ELKINS – Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation President and former Elkins resident Jen Giovannitti has been appointed to the Davis & Elkins College Board of Trustees.
“Davis & Elkins College is fortunate to have Jen Giovannitti join our Board of Trustees,” said D&E President Chris A. Wood. “Her lifetime of experience assisting non-profit organizations that deepen their impact upon their communities is ideally suited for D&E at this time in our history. Her love of Randolph County brings us a dedicated Board member whose heart, mind and soul are ready to serve this campus and community.”
In May, Giovannitti was the commencement speaker for the D&E class of 2019 and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the College.
“I am very excited to join the Board of Trustees of Davis & Elkins College,” Giovannitti said. “D&E is a tremendous asset to the region and I am proud of the leadership it has shown over the decades. It will be a true honor to serve the mission of this college.”
Giovannitti has served in her current post since 2018 when she was named the first woman president of the Foundation. Prior to that, she led strategic programs and community-based initiatives for seven years at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, most notably in community investment, human capital, regional collaboration and capital access. She emphasized the role of data-driven decision-making in regional projects. She formed the West Virginia Loan Fund Collaborative in 2012 to better understand the impact of small business lending in underserved communities. She has authored a variety of reports, publications and opinion essays, and has applied her expertise broadly in rural development strategies.
For 11 years, Giovannitti lived in Elkins first serving as the director of the Elkins rail yard redevelopment project, then serving as chief executive of the Randolph County Economic Development Authority and West Virginia Wood Technology Center. The successful redevelopment of the Elkins Rail Yard preserved historic structures, reconstructed a historic bridge, and added tourism infrastructure and public amenities. The project was a model for rural communities redeveloping brownfield sites. In her role leading the county’s economic development agency, she was committed to advancing workforce development and supporting the many businesses and local manufacturing operations in the region.
She is a member of the steering committees for West Virginia Forward, a statewide initiative to advance the state’s economy, and the Appalachian Funders Network. Throughout her career she has held leadership positions at the local, state and regional level with nonprofits, universities, state trade associations and government planning bodies. Early in her career, she also worked with municipalities in western Pennsylvania in positions with the engineering firms of Mackin Engineering Company and Herbert, Rowland, and Grubic, Inc.
Giovannitti obtained a Master of Arts degree in community and regional planning from the University of British Columbia, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in planning and urban studies from the University of Pittsburgh in 1993. She was an international research fellow in 1995-1996 through the University of British Columbia Centre for Human Settlements, where she led a research project in Vietnam designed around the role of women in the household economy and poverty alleviation in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Her research was later published through the Asian Urban Research Network.
Giovannitti lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and three children.