For much of her career, Jeannie was an executive in and consultant to the education and nonprofit community in Atlanta. Through her experience working alongside low and moderate income families seeking fair access to education, she became passionately interested in solving a problem faced by a large segment of the United States: Students from families without generational wealth who were turned away by banks that required a co-signer needed a way to access last-gap loans to finish college.
In 2015, she founded Funding U to provide a responsible ‘last gap’ loan option for hard working students and families. In 2020 Funding U is a FinTech leader. The company has proven its alternative credit screen for ‘thin file’ underserved young people. They have received nearly $500M in loan requests and made over $7M in small cap loans to academically achieving undergraduates, 40% of whom are from families with income of $40,000 or less, and 60% are first generation college students. Funding U has raised ~$15M in equity and debt financing from investors including Goldman Sachs, Mackenzie Scott, and the Fuqua Family.
Jeannie’s early career was in trade and academic book publishing, including at Smithsonian Institute Press and Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, where she was Director of Marketing. In 1999, she became the first employee of the newly founded Atlanta Girls’ School in Atlanta, Georgia, where she acted as Founding Director of Admissions. Immediately prior to founding Funding U in 2015, she was Director of Development for Literacy Action and a strategic consultant to the Atlanta Speech School, Atlanta Hospice, and Youth Villages Georgia. She served on the Emory Board of Visitors from 2017 to 2019, was a Founding Board Member of Girls on the Run, Atlanta, 1998-2001, and was the first alumna trustee of The Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, 1994-1996.
Jeannie is a graduate of Princeton University, where she attained a B.A. cum laude, in English Literature and American Studies. She has launched three other successful ‘start ups’ – her children, Anna, Peter, and Robert – ages 20, 18, and 15.