Jennifer Downing

Executive Director
New Bedford Ocean Cluster


Jennifer Downing is the Executive Director of the New Bedford Ocean Cluster. She brings to her role over 20 years of nonprofit experience in the areas of local economic development, environmental sustainability, and leadership development. Previously held positions include Vice President of Community Engagement at the Buzzards Bay Coalition, Executive Director of Leadership Southcoast, and Program Officer at the Garfield Foundation.

A consistent thread running through Jennifer’s career has been a deep interest in advancing collaborative leadership and cross-sector collaborative processes. This prompted her to focus her graduate studies on the subject. In 2018, she received the Brian Webb Award for Outstanding Master of Arts Thesis by Union Institute & University for her paper, Action Learning to Develop Collaborative Capacity for Social Change.

In 2020, Downing was honored as a recipient of the John S. Brayton Community Service Award by the One South Coast Chamber of Commerce. She is currently the Chair of the Acushnet School Committee and has served on numerous nonprofit boards and committees. New England Business Bulletin selected Jennifer as one of their 2011 Top Young Professionals Under 40.

Jennifer holds a BFA from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City and an MA in Leadership, Public Policy and Social Issues from Union Institute & University.