New Profit brings together the catalytic principles of venture capital with deep experience in social impact to drive breakthroughs in social problem-solving. They highlighted 20 breakthrough leaders from their network and the groundbreaking work they do every day.
Dr. Jacobs was one of five leaders chosen out of a field of 100 nominations. Below is announcement from New Profit, which includes the nomination submitted by our CTO Travis Collins, the interview with Dr. Jacobs.
We are excited to introduce our community to this breakthrough leader, Jennifer Jacobs. Jennifer is Co-Founder and CEO of Connect Our Kids, an organization that is building smart technology to connect every foster child to a loving family and brighter future. Keep reading to read the nomination that drove us to select Jennifer and to hear about her goals and vision for the future.
BREAKTHROUGH LEADER NOMINATION
"Jennifer has a PhD in nuclear physics. She had a well paying steady job as an analyst tracking nuclear materials and threats world wide.
She then learned about the 400,000 plus kids in the U.S. foster care system. She discovered that while her work environment leveraged advanced technology to discover families and relationships of people outside the U.S. - the foster care system in the U.S. does not have those same tools.
She put her career on hold and started Connect Our Kids.
She has recruited a dedicated team of volunteers, raised more than $200,000 in technology development funds, and delivered game changing technology to social workers. Her impact has been large, and on its current trajectory will become immeasurable. U.S. federal, state, and local governments spend $9 billion every year to house and find permanent homes for foster kids. Under Jennifer's guidance, Connect Our Kids will give social workers free modern tools that will make finding extended family members much easier. This will dramatically improve the lives of foster kids nation wide for decades to come.
I am the Chief Technology Officer at Connect Our Kids and have had a front row seat to this change. Jennifer's vision deserves the attention it has received. Connect Our Kids was selected from over 50 other game-changing applicants as Accenture's Innovate for Good Challenge winner in late 2018. Burke and Herbert Bank selected Connect Our Kids from many general charities in 2017. Most importantly, social workers from five states have championed her vision in their organizations."
What Is Your Big Audacious Goal?
My goal is that every foster child is able to grow up as part of a permanent, caring family and have a positive support network of people who want to see them be successful.
How Can We Make Progress Towards Achieving This Goal?
A practical victory within reach is to bring the technology revolution to foster care. The child welfare community must be able to fully support the children and families with whom they are engaged. Having the right tools is critical.
Connect Our Kids is leveraging technology to scale-up a remarkably successful approach to connecting foster children to permanent, supportive families. We are about to launch our pilot of this technology in five states. Successful, full implementation of this scale-up will change the outcomes for thousands of foster children every year.
What Is Your Call to Action for Our Community?
It takes a village to raise a child and we are all that village. Children in foster care will become our adult colleagues, and we want them to be healthy and committed members of their families and communities.
Click here to check out the other breakthrough leaders who were selected.