Jai Winston to Lead Knight Foundation Investments in St. Paul

Monday, August 8, 2016

Jai Winston, an experienced strategic planning and development professional, will join the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as the St. Paul program director.

Winston will work with local leaders and community members to invest in projects that help to keep and attract talented people in the city, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of civic engagement. He will start on Sept. 30.

Since 2014, Winston has served as associate of strategy and corporate development in the office of the chairman at Ariel Investments, a minority-owned money management firm headquartered in Chicago. In this role, he has helped lead many of the firm’s projects, including some of its national work on financial literacy and minority entrepreneurship.

Through his efforts with the Chicago Financial Education Initiative, he collaborated with city agencies, public schools, community organizations and private sector partners to develop a citywide plan for financial literacy. He has also managed the Black Corporate Directors Conference, an annual gathering of black directors who serve on Fortune 500 boards, which is focused on corporate governance and advancing diversity and inclusion in the boardroom.

Previously, Winston served on the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs working as a liaison to the White House, cabinet members, agency chief of staffs and others. He served as the Illinois deputy finance director for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and as the North Carolina deputy finance director for the 2012 Democratic National Convention Committee.

“Jai will bring a fresh leadership voice to St. Paul, building on his track record for advancing strategic, collaborative initiatives that have deep impact. His focus on diversity and inclusion will benefit the work of Knight in helping to create an even more successful St. Paul,” said Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation president.

“St. Paul is a place with great diversity, a deep-seated sense of civic pride and intense energy for collaborative action. I look forward to working with the community to leverage these assets, reinforcing Knight’s commitment to thoughtful philanthropic investment, while bringing an innovative approach and fresh perspective to the efforts underway in the city,” said Winston.

Winston has a bachelor of arts in political science from Howard University. He serves on the board of the Illinois Humanities Council, and is also a member of the Lookingglass Theater and buildOn junior boards, as well as the emerging leaders board for the Mikva Challenge, the advisory board of INVEST Chicago and the steering committee for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Financial Services Pipeline Initiative.

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