By Brianne Dornbush, Executive Director
This is a bittersweet week as we say goodbye to Jennifer Kuiper. Jennifer joined the District Bridges team as our Lower Georgia Avenue Main Street Director in 2017, four years ago almost to the day. During her tenure she also served as the Woodley Park Main Street Director and, most recently. as our Senior Director of Policy and Evaluation.
I first met Jennifer through her work with Georgia Avenue Thrive. When the Lower Georgia Avenue Main Street grant RFP came out we had several long conversations about what a partnership between Georgia Avenue Thrive and District Bridges could look like. When it came to the application we literally wrote Jennifer into our proposal. On submission day I remember saying to Jennifer, “So when we win, are you really going to quit your job and do this with me?”
She said, “Yeah, of course. But let’s see if we win.”
About a month later, I called Jennifer on the phone and said, “Well, I’m really sorry to have to tell you this but… you’re going to have to quit your job! We won!”
From that day on, Jennifer and I started building. Jennifer has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and she has used that thirst to push our advocacy to even higher heights in support of the small businesses and communities we serve. She asks questions that challenge convention. She works tirelessly to ensure the voices of everyone in our community are heard and incorporated into our strategies and programming. District Bridges is a better organization today because of the work, commitment, and passion Jennifer has brought to her work every day.
Over the last four years, District Bridges has reaped the benefits of everything Jennifer has to offer professionally. But what the organization has benefited pales in comparison to what I personally have benefitted from the friendship and the partnership we have built with each other. Jennifer has a servant’s heart. She is just as comfortable testifying before city council as she is cleaning the bathroom at the office, or picking up trash as you walk down the street with her.
While we say goodbye to Jennifer today, her contribution to District Bridges and to the lives of everyone she has touched through her work and friendship has left an indelible mark on us all.
Jennifer, it has been an honor to work side by side with you. While we won’t be working in the same office anymore, I am beyond thankful that our friendship will continue long into the future. We all wish you the best of luck in your new adventure.