Jennifer Friend – CEO, Project Hope Alliance
Project Hope Alliance and CEO Jennifer Friend helped to inspire the play Nomad Motel through conversations with the playwright about motel kids and families. Project Hope’s mission is to end the cycle of homelessness, one child at a time. PHA provides homeless children and youth from kindergarten through age 24 with the tools and opportunities that they need to learn their way to a better tomorrow. Over 28 years, they have developed a unique model of care including effective education and family stability program models that serve the needs of children experiencing homelessness in Orange County.
Prior to becoming CEO, Jennifer Friend enjoyed a successful career as a partner at a large law firm managing a litigation team and a substantial personal book of business, representing national and international clients throughout the civil courts of California. While practicing law, she served as President and Secretary of Project Hope Alliance’s Board of Directors and was actively engaged in the organization’s expansion and strategic growth. Since 2013, more than 850 children and their families have been moved out of homelessness under her leadership as CEO. Project Hope Alliance has experienced a growth of 400% in the past four years, evolving from a team of three full-time employees to a current team of 22. Jennifer has been successful in identifying, leveraging, and acting upon opportunities and partnerships both within the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Her personal experience as a homeless child fuels her deep-rooted passion and commitment to homeless children and youth, while her ability to cast vision, think strategically, and lead and direct broader systems change uniquely qualify her to serve as Project Hope Alliance’s CEO. She holds a JD from Whittier Law School and a BA in Criminology, Law, and Society from University of California, Irvine.