Nancy Jacobson

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Nancy Jacobson
Nancy jacobson.jpg
Born (1962-11-09) November 9, 1962 (age 53)
Miami, FL
Residence Washington, D.C.
Alma mater Syracuse University
American University
Occupation Political Fundraiser
Spouse(s) Mark Penn
Children 1 daughter

Nancy Jacobson is a United States Democratic Party fundraiser.[1] She has been the National Finance Chair for Indiana Senator Evan Bayh since 1995, and was Finance Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) under President Clinton. She has helped launch political organizations to support centrist Democratic Party ideas and candidates,[2] and engage women in the political process.[3] In 2010, she (along with Mark McKinnon) co-founded No Labels, a 501(c)(4) citizens movement of Republicans, Democrats and Independents[4] whose mission is to address the politics of problem solving.[5] Jacobson was named one of the 50 Most Powerful People in D.C. by GQ Magazine in 2007.[6]


Jacobson graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Syracuse University, and a Master's degree in public relations from American University.[7]

Early career[edit]

Jacobson’s entry into politics was as a student at Syracuse, when she held a fundraiser for Colorado Senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart in New York.[2] Hart was the main challenger to former Vice-President Walter Mondale for the 1984 Democratic nomination.[8] After her event, Jacobson was appointed co-coordinator for New York’s 27th congressional district, and then an alternate delegate to the 1984 Democratic national convention in San Francisco. Following the convention, she was hired as Hart’s receptionist and then moved to the fundraising department, where she worked until 1988.[9]

Upon Hart’s exit from the 1988 presidential campaign, Jacobson was hired to then Senator Al Gore’s presidential campaign.[3] Gore was one of the front-runners that year, placing third in the primaries. During that time, Jacobson also worked for the Democratic Senate campaign committee under Senator John Kerry.

From 1989–1991, Jacobson was the Political Action Committee (PAC) Director for the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the global trade association of the shopping center industry.[10] At the ICSC PAC, Jacobson was responsible for soliciting personal contributions from ICSC members to support Congressional candidates who shared the industry’s interests.[11]

Bill Clinton presidential campaign (1991–1993)[edit]

In August 1991, Jacobson joined Bill Clinton's Presidential campaign as Finance Director for the Mid-Atlantic region.[9] After Bill Clinton was elected in 1992, Jacobson was appointed as the Finance Director of the Presidential Inaugural Committee for Bill Clinton and led fundraising efforts for the Inauguration.[12]

Democratic National Committee (1993 - 1995)[edit]

When President Clinton assumed office in 1993, he appointed Jacobson Finance Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).[13] In 1993, she created the Women's Leadership Forum, the first female-only finance council tasked to raise money and party awareness among women.[14] Since its inception, the Women's Leadership Forum has sponsored an annual issues conference providing its members with access to female leaders and high-level policy makers, as well as training in organizing and fundraising. Event speakers have included Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama in 2008 [15] and Senator Hillary Clinton in 2006.[16]

While at the DNC, Jacobson also created the Saxophone club, the first national young professionals donor club within the DNC.[13]

Democratic Leadership Council (1995–2008)[edit]

In 1995, Nancy Jacobson became Senior Advisor and National Finance Chair for the centrist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC).[17]

From 1995-2008, Jacobson built the DLC’s major donor program by getting centrist donors engaged in the DLC, which, at that time, was responsible for President Clinton’s "new Democrat" agenda,[18] and was credited with moving the party to the center.[19]

Evan Bayh senatorial & presidential campaigns (1995 - Present)[edit]

Since 1995, Jacobson has been the National Finance Director/Chairman for Indiana Senator Evan Bayh.[20] Over the past 15 years, she has been responsible for the Senator’s overall fundraising strategy, and for building relationships with the donor community.

In 2008, Jacobson led Senator Bayh’s finance team during his bid for the 2008 Democratic nomination for president.[17] During this time, she was tasked with building a self-sustaining fundraising organization that would allow the senator to opt out of the federal public financing system. To this end, Jacobson focused on finding new centrist Democrats who became active in the party after the Clintons had left office. She also recruited young entrepreneurs who appreciated Bayh’s budget balancing resume as an Indiana governor.[1]

NEXT Generation (1998 - Present)[edit]

In 1998, Jacobson founded a political action committee called NEXT Generation to raise money and support for centrist candidates running for the Senate.[2] The mission of the group is to bring together the next generation of business leaders with the next generation of political leaders through forums where they can exchange ideas and information. Jacobson has been NEXT Generation’s Executive Chair since its founding.[21]

Third Way (2004 - 2008)[edit]

In 2004, Jacobson helped launch Third Way, a think tank of the moderate wing of the progressive movement.[22] Third Way works with elected officials, candidates, and advocates to develop and advance moderate policy ideas in Congress. The group's issue trainings have been used in the House and Senate, and by governors and congressional candidates.[23]

Hillary Clinton presidential campaign (2007 - 2008)[edit]

In 2007, Jacobson joined Senator Hillary Clinton's Presidential Campaign as a Senior Advisor, working with Clinton's national finance director.[1] According to New York Times columnist Frank Rich, Jacobson and her husband, Mark Penn "helped brand the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign as a depository for special-interest contributions."[24]

In October 2007, Jacobson created the Women’s Summit Series to reach out and recruit women to raise funds.[25] As a result, 1400 women nationwide came to Washington for the $2300 per person summit to support Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign.[3]

No Labels (2010 - Present)[edit]

Nancy founded No Labels, a political organization of Republicans, Democrats and independents dedicated to the politics of problem solving.[26][27] No Labels launched in December 2010 at an event at Columbia University, with over 1,000 people from all 50 states in attendance.[28] Since then, No Labels has proposed action plans to Make Congress Work! and Make the Presidency Work!, which provide proposals to reform the government to make it more efficient and accountable.[29][30] No Labels will host another meeting in January 2013 called the Meeting to Make America Work![31] No Labels has gained national recognition, with frequent mentions in major national publications like The Washington Post[32] and The New York Times.[33]

Personal and Family[edit]

Nancy Jacobson is married to Mark Penn, Democratic pollster and former CEO of Burson-Marsteller.[2] The couple met in 1996 when Evan Bayh, then governor of Indiana, introduced them at a Democratic Leadership Council event. Married since 1999, they are parents to daughter Blair and three children from Penn’s previous marriage.[2]

The Penns host monthly dinners for powerful Democrats, journalists, and other political figures at their Georgetown home. These events are known for their seriousness and focus on the issues of the day.[9]

In July 2009, Jacobson hosted an event at her home for LIFT (formerly National Student Partnerships), a movement to combat poverty in major American cities.[34] She is the 2010 chair of the Sidwell Friends School auction [35] and was recently elected to the board of the White House Project on women.

Jacobson was one of 10 Washingtonians the French writer Patrick Sabatier profiled in his book, Washington Confidential, a Frenchman's view of Washington for his audience in Europe.[36]


  1. ^ a b c "Nancy Jacobson Joins Team HRC". Hotline on Call. December 20, 2006. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Baer, Susan (August 1, 2006). "When Marriage and Politics Conflict". Washingtonian. 
  3. ^ a b c "Q & A with Nancy Jacobson". Double X. July 13, 2009. 
  4. ^ Oliphant, James (September 26, 2010). "Tired of 'tea party' sniping, moderates organize". Los Angeles Times. 
  5. ^ "Houston ground zero for a radical political movement reaching both Democrats and Republicans". Culture Map Houston. June 2, 2010. 
  6. ^ Naddaf, Raha and Greg Veis (September 2007). "The 50 Most Powerful People in D.C." [1] GQ. Retrieved 2009-05-19
  7. ^ "Third Way: Nancy Jacobson, Senior Advisor". Third Way web site: Management Team. Third Way. Archived from the original on 2006-11-20. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  8. ^ "Over the Top, Barely". Time Magazine. Jun 18, 1984. 
  9. ^ a b c DePaulo, Lisa (November 2004). "Cocktail (Movers and) Shakers". Elle. 
  10. ^ "ICSC:About ICSC". 
  11. ^ "ICSC:ICSC PACs". 
  12. ^ "Key People-Sen. Evan Bayh". Democracy in Action, George Washington University Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet. October 25, 2006. 
  13. ^ a b Galvin, Thomas; William Goldschlag (March 29, 1997). "DNC played up favorite: Pushed commerce to give fund-raiser job". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  14. ^ The Democratic Party: Women The Democratic Party website. DNC. Retrieved on 2009-05-19
  15. ^ "Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama Joe and Jill Biden at Obama fund raiser in Chicago". Chicago Sun Times. October 10, 2008. 
  16. ^ "Hillary Clinton's Homestretch Appeal". ABC News. September 28, 2006. 
  17. ^ a b Green, Joshua (August 2008). "Who Says Penn is Finished?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  18. ^ Harris, John F. (March 6, 2009). "DLC on brink of a major shake-up". Politico. 
  19. ^ Nagourney, Adam (July 29, 2003). "Centrist Democrats Warn Party Not to Present Itself as 'Far Left'". New York Times. 
  20. ^ "Penn Station, A Georgetown Party House". Washington Spaces. Spring 2005. 
  21. ^ Ambinder, Marc (April 21, 2006). "Chasing Hillary". National Journal. Retrieved 2009-05-09. [dead link]
  22. ^ Harris, John F. (2004-11-11). "New group to tout Democrats' centrist values: Third Way plans to focus on 'moderate majority'". Washington Post. p. A35. Retrieved 2009-05-21. 
  23. ^ "Third Way: About Us". 
  24. ^ Rich, Frank (2010-12-18) The Bipartisanship Racket, New York Times
  25. ^ Ambinder, Marc (October 11, 2007) Hillary Clinton's "Women Summit" Fundraiser [2] The Atlantic. Retrieved on 2009-05-20
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ Shane, Cari (December 13, 2010). "The Manufacturing of No Labels". Huffington Post. 
  29. ^ "Most Popular E-mail Newsletter". USA Today. December 12, 2011. 
  30. ^ Baker, Peter (July 13, 2012). "‘No Labels' Group Offers Ideas for More Effective Presidency". The New York Times. 
  31. ^
  32. ^ Klein, Ezra (December 23, 2011). "Column: No Labels gets congressional dysfunction right". The Washington Post. 
  33. ^ Baker, Peter (July 13, 2012). "‘No Labels' Group Offers Ideas for More Effective Presidency". The New York Times. 
  34. ^ "National Student Partnerships Benefit". Washington Life Magazine. July 2009. 
  35. ^ "Sidwell Auction 2010". 
  36. ^ Baer, Susan (April 1, 2009). "Smart, Oui! Fun, Non!". Washingtonian. 

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