Jennifer Abbott, Director of Philanthropy, Manatee Community Foundation

How long have you been with MCF?

I joined MCF in August of 2018, so January marks 5 ½ amazing years!

How did you come to the Foundation?

My college job was with a nonprofit in Washington, DC, and that set me on a lifelong path. Over my 30+ year career, I’ve worked for national and local nonprofits in just about every role.  At one point I moved to corporate brand building, working with companies like Southwest Airlines and Chili’s, but nonprofit work eventually called me back.  Combined, all of those experiences nurtured in me a true and deep appreciation for the power of a community foundation, and what it can do for nonprofits and ultimately those they serve.

What do you love most about your job?

I love to learn about the causes that touch people’s hearts and why, and then help them to realize their philanthropic goals. Sometimes that is for current giving, and sometimes it’s about crafting a legacy plan that truly reflects their values and the change they hope to see in the world.  I feel that is such a privilege.

What do you love to do when you’re not at MCF?

Well, this is the year that my husband Mark and I became empty nesters so we are learning a new way of life! We love to be outdoors and often visit local and state parks with our two rescue dogs.  We also love to travel anywhere and everywhere – but top of our list is visiting our college kids in Atlanta and Denver!

Hazel & Gibbs exploring nature

What is something we might not know about you?

I am surprisingly becoming a bird person. Seven years ago, our son convinced us to let him raise homing pigeons, and then during the pandemic we expanded to chickens.  We also love to look for birds on our nature walks, and we recently acquired an “AI-powered bird feeder” that takes pictures of the songbirds in our yard!

Our first visitor