Janet Topolsky

Janet Topolsky

Executive Director, Community Strategies Group

Janet Topolsky is Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group

For nearly four decades, Janet has helped community leaders, organizations and policymakers across the country find, create and spread development strategies that work. At CSG since 1993, Topolsky has specialized in peer-learning design and facilitation, family asset building, “doing economic development differently,” connecting low-wealth rural and urban places and populations to regional economic development and better livelihoods, and community development philanthropy – building the capacity of place-rooted foundations to improve local economies. Before Aspen, Janet worked as a development policy analyst; as communications director for Prosperity Now (then called the Corporation for Enterprise Development) and editor of its Entrepreneurial Economy Review; as special assistant to the director of the Michigan Department of Commerce; and as a youth organizer and policy advocate. A native of Detroit, Michigan, Janet has been to every state in the union – at least once. She is a graduate of James Madison College at Michigan State University and holds a Master of Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. In her spare time, she unashamedly watches good television, soaks in great music, absorbs lots of news, concocts cheesecake on demand, and joyfully sings alto (every week for 32 years so far!) in the world-renowned St. Augustine Gospel Choir.

Authored by Janet