Meet Our Staff


Jennifer O’Brien

Senior Director & Director of Learning and Development
Hometown: Glenview, IL

Pronouns: she/her

Having grown up in a family with a strong sense of social justice, and studying Philosophy and Social Policy, Jen enjoys working at Elevate for the chance to work on a variety of social issues and to support the nonprofit sector. Jen is a problem solver and strategic thinker who loves to help her clients find their voice in grant writing to support important programs and progressive action. Jen has experience fundraising in higher education, out-of-school time programming, arts education, human and social services, immigration, health, environmental education and conservation, and international development.

Outside of client work, Jen presents Elevate’s free monthly webinar on “How to Write Your First Grant” and coordinates internal training and professional development for Elevate staff.

Prior to joining Elevate, Jen worked for over a decade for the Bringing Theory to Practice project, a national initiative in higher education focused on civic engagement and well-being, and also consulted for a small international nonprofit focused on women and children’s education and empowerment in Jordan and Palestine.

Jen earned a Master of Public Policy with a concentration in Philosophy and Social Policy, as well as a bachelor’s degree majoring in Psychology and Women’s Studies, both from The George Washington University in Washington, DC. She also has a Certificate in Executive Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University.

Outside of Elevate, Jen is either building couch cushion forts with her young son or devouring cookbooks to make meals for family and friends.

What's your favorite thing to do in DC?

Sit on the steps of the Lincoln at midnight.

What punctuation mark would you be and why?

A question mark…I’m curious about everything.

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

Well, I do it on Saturdays, but cooking a gourmet meal for friends and family. And then eating it.

Meet More of Our Staff

Simple Share Buttons