Community Strategies Group
Community Strategies Group
Who We Are
Janet Topolsky directs the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group (CSG). She helps design, lead and deliver CSG’s work focused on strengthening family economic success, community philanthropy, and regional vitality. She has developed a special knack for designing simple or complex convenings that produce action plans and results. Janet came to CSG in 1993 following a decade of work in state and local community development, economic development and anti-poverty efforts.
From 1990-93, Janet worked independently as a development policy analyst and writer for a wide range of nonprofit, business and government clients. From 1985-1990, she was director of communication for CFED – a national non-profit organization that develops and promotes innovative asset building and economic opportunity strategies for people and places – where she edited CFED’s Entreprenerial Economy Review. From 1983-84, Janet served as special assistant to the director of the Michigan Department of Commerce. Fresh out of college, she learned her first ropes as a political organizer and youth policy advocate.
Janet is a graduate of James Madison College of Michigan State University (1976) and holds a Masters of Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan (1983). Janet originally hails from and loves Detroit, but now manages to walk to and from life without owning an automobile. For more than two decades of inspiration and joy, she has been singing alto in the mighty St. Augustine Gospel Choir in Washington DC.
Kristin Feierabend is a Program Associate at the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group. Kristin came to CSG in 2012 after receiving her Masters in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University. Her Master’s thesis, which explored the role of Boston’s community health centers in improving healthy food access, built on her interests in community development, social justice, and food systems. During graduate school, Kristin worked at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, where she helped integrate community-based projects into undergraduate and graduate students’ learning experience.
Prior to graduate school, Kristin served for two years as an AmeriCorps Vista volunteer in the Department of Planning and Community Development in Montpelier, Vermont. There she managed a participatory citizen planning process during the city’s comprehensive plan update, along with side projects on neighborhood resilience and local food policy. A range of internships over the years have had Kristin conducting strategic riverway planning in South Carolina, compiling local food directories in Virginia, and developing a farmers market siting and access plan in Asheville, North Carolina. Kristin grew up in east Tennessee and completed her undergraduate work in Sociology and Environmental Studies at Furman University in South Carolina.
Travis Green, a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a program associate with the Community Strategies Group. Most recently he worked in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where he coordinated the Divided Cities and Regions Symposium at UNC, an event focusing on community conflict in the process of community development. He also served as a research assistant for Building Integrated Communities, an immigrant inclusion project of the Institute for the Study of the Americas.
Before moving to North Carolina, Travis had a fellowship with the Middle East Peacebuilding Program at the American Friends Service Committee and was a committee member of the Middle East Working Group for Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. He also worked for Friends General Conference as Conference and Gathering Associate. Travis is a graduate of Haverford College and the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill and has a Masters in City and Regional Planning.