President of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation
Jen Giovannitti is the President and a Trustee of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, a private family foundation founded in 1944. The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation is a regional philanthropy focusing on West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania. The Foundation generally invests two-thirds of its grant dollars in West Virginia and one-third in Southwestern Pennsylvania, making it a place-based funder with a dedication to rural communities.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Ms. Giovannitti led 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 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.
Ms. Giovannitti lived West Virginia for 11 years, 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 (WV) 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.
Throughout her career she has held leadership positions at the local, state, and regional level with nonprofits, universities, professional associations, and government planning bodies. Ms. Giovannitti currently serves on the Board of the Regional Industrial Development Corporation (Pittsburgh), is a Trustee of Davis and Elkins College (West Virginia), and is a partner with the Richard King Mellon Foundation and The Heinz Endowments in Almono, LLC (Pittsburgh). She is member of the International Women’s Forum and serves on the National Advisory Council for Building Healthy Places (national) and is a member of the Community Advisory Board for Truist Bank (regional). She also is a member of the Investment Committee for the Strategic Investment Fund (Pittsburgh-regional).
Ms. Giovannitti obtained her MA in Community and Regional Planning from the University of British Columbia, and her BA in Planning and Urban Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. 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. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and three children.
*NOTE: This bio is for informational purposes only. Please contact Sandy Harvey to use for publication.