The Board of Directors of the International Institute of Buffalo is pleased to introduce Jennifer Rizzo-Choi, a recent Institute board member and experienced nonprofit leader, as the Institute’s Interim Executive Director.
The board will immediately begin a search for a new, permanent executive director. In the meantime, Jenny will lend her experience—including more than a decade in law, public policy, media, refugee resettlement and immigration services, and nonprofit management—to ensure continuity at this critical time for the individuals and communities that we serve.
Jenny previously served as Legal Director for Journey’s End in Buffalo. Drawing on her legal education and a decade of experience in journalism and media on assignments across the U.S. and Europe, Jenny launched the organization’s legal aid program, raising over $1 million from new grant lines, establishing a walk-in clinic, and hiring and leading a team that handled over 500 immigration legal cases each year.
Jenny left Western New York to join Human Rights First in Washington, D.C., where she developed and led a national pro bono program to expand legal representation for immigrants around the country, working closely with the Obama White House and establishing field offices and coalitions in Texas, Louisiana, and Georgia.
Jenny then served as Executive Director of The Pro Bono Project in New Orleans, the state’s largest pro bono legal services organization, where she successfully rehabilitated the organization’s brand and finances and leveraged relationships with area law firms. She left to pursue her passion for nonprofit leadership, earning an MBA at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and ultimately returning to Western New York.
Jenny is well known and respected from her many years of service in our community. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of WNY, and she just recently completed a five-year term on our Board at the International Institute.
With her strong institutional knowledge, deep local roots, and extensive, hands-on experience in the work at the core of our mission, the board has confidence that Jenny will guide the International Institute through this period of positive and critical transition.