Jake Penders

Associate Director of Development

Jake Penders is the Associate Director of Development at CNAS. Penders works closely with the vice president of development and research staff to support the development, management, and execution of foundation and government grants and contracts. In this role, he routinely assists in proposal development, attachment planning, and fulfillment of reporting requirements to the funders of the Center’s research projects. In his position, he serves as a Salesforce administrator of the Center’s CRM database focused on record keeping all Center-wide contributions. Additionally, he works with CNAS’ finance director on project budgets and financial reporting. Penders is the proud recipient of the 2023 1LT Andrew J. Bacevich Jr., USA Award as an emerging leader recognized for his courage, integrity, and commitment to public service.

Prior to joining CNAS, Penders worked for Elevate, a private consulting firm in Washington, D.C., focused on providing grant writing services and institutional fundraising support for nonprofit organizations located across the United States. While there, he held senior-level positions in both the project coordination and business development departments and contributed to the firm’s growth.

Before moving to Washington, D.C., and joining Elevate, Penders worked as a grants manager at HELP USA, a national nonprofit headquartered in New York City that provides access to affordable housing for military veterans and their families, as well as other groups afflicted by homelessness.

Penders is currently a master of public administration candidate at SUNY Albany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. Penders received his bachelor’s degree in political science, history, and humanitarian affairs from Fordham University, where he was magna cum laude and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Upon graduation, Penders was awarded a grant through the U.S. Fulbright Student Program and served as an English teaching assistant in Nováky, Slovakia, for a year. Penders is also a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Washington D.C. Metro Chapter.

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