550 Forest Avenue, Suite 100, Portland, ME 04101 info@uwsme.org 207-874-1000

Jennifer Burns

What is your role at UWSM? My primary focus is to support a group of community leaders as they guide the work of Goal 1 to increase the number of children in Cumberland County with high-quality early learning experiences resulting in a higher percentage of children reading proficiently by the end of third grade. It is a fascinating combination of analyzing data to understand outcomes for children across the county at a population level and listening to families and service providers about the individual experiences that children are having. With this kind of information, working with the Goal 1 Cabinet and community volunteers, we design approaches to support kids and families using our primary tools of funding, volunteerism, and advocacy.

What’s your favorite work moment so far? I get the most fulfillment out of moments when needs and resources to meet those needs come together. I can be in a meeting with folks working in a community agency who mention that their summer program does not have enough books in the appropriate languages and later that day receive an email from an organization wanting to provide free books where there is a need. I love being a conduit of community solutions.

How do you take your coffee? Variable.

What’s your favorite book? I read really broadly. Right now I have on my bedside table “Devotions” which is selected poems from Mary Oliver. It keeps me grounded in the beauty of simplicity.

What’s on your bucket list? My bucket list generally only contains the most recent activity to grab my attention. Right now that is a 220+ mile running relay in New Hampshire in September. I also have vague notions of learning to play the double bass and becoming a certified yoga instructor, but not by September!