Jenal joined the Rural Center in April 2020 and oversees the Center’s funding partnerships with governments, corporations, foundations, and individuals. Born and raised in a small rural town in Southern California, Jenal grew up enjoying the many animals on her family’s pet resort-style farm and exploring the nearby mountains. Her parents each had their own very successful small businesses; her mom ran a local accounting firm and her dad installed and maintained water wells for rural people who were not connected to urban water systems.
Jenal’s life quickly became one of city living when she attended high school and college in San Diego. To satisfy her itch for travel, she studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina and ended up staying for almost two years to take classes, volunteer, and teach English. She then moved to Boston, where she worked for various public and nonprofit organizations, including a community college, a large university, and a health and human services agency. She obtained her MBA in Public and Nonprofit Management from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. After graduate school, she moved to North Carolina where she had the opportunity to manage corporate and foundation partnerships for the Girl Scouts and do some consulting work for a nonprofit fundraising firm called moss+ross.
Jenal is passionate about supporting underserved communities and is thrilled to be part of an organization that empowers North Carolina’s rural people and places. When she’s not building partnerships, she loves to hike with her sweet black lab, cycle the back roads of Orange County, grow fruits and veggies in her novice backyard garden, and do front porch yoga in the sunshine.