New Wean foundation president grew up and educated in Youngstown

By William K. Alcorn


Mahoning Valley resident Jennifer Roller is the new president of the Raymond John Wean Foundation.

The Wean Foundation’s board of directors named Roller, 46, of Youngstown, to the top position effective at its meeting March 5. She previously was the foundation’s program officer, vice president and acting president.

Gordon Wean, board chairman, said the foundation received in excess of 100 applicants for the position, most local and regional, but also several from around the country.

When the board could not reach consensus on the top three candidates who applied, it turned to Roller, who had not applied for the job, as its choice, Wean said.

“I am so happy she took the position. She has positive relationships in the community, and she’s been wonderful in our organization,” he said. “The Mahoning Valley likes to have its own people who know the Valley in positions of leadership.

“Roller has represented the foundation’s interests as a committed civic leader by remaining abreast and involved in current civic affairs. She also played a critical role in the development and management of the Foundation’s Neighborhood SUCCESS and Leadership Program,” he said.

“I pledge to lead in service of the foundation’s vision: Empowered residents creating a healthy, vibrant and economically stable Mahoning Valley with equal opportunity for all,” Roller said.

The foundation will remain committed to its issue priorities: early childhood, educational opportunity, economic opportunity, community revitalization and public- and civic-sector leadership, she said.

Roller, a 1986 graduate of The Rayen School in Youngstown, received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in education from Youngstown State University.

Before coming to the Wean Foundation, she was director of Upward Bound and SCOPE (Summer College Occupational Preview Experience) at YSU. In 2012, Roller was named one of 10 national fellows in the Association of Black Foundation Executives Connecting Leaders Fellowship and completed the Rockwood Leadership Institute for Philanthropic Leaders of California.

Roller exhibits her commitment to the community through volunteering with the Youngstown Radio Reading Services, a program of the Youngstown Area Goodwill Industries.

She and her husband, Jason, have a son, Trey.