Alumni Spotlight: Jennie Rosenbaum, LAEP

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Jennie Rosenbaum (right) with one of her high school students at graduation.


Diapers to diplomas. That’s the unofficial mantra of Los Angeles Education Partnership (LAEP). Project Grantsmanship alum and Director of Development & Evaluation, Jennie Rosenbaum, is an advocate for students. She bridges the gap between nonprofits and schools: Nonprofits in education & youth development need schools and schools need the support of nonprofits, but these two groups don’t always work in alignment. With differing needs and visions, it can help to have a person who can straddle both camps.


Jennie started out as a teacher near Washington D.C., and that’s where she asked herself the question: “How do you build sustainable school-community partnerships when schools have so many mandatory rules & regulations?” Jennie went on to grad school to learn how to build these types of partnerships. After grad school she moved to Los Angeles and began work at the Los Angeles Education Partnership as a Community School Coordinator. In this job, Jennie assessed what was happening at the school by looking at data, both numerical and anecdotal, and then tried to figure out the specific barriers to students’ success. For six and a half years, Jennie worked as a liaison between students, the school, parents, and nonprofit organizations. This is when she discovered the value of the nonprofits’ contributions to the educational process and brought nonprofits into the conversation creating opportunities that would not have otherwise been available for these students.


When LAEP needed to fill the Development Director’s position, Jennie was a natural candidate because she was so invested in the school and community. Jenni was an inspired storyteller but she still needed to learn how to find appropriate funders and how to develop grant proposals. Project Grantsmanship filled the gap. “Project Grantsmanship helped me understand the reality of how proposals are written.”


Although LAEP uses a consultant to write most proposals, Jennie’s task is to gather and focus the information needed by the consultant. Because Project Grantsmanship taught her the nuts and bolts of the grants process, Jennie now can give the proposal writers exactly what they need. “It’s great to be passionate, and to be a wonderful story teller, but there must be clear objectives, as well.” Jennie is now confident that she can explain outcomes and help obtain the documentation that objectives are being met.


One challenging aspect of LAEP is that it provides capacity-building. Instead of direct service, like teaching or after-school care, LAEP works through channels and through other people. They facilitate change by helping leaders to lead, by listening to students and helping them be heard, and by finding common ground for all involved. When LAEP helps a school through a difficult transition or hones in on a particular issue for students, they don’t wave a magic wand. Their work requires nuanced, sensitive, sometimes behind-the-scenes communication and support that leads to the success of others.


Looking to the future, LAEP is expanding their social enterprise: educational childcare services for nonprofit staff, and home visits with childcare specialists and educators for parents to get feedback and assessments on their parenting skills.


LAEP creates partnerships that give students the best opportunities possible. You can learn more about Los Angeles Education Partnership here.


Amy Van Mechelen, Project Grantsmanship Coordinator


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