Program Officer - Jewish Life
As Rose Community Foundation’s program officer for Jewish Life, Vanessa Bernier sources opportunities, develops partnerships and manages grantmaking portfolios and relationships to create positive and measurable impact in the Greater Denver’s Jewish communities. Under her purview are everything from Jewish early childhood education initiatives and centers, day schools, teen initiatives and camps to social service organizations, older adult programs, diversity initiatives, JCCs, synagogues, mikvahs and more.
In 2019, as the Foundation embarked on a comprehensive strategic planning journey, Bernier led the Jewish Life refresh, which ensured alignment and connections between the Foundation’s Jewish Life objectives and strategic priorities and the over-arching goals of the Foundation as a whole. In 2020, as the local Jewish community responded to the health, social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bernier oversaw the deployment of $3.2 million in grantmaking to support Jewish organizations and initiatives throughout the seven-county Greater Denver Area.
Before joining Rose Community Foundation, Bernier worked in synagogue operations in New York and New Jersey, producing experiential and sacred communal events to welcome and connect people to Jewish Life and to each other.
Bernier graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Communication. She previously volunteered as an instructor at Literacy Partners, a nonprofit organization that works to help adults achieve basic literacy skills. She also volunteered in Thailand, working with trafficked women and children, and was a youth advocate at the PRIDE Center, which works with LGBT youth in foster care. In her free time, Vanessa is a certified vinyasa yoga instructor and recruits her friends for free yoga classes. She also enjoys exploring the mountains with her dog.