Meet Our Staff

Jake Penders

Jake Penders

Client Partnerships and Operations Associate
Hometown: Westfield, NJ

Jake comes to Elevate after working for HELP USA, a homeless housing nonprofit located in New York City. At HELP USA, Jake worked closely with the Director of Development in researching potential donors, identifying and applying for grants, and assisting in various fundraising efforts. He also helped to construct grant proposals to match funding requests for HELP USA’s various sites and initiatives located across the country. Prior to HELP USA, Jake spent the 2015-2016 academic year in Slovakia teaching English at a secondary school through the United States Fulbright Program. While in Slovakia, Jake assisted the school’s English Department in expanding their curriculum, further developed the school’s English program, and taught a variety of classes ranging from culture to government. His experience in Slovakia has greatly influenced his knowledge of international exchange programs, and is always willing to expose anyone to Slovak food and beer.

Before leaving for Slovakia, Jake worked for the International Rescue Committee in New York City where he was tasked with providing assistance and re-settlement services to recently arrived refugees and authorized immigrants to the United States, primarily from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Myanmar. In previous internships, Jake worked for a public relations firm, and for the New York City Department of Small Business Services.

Jake graduated magna cum laude from Fordham University with a BA in History, Political Science, and Humanitarian Affairs. He served as captain of the men’s rowing team for his senior year at Fordham, competing in and training for competitions throughout his collegiate career. He also was elected Treasurer of Phi Alpha Theta and inducted into Pi Sigma Alpha and Phi Beta Kappa.

Jake is a life-long New York sports fan, with the exception of football and soccer in which he roots for the Miami Dolphins and Manchester United. He is an avid outdoor adventurer from his time as an Eagle Scout, and loves to travel and explore new towns, cities, and countries. He loves train travel and can have long conversations about historical events or about an episode of Doctor Who. He can be frequently spotted looking for the best cup of coffee or tea throughout DC, finding a great bookstore, running through parks, or watching the latest hit movie. Jake is thrilled to be at Elevate working with ambitious nonprofits working towards positive social change in and around DC and the United States.

What's your hidden talent?

If you give me a map, I can tell you where you need to go in 10 minutes or less. I have always been an avid admirer of maps and orienteering, especially comparing old geographical locations to new ones.

What book could you read 50 times?

A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage

Who is your hero?

Robert F. Kennedy

What's your favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

Ideally, sleeping in, reading the newspaper, going for a run, relaxing with a cup of tea, and ending with a movie.

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