Jennifer Hodges, Vice President, Whole Child Initiative & Community Impact, KIPP Chicago
This cohort of 71 Notable Black Leaders worked for decades to reach prominent places in law, banking, media, and nonprofits and lift their communities. Following the murder of George Floyd and reckoning over systemic racism, they found themselves in new positions.
For the first time, they say, they've had an opportunity to share their experiences with racism and how they overcame obstacles. They've been encouraged to share their views and open deeper conversations on race with colleagues. Many observe that their insights have a wider impact and are aiming to use that visibility to speak out on inequality in the workplace.
Many have taken on new roles leading new or expanded diversity initiatives as companies vow to improve their practices in recruiting, hiring and retaining talent from diverse backgrounds. And these leaders have redoubled efforts to boost the next generation through nonprofits that help young people succeed in school and prepare for a career. These leaders are seizing the moment.
Jennifer Hodges is responsible for the strategic direction and implementation of KIPP Chicago. During the pandemic, she led food distribution efforts and also coordinated with the Illinois Department of Public Health to provide free and immediate access to vaccine clinics for Englewood and Austin residents. In recent months, KIPP implemented the 1619 Project into the curriculum of middle schools to help reframe how history is taught and to share the contributions of Black people to U.S. and global societies. Another initiative featured 18 weeks of content aligned to topics that parents said was critical to their families’ success, such as nutrition education, financial literacy, mental health and assisting formerly incarcerated people. Prior to joining KIPP, she was director of corporate development at the United Way of Metro Chicago.
Jennifer L. Hodges
Creator + Executive