Given that her hometown of Bruning, Nebraska, USA has a population of less than 300 people, it’s no wonder that Jennifer Lentfer found her calling in accompanying small, local organizations to be strong forces for social transformation. She has worked with 300+ grassroots organizations in the Global South over the past decade.

In 2010, she created the blog how-matters.org to help place community-driven initiatives at the forefront of international aid, philanthropy, and social enterprise. In 2012 she was named as one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s “100 women to follow on Twitter” at @intldogooder.

Her first book, Smart Risks: How small grants are helping to solve some of the world’s biggest problems, which she co-edited with Tanya Cothran, is available now.

Now as the Director of Communications of Thousand Currents, Jennifer is constantly looking for ways to portray the realities of people’s lives, their struggles, their strengths–as well as outsiders’ roles and mistakes–in an impatient, “silver bullet solutions” world. With her students at Georgetown University in 2014, she published the popular guide, “The Development Element: Guidelines for the future of communicating about the end of global poverty.” Previously she served with various international organizations in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Namibia, and the U.S., where she has focused on organizational development and learning.

To learn more about her professional profile, see: linkedin.com/in/jenniferlentfer.

How-matters.org creator Jennifer Lentfer. Photo: jooprubens.com.

“We appear to have forgotten what is needed to succeed with the people.” ~Njabulo S. Ndebele

“The best political, social, and spiritual work we can do is to withdraw the projection of our shadow onto others.” ~Carl Jung

Image by Eric Wüstenhagen (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Why the succulent icon?

Vastly diverse species of succulent plants grow and thrive in some of the harshest and most beautiful places around the world. They are resilient, fractal, and adaptive to changing environmental conditions. Simply put, they are survivors.


The opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. Content contained herein is not intended to reflect the work of any of my past, present, or future employers.


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  4. Dear Jennifer. I read all your about us and i can see the expression of a harmful experience in international development. I am very glad to read these words from a foreign actor that highlights major (and unrecognized) problems surrounding international aid in Africa. I am running a local NGO in Benin (western africa) http://aced-benin.org and i always experience such realities.

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  21. Karen McVeigh

    Hi Jennifer
    I’m a journalist at the Guardian – trying to get hold of you today, to chat about a piece I’m writing on Poverty Porn in fundraising ads. Can you get in touch or let me know your contact number?

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