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Jessica Mowles


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Guiding foundations on promising practices, effective operations, and equity change

“I don’t believe in charity. I believe in solidarity. Charity is vertical; it goes from top to bottom. Solidarity is horizontal; it respects the other person.”—Eduardo Galeano

An abiding passion for social justice and a deep respect for human rights have animated Jessica’s professional path. Her decade of experience in the social sector includes roles in both the philanthropy and nonprofit arenas, where she has focused on foundation and program management, board and stakeholder engagement, and grantmaking strategy.

Jessica takes a committed, strategic approach to leveraging resources to enable institutional impact and support equitable organizations, alliances, and movements. She believes that a clearly defined programmatic strategy aligned with sufficient organizational capacity positions a foundation to contribute to lasting change.

At TCC Group:
  • Maine Health Access Foundation: With her conviction that institutional goals are most effectively identified and pursued through efficiently managed, participatory organizational change processes, Jessica served as Project Manager on a strategic planning project for the state’s largest health funder. As a primary researcher on the project, she conducted focus groups and field research with health experts, funder peers, community stakeholders, and grantees, and co-facilitated strategic conversations with the Foundation’s community advisory committee, Board, and program staff. Ensuring the effective integration of this Foundation’s newly honed equity commitments and its emerging strategic priorities, Jessica also oversaw all aspects of project management, serving as TCC’s operational liaison to the Foundation; regularly monitoring budget, timeline, and deliverable production; and ensuring efficient coordination and communication across the TCC project team. TCC’s highly collaborative engagement led to the Foundation taking a public stance on removing structural barriers and enhancing equity as essential to achieving health and wellbeing for all the people of Maine.
  • Nellie Mae Education Foundation: As Project Manager for this regional funder’s multi-part strategic review, planning, and organizational change effort, Jessica oversees and manages a complex, multi-partner, two-year effort. Her core responsibilities include designing and monitoring project budget, timeline, and deliverable production processes; liaising with Foundation operational and program staff; and ensuring ongoing alignment with the Foundation’s concurrent equity change process and complementary deliverables. Jessica is also a key member of the TCC research team, conducting internal and external interviews and data analysis with a wide range of stakeholders across the region. TCC’s work will ultimately yield Nellie Mae’s new five-year strategic plan, inclusive of Foundation mission, vision, values, strategic priorities, and an aligned implementation plan, in alignment with Foundation’s explicit commitment to racial and educational equity.
  • Jim Joseph Foundation: As a core member of TCC’s project team, Jessica coached and guided the Jim Joseph Foundation’s first open RFP process. Compelled to broaden its familiarity and engagement with diverse actors in the Jewish education field, the Foundation relied on TCC’s expertise in establishing application parameters, developing selection criteria, reviewing proposals effectively, ensuring staff participation, and safeguarding field relationships through adhering to the values of transparency, respect, and partnership. Jessica’s development of a proposal review rubric ensured consistency and clarity throughout the Foundation’s careful review of nearly 200 proposals. As a result of having successfully introduced new and more diverse organizations to the Foundation, nearly 20 multi-year grants were awarded across the field.
Before TCC Group:
  • Educational Foundation of America: Jessica directed this national family foundation’s next-generation grantmaking portfolio, investing in education, reproductive justice, and the environment, among other critical social issues. During her tenure, Jessica led the effort to build the next-generation committee’s internal capacity, formalizing its governance structure and grantmaking processes to maximize committee engagement and grantmaking impact. This work involved training 14 committee members—of diverse levels of experience, grantmaking interests, and philanthropic backgrounds—on best practices in grantmaking, philanthropic strategy, and foundation board and committee service. Jessica also designed and led the next gen committee through the adoption of a strategic grantmaking process, including issuance of an RFP, streamlined proposal guidelines, production of concise application overviews, development of explicit proposal review and selection criteria, and use of an assessment rubric.
  • iMentor: Joining this fast-growing, now national nonprofit early in its development, Jessica built diverse community- and school-based relationships and contributed to codifying an innovative program model that made formal mentoring accessible in high schools across least-served areas of New York City. She was actively involved in all levels of stakeholder engagement, including identifying and recruiting mentors, fostering student and school engagement, and facilitating large-scale student-mentor events—all of which helped cement the gains in high school graduation and college readiness the program was designed to advance.
  • New York University | Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
    • Master of Public Administration, Nonprofit and Philanthropic Management
  • Macalester College
    • BA, Political Science and Geography
Committee Service:
  • U.S. National Committee of the United World Colleges
  • Committee for Equitable and Inclusive Philanthropy: Philanthropy New York
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