Janet Rodriguez is Founding President & CEO of SoHarlem, Inc., a community-based social enterprise founded to ensure that artisans and the local community benefit from economic development in the Manhattanville Factory District. It is dedicated to forging partnerships that contribute to transforming Manhattanville’s creative spirit, cultural economy, and public spaces through mentoring, training and educational programs.
Prior to establishing SoHarlem, she served as Vice President of the JPMorgan Chase Global Philanthropy Group and was responsible for providing leadership and support to the National Community Relations team charged with developing and implementing philanthropic strategies in their local communities. She was central to the integration of the three focus areas of JPMC’s philanthropy -- Community Development, Education, and Arts and Culture -- in a coordinated, holistic manner to benefit low-to moderate-income communities, and to identifying opportunities for leveraging grant dollars by collaborating with other public/private partners. As the subject matter expert in arts and culture, she was responsible for directing the national arts & culture initiatives across the country.
Rodriguez was the owner Straight Out of Harlem, Inc. (SOH) a creative outlet in the Sugar Hill section of Harlem ensuring that the ethnic, cultural, aesthetic traditions and practices of the community were kept vital during a time of social change and neighborhood transition. SOH’s storefront was an integral part of the neighborhood, addressing its broader needs by producing public programs, exhibitions and salons that explored contemporary cultural issues, as well as promoting and selling the work of more than 250 local and global artists who created functional and wearable art.
Other professional experiences include: Program Officer with the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; Managing Director of the Aaron Davis Hall; New York Philharmonic’s Music Assistance Fund; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; Program Director for the Kentucky Arts Council; and Co-Founder of Latin American Music in Alternative Spaces.
Rodriguez is a graduate of Columbia University’s School of the Arts, MFA in Arts Administration; Columbia University’s Teachers College, MA in Art Education; and New York University, BS, Art Education. She has served on many boards, among them the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, the World Media Foundation, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and Grantmakers in the Arts.