Jen Roberts

Jen Roberts

New Orleans Workforce Leadership Academy, Class of 2019, Economic Opportunities Program

Founding Executive Director, New Orleans Early Education Network, New Orleans, Louisiana

Jen Roberts is the founding executive director of the New Orleans Early Education Network (NOEEN), an organization created by local early childhood practitioners to increase access to early childhood education, improve the quality of early learning experiences for young children, and connect organizations who work with and on the behalf of young children to resources. Jen came to lead NOEEN in 2018 after spending eight years at Baptist Community Ministries (BCM), Louisiana’s largest private foundation. As Senior Vice President of Grants at BCM, she oversaw a portfolio of over 70 active grantees and an annual grantmaking budget of $12 million and prior to that role, she directed BCM’s grantmaking activities in education and youth development for seven years. She worked with local and national funders to leverage over $100 million dollars of new investment into New Orleans for local nonprofits working with or on behalf of children and youth. She was a founder of the Greater New Orleans Funders Network and founding Co-Chair of its Youth and Education Action Table, which created more than $3.5 million in coordinated strategic investments from 12 different foundations behind a shared vision for children, youth, and families in its first year. Prior to philanthropy, Jen worked in an education policy startup, higher education, workforce development, k-12 education classrooms and administration, and in youth development programming. She has served on the national Leadership Council for the Aspen Institute’s Forum for Community Solutions Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund and as an advisory board member for The Cowen Institute at Tulane University. In 2018, she was appointed to the board of directors of the Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR), a more than 85 year-old private, nonprofit, independent research organization dedicated to informed public policy making and the effective use of public resources for the improvement of government in the New Orleans metropolitan area. She was an inaugural fellow of the Southeastern Council of Foundation’s Advanced Leadership Institute and a member of the 2015 New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute class. She earned a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Bryn Mawr College and a master’s degree in education policy and management from Harvard University. A native of the Gulf Coast, she is a proud mom of one of New Orleans’ young learners and has called New Orleans home since 2003.

Jen Roberts is a member of the New Orleans Workforce Leadership Academy, Class of 2019, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.

The Workforce Leadership Academies are part of the Economic Opportunity Fellows Network, a network of leadership and fellowship programs run by the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program. Within this Network, EOP connects national and local leaders from across sectors — nonprofit, government, business, philanthropy, academia, and more — to advance policies and practices with the potential to help low- and moderate-income Americans thrive in today’s economy. Learn more at

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