Janet Rodriguez, Founder & CEO
Janet Rodriguez, SoHarlem Inc, Founder and CEO, has more than twenty years of experience in policy and grantmaking positions in public, private, and corporate philanthropy. That, along with a personal understanding of the critical role the arts play in child and community development, led her to serve on boards, manage institutions, initiate change, and become a social entrepreneur.
She established SoHarlem to ensure creative and local people participate in the economic development in the Manhattanville Factory District. SoHarlem 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 also the proprietor of Straight Out of Harlem, Inc. (SOH) in the Sugar Hill section of Harlem. As the sole creative outlet among retail stores and bodegas in Sugar Hill, the SOH storefront was an integral part of the community, addressing its broader needs by producing public programs, exhibitions, and salons that explored contemporary cultural issues, and by promoting and selling the work of more than 250 local and global artists who created functional and wearable art.nd during its five years of opensuring that the ethnic, cultural, aesthetic traditions and practices of the community were kept vital during a time of social change and neighborhood transition.
From 2001 through 2009, Rodriguez served as Vice President of the JPMorgan Chase Global Philanthropy Group. While at the foundation, she was responsible for providing leadership and support to the National Community Relations team charged with developing and implementing philanthropic strategies in their local communities.
Other professional experiences include: Program Officer with the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; Managing Director of the Aaron Davis Hall; Consultant to the New York Philharmonic’s Music Assistance Fund and the 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.