Jennifer H. Wider
Executive Director of the Center For Advancing Opportunity
|Jennifer H. Wider is the Executive Director of the Center For Advancing Opportunity (CAO), an education initiative that develops research-based solutions to the most pressing issues in fragile communities. The Center is funded by a partnership of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the Charles Koch Foundation (CKF) and Koch Industries (KI).
Jennifer drives the implementation and management of CAO programs and coordinates outreach to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), faculty and students to advance the Center’s mission as part of TMCF’s portfolio of organizations and programs.
She formerly served as the Vice President of Innovation & Strategic Initiatives at TMCF. During that time, she led the initial planning of two of TMCF’s largest initiatives to date totaling nearly $70 million–TMCF’s $40 million tech diversity initiative and the $26 million partnership that established CAO.
As part of her innovation strategy, Jennifer established strategic partnerships with other organizations to tackle some of the most challenging issues impacting HBCUs, such as research, college completion, capacity building and career readiness. Internally, her work focused on developing innovative business solutions, driving cross-functional strategic initiatives, creating unprecedented revenue opportunities and leading impact assessment work. Prior to this role Jennifer also served as vice president of development at TMCF, responsible for generating $20 million annually.
Over her career, Jennifer has delivered more than $250 million in private and federal grants in a broad range of areas, including research, education, economic and community development, technology, and health. Her track record demonstrates a breadth of knowledge and experience in developing innovative solutions to some of today’s most critical challenges. She has dedicated much of her professional career to advancing higher education, particularly within the HBCU community.
Jennifer’s career includes past positions with The New York Public Library, the Congress of National Black Churches and UNCF. Jennifer is passionately committed to making educational opportunities available for all students and currently serves as chair of the board of Democracy Prep Congress Heights, a public charter school serving pre-K through 7th grade in Ward 8 of Washington, DC.
She is a native of New York, a graduate of Syracuse University, and a contemporary artist.