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Gisele Jones betters the lives of local students through her work with Big Shoulders Fund

Aubrey Thomson
By: Aubrey Thomson Last Updated: July 28, 2022

With nearly three years of experience at Big Shoulders Fund and many more years of experience working in the community, Big Shoulders Fund Northwest Indiana Director of Community Partnerships & Engagement Gisele Jones knows how to bolster the community. 

For more than 20 years, Jones has worked with youth in the community, so she has a well-developed perspective cultivated through decades of hands-on experience. Although her position at Big Shoulders Fund is a more recent development, her role as director of community partnerships & engagement has opened new doors to further drive her efforts to serve the community.

Now, via Big Shoulders Fund’s vast network of schools, she is able to connect with 72 schools in the Chicago area and 20 schools in Northwest Indiana, including Andrean High School, Bishop Noll Institute, and Marquette Catholic High School.

“My favorite part of this role is seeing the positive impact on students’ lives resulting from the seamless collaboration between our Big Shoulders Fund team, the Catholic Diocese of Gary schools, and our partner organizations,” Jones said.

Coordinating and preparing for these collaborations involves plenty of emails, phone calls, and meetings, both internally and externally, and Jones knows how to expertly manage all the people and projects hinging on this communication. She typically starts her day by reviewing her schedule and what projects are in the works to ensure Big Shoulders Fund is on track to make positive changes in the community.

“Through our work, we provide direct assistance to schools and students and ensure that all Northwest Indiana families have access to information about the Catholic Diocese of Gary schools and are aware that Catholic education is a high-quality, affordable option, said Jones. 

“Critical to this is our work to increase awareness about the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program, which significantly reduces any financial barriers that may exist to attend Catholic schools and is available to the majority of families in Indiana,” she added.

Being able to make a difference in the lives of the community, especially in the lives of students, is already a rich reward, but Jones is also grateful she has the opportunity to make a difference alongside the other compassionate and intelligent minds at Big Shoulders Fund.

“My favorite memory at Big Shoulders Fund replays daily working with a passionate group of mission-focused professionals committed to providing access to high-quality education for all children. Para Los Niños!” Jones said.

When not hard at work bettering the lives of children through her work, Jones loves spending time with her own children and husband. She enjoys her conversations with her children because of their great sense of humor and surprising insights. 

For more information about Big Shoulders Fund, visit https://bigshouldersfund.org/.