th Street Arts Center; Girls Inc. of Alameda County; Marguerite Casey Foundation; the Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA); Oakland Unified School District; University of Washington-Tacoma; and many others.

Jennifer joined Fern Tiger Associates after six years in New York City where she earned her MBA and worked for Chase Manhattan Bank. At Chase, she spent two years in the Bank’s Community Development Group where she closed over $25 million in real estate loans for new construction and rehabilitation projects in the New York neighborhoods of Harlem, the South Bronx, Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Staten Island. Projects funded by the loans included affordable housing, a transitional living facility for women, and a battered women’s shelter. Jennifer managed elements of each project, from loan underwriting and due diligence, to credit approval and loan closing, to construction management and loan conversion. Jennifer also spent time with Chase’s International Personal Banking group. After conducting a successful market research project for 60,000 international customers and managing elements of the Group’s strategic planning process, she was promoted to Vice President. As a Team Leader for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, she managed a team of six account officers in the acquisition and growth of a $250 million customer portfolio.

When she transitioned to the Bay Area in 1999, Jennifer opted for the nonprofit sector and joined the Bay Area Coalition of Essential Schools (BayCES), an Oakland-based organization focused on public school reform. While at BayCES, she worked closely with the Executive Director, the board of directors, and key program staff to develop a strategic plan and related programs, and to execute fundraising for the $2.3 million organizational budget.

While at FTA, Jennifer was at the helm of the two-year study and report on university/community partnership strategies conceived for Arizona State University. More recently, on behalf of the University of Washington-Tacoma, she helped plan and facilitate a strategic study looking at the intersection of key economic, social, political, and educational issues in the Puget Sound area, and how the community — together with the university — could leverage opportunities for the future. She has helped the Los Angeles-based 18th Street Arts Center to assess the feasibility and options related to redevelopment of a 1.25 acre parcel in Santa Monica that houses seven nonprofit arts organizations and 20 individual artists. She has also contributed to the development of a community process related to water issues in Maui County on behalf of the Maui Economic Development Board.

Jennifer was instrumental in the conception and implementation of the Girls Research Project, a unique undertaking which documented the health and well-being of girls living in northern Alameda County. The project included a training component to enable high school girls to understand research and advocacy techniques so that they could gather first-hand information from their peers. She has also assessed the San Rafael School District’s outreach strategies, completed a strategic plan for the Peer Resource Program of the San Francisco Education Fund, and an analysis of an online adoption and foster care matching program instituted by the state of California. She has written the “story” of the organizational growth of both BBEI and MOCHA from start-up to community institution. She worked on a marketing study focused on improving outreach and recruitment of foster families and on a social marketing program to encourage business interest in the child care needs of employees in Marin County. She was also key in developing a strategic and operational plan for a public/private partnership linking schools with organizations that could provide social, educational, and health services needed by families.

She is currently completing a qualitative study of grantmaking for a major foundation, examining the funding impacts of grantee efforts in five regions throughout the United States to empower and improve the lives of low-income families. She is also working on a project with the Fresno Housing Authority to analyze the use and positioning of a related nonprofit in housing finance and development activities in the Central Valley.

Jennifer assists clients by synthesizing strong writing and analytical skills with an understanding of organizational dynamics and other demands, including competitive market forces, resource deployment, strategic management, and growth opportunities.