BENTONVILLE, Ark., June 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Heartland Forward announced Paige Jernigan has joined the "think and do" tank as the nonprofit's new director of development. In this role, she will lead Heartland Forward's efforts to raise funding for the organization supporting its research and program work aimed at accomplishing the mission of improving the economic performance of the center of the U.S. Jernigan will work in tandem with Blake Woolsey, chief communications and development officer of Heartland Forward.

"The first thing I noticed when vetting Paige as a candidate is her passion for the Heartland as well as her entrepreneurial spirit and forward-thinking mindset," said Woolsey. "While she has loved living in London and New York City, it is obvious her roots are tied to the Heartland as a native of Pine Bluff, Ark. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have her joining this team as we work to achieve a mission serving so many at such a critical time in our economy. She is all about finding solutions, connecting the people who can make it happen and acting upon it.”

As a native of the state of Arkansas growing up in Pine Bluff, Jernigan started her career as a telecom equity research analyst at Goldman Sachs. She is a Strategic Advisor to disaster relief tech startup Everest Effect and created a mentoring/work program for high school students to work with its two female founders; PeopleShores, a tech services outsourcing company enabling disadvantaged youth in underserved communities training and jobs in tech services; is a founding member of the Delta Arts District, an impact collaboration creating consumer packaged goods from the Arkansas/Mississippi Delta which include Yazoo Yaupon Tea, Yaupon Brothers American Tea Company, and Ilex Organics; and co-founded an English literacy company based in Shanghai. She has given more than 15 years of service to educational institutions, serving as a Trustee to three independent schools in both London and the U.S., helping create and execute capital campaigns and annual fund initiatives. She graduated from Hollins University and received her MBA from Kellogg at Northwestern.

“It is a thrill to be back in my home state to help with the important work of economic renewal in the middle of the country. I believe all humans are entrepreneurs, thinkers and doers, yet too few have access to the tools and knowledge to execute on their ideas and dreams,” said Jernigan. “Being part of the team to help turn Heartland Forward’s research into action is an honor.”

About Heartland Forward:

Heartland Forward's mission is to improve economic performance in the center of the United States by advocating for fact-based solutions to foster job creation, knowledge-based and inclusive growth, and improved health outcomes. We conduct independent, data-driven research, pilot programs, and convene thought leaders and policymakers to facilitate action-oriented discussion and impactful policy recommendations. Recently, it launched its inaugural program -- an idea accelerator, in Oxford, Miss., and Tulsa, Okla., as part of Heartland Forward’sCommunity Growth Program and Toolkit. The CGPT is providing communities with the resources needed to help inspire new ideas, build upon existing programs and connect with resources to achieve success.

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