NEXT GEN VOICES: Introducing CASE Scholar Jenna Weinberg

Jenna Weinberg

I believe strongly in harnessing the power of market forces to achieve equity and empower communities. In his “Gospel of Wealth,” Andrew Carnegie asserts that inequality is an inevitable cost of progress. I unequivocally reject this view, believing that we can no longer consider philanthropy as separate from how financial success is achieved. Consequently, I dedicated my career to social impact, seeking to leverage cross-sectoral collaboration to address society’s systemic issues.

Starting at a very young age, I inherited messages about what it means to be successful from my mother. A social worker and “professional” volunteer, she taught me that success means being a positive contributor to one’s community. Taking these notions to heart, I spent eight years working in the nonprofit sector on issues, such as interfaith collaboration between Muslims and Jews, defense of democracy and civil and human rights in Israel and empowerment of next generation philanthropists. Additionally, I served on six nonprofit and foundation boards, often as the only millennial member.  

Before coming to Fuqua, I was Vice President of Cambridge Heath Ventures (CHV), a boutique consulting firm focused on business and political strategy through a social change lens. In this role, I built unlikely partnerships between technology and labor, made a fiduciary case for considering diversity in asset management and promoted the voices of young elected officials with bold ideas sourced from the grassroots. I realized that every collaboration I fostered relied on making the business case for positive social impact and illuminating that market-based solutions are integral to solving our world’s greatest inequities. I also learned that those closest to the problem are often those closest to the solutions and how transformative it is to center those most affected within any decision-making process.

I am both a proud Baltimore native and graduate of the University of Michigan, where I received a B.A. in International Studies and Judaic Studies.

Why Fuqua?

I was immediately drawn to Fuqua’s focus on both business and society. Particularly in these polarizing times, Dean Boulding’s emphasis on our common purpose, servant leadership and teams based on belonging and support stood out to me. These are not common themes at most business schools.

On top of that, Fuqua is home to CASE, which supports not only social impact at Fuqua, but has broad influence in the social impact field worldwide as well. After I was admitted, I had a chance to get to know CASE’s Executive Director, Erin Worsham, whose cross-sectoral experience resonated with me. She made me feel like CASE was exactly the home I was looking for. Lastly, given my interest in impact investing, having Cathy Clark as a resource is a huge draw, as is CASE i3, where I will be able to consult for impact investing clients for credit.

What impact do you hope your Fuqua education will allow you to have on the world?

Marrying my commitment to social impact and belief that market-based tools are essential to this outcome, I plan to pursue a career in impact investing. Either by working directly for an impact fund or by becoming a certified financial advisor myself, I hope to help grow the movement of people who seek to invest in line with their values.

Additionally, I hope to help found or join a community-based investment fund that embraces democratic processes by ensuring that local residents decide what businesses should receive investment in their communities. Through this model, residents will be eligible for financial returns at a scale beyond what they invest financially themselves.

If successful, I hope to help advance a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable economy, where all people – regardless of their race, ethnicity or gender – thrive.

Share one of your 25 facts from your application essay.

My husband and I grew close while coaching basketball together with Israeli and Palestinian youth through an organization called PeacePlayers International. Over our wedding weekend, we organized a three-on-three basketball tournament for our family and friends that we called The Ball & Chain Classic. Not only did we raise $2500 for PeacePlayers by asking for donations in place of wedding gifts, but my team (made up of myself, my husband and my father) won! Good thing we did, since our father-daughter dance was to “We Are The Champions.”