This summer, Jennifer Bartenbach moved from her previous position of CFO and COO into the new CEO of CICF. Here is a brief introduction to what inspires her and her plan for the future:
What is the most meaningful community impact you’ve made in your career?
I was honored to have been one of the founding board members for Circle City Prep, a public charter school that opened in 2017. It’s been incredible to have worked alongside so many passionate and brilliant people to create a school that helps remove the barriers that so many young people have to a solid education and create an equitable path for all its students to be successful at college and prepared to impact our community in profound ways.
Even though I have been with CICF for over 10 years, I am going into the role committed to listening and learning from the staff, our board of directors and the community.
What is your top priority in your first six months in this role?
Even though I have been with CICF for over 10 years, I am going into the role committed to listening and learning from the staff, our board of directors and the community. I will spend these first few months learning what is working well and where we can continue growing to better serve our community, fundholders and not-for-profit partners, all while we continue to operationalize our mission of equitable opportunity for everyone in this community to reach their full potential—no matter place, race or identity.
What do you see as your single biggest opportunity for growth in our community within your leadership?
We as an organization—and an entire Central Indiana community—have navigated many seismic shifts in the past few years. From a global pandemic to a national reckoning of the continued impact of generations of racial injustices and systemic inequities. Our Central Indiana communities have unique challenges and require unique solutions to remove barriers holding people back. With input from my team and our board, we are restructuring our team and strengthening our philanthropic collaborative to better serve our donors, not-for-profit organizations and multiple communities with various strategies and through our shared mission.
As a lifelong Hoosier, I know that our greatest asset in this state—especially in Central Indiana—is our people and willingness to come together with different perspectives and welcome a culture of innovation.
What are you most excited to learn about in this position?
I am excited to strengthen and develop relationships with existing and new partners to invest together to revolutionize how we practice philanthropy and invest in our communities. As a lifelong Hoosier, I know that our greatest asset in this state—especially in Central Indiana—is our people and willingness to come together with different perspectives and welcome a culture of innovation.
What aspect of our community brings you the most joy?
As stated above, first and foremost the people. But I love concerts and live music. Something about being in a shared space with others and celebrating the artistry of the musicians onstage is pure joy to me. Whether it’s the Symphony on the Prairie, a band at the White River State Park, Ruoff (or always Deer Creek to me) or a concert at my daughters’ school, the experience of live music with others in my community is just pure joy.