Board Spotlight –
Alice French Jacobs

Honorary Chair, What She’s Made Of 2022

Alice Jacobs, Chair Emerita, WNY Women’s Foundation Board of Directors

Educational background:

Bachelor of Arts degree from Colgate University
Juris Doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania
Master of Science in Creativity from SUNY Buffalo State

Career path and current position:

I practiced corporate and business-related immigration law at Hodgson Russ LLP before evolving my work to focus on my family and community. Serving on numerous educational and community boards since that time, I have gained a variety of perspectives integral to fostering social change. As an author and strategist, I focus on collaboration, mentorship, and philanthropy, to help ensure that our community will not just survive, but thrive.

A founding board member and Chair Emerita of the WNY Women’s Foundation, I led the extensive transition to an independently operational Foundation while achieving an organizational shift from a focus solely on program support to one that includes program design and implementation and public advocacy. I also serve as the co-chair of ALL IN, a community-wide women’s leadership initiative through which the Foundation is working to move the needle on gender equity in leadership in Western New York.

How were you introduced to the WNY Women’s Foundation?

By two of our amazing founders – Patty Colby and Pog Swift – who were way ahead of their time in seeing the need for an organization committed to philanthropy for women, and encouraging women as philanthropists.

What is your favorite program, initiative or type of advocacy work the WNY Women’s Foundation facilitates?

One of my philanthropic focuses is education – it is something you can never take away from people. So any work we do encouraging women to successfully pursue an educational path is like double gold to me. So many things are connected to ensuring women are successful along their educational pathway. I feel it is connected to a large portion of the work we do.

What advice can you give women striving to succeed in a similar career path to the one you’ve chosen?

Define your purpose, then design the path, and know that no one else will carve it out for you. You have to take the initiative and figure it out yourself. Determine your top three personal values and ensure that every choice you make fits with them. Although my career has not followed a traditional path, I believe it has ultimately been more rewarding for the unexpected places it has taken me.

Do you have a favorite WNY, woman-owned business? Tell us about it: 

As an avid, passionate supporter of numerous locally owned business, one entrepreneur constantly stands out as creative, innovative, passionate, and generous. Katie Ambrose is a makeup artist, hair stylist, and grooming expert. With 20 years of experience in commercials, TV, and film in both Los Angeles and New York City, she returned to her hometown Buffalo in 2012 to lead a team of professional artists through an artist collaborative she founded called Groom Service, taking a chance and committing to Downtown Buffalo when many in her field had left for the suburbs.


Additional Information:

Alice is the Founder of the Innovation Philanthropy Initiative. In order to realize transformative solutions to serve the challenges facing our families and communities today, Alice believes we must learn to invest differently, empowering the use of creative thinking processes and stewarding innovation.

She hopes to inspire you to become an Innovation Philanthropist and help strengthen the abilities of non-profits, boards, and donors. When every voice is heard, and we work creatively together, we will see the positive change we need.

Check out for more information.