Robert M. Whelan, Jr.

While an inaugural fellow in the first class of the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative, Bob became the Chief Executive of 13th Avenue Funding in order to advance his dream of making a college education financially available to everyone with the qualifications and desire to go.

Bob has nearly 30 years of experience as a senior executive for a number of finance and investment companies, including Whelan and Company and Valuation Perspectives, Inc., which he founded to provide advice in the technology, health care and alternative energy industries. He also co-founded Volpe Brown Whelan and Company, a venture capital and asset management company which was acquired by Prudential Securities Inc. In December 1999.

Bob is a trustee of several prominent secondary schools in the Northeast. Bob received a BA in history from Dartmouth College, and an MBA degree in 1976 from Stanford University.

Casey Jennings

Casey Jennings is the Chief Operating Officer of 13th Avenue Finance, a non-profit dedicated to bringing a new financing technology to low-income college students who seek higher education without the burdens and risks of debt that accompany traditional college financing.

Drawing on more than 25 years of experience in the private financial sector, Casey is bringing the concept of equity financing to expand college opportunities by creating a non-profit corporation to do so. While at General Electric Capital Corporation, Casey served as a Senior Vice President and Managing Director, responsible for the sale of private equity portfolios, limited partnerships and direct investments with a value of more than $3 billion. He was responsible for the development of E-business for GE’s equity operations, and the creation and implementation of strategic plans involving technology, marketing, change management and process management.

Casey has wide experience in structured finance, debt structuring and placement, and cross-border transactions and leases. Before working at General Electric Capital, Casey held executive positions at Bank of Tokyo Financial Services in Boston, Bank of America Leasing and Capital, and the Pacific Stock Exchange. He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a concentration in Econometrics from the University of California at Berkeley.

Ed Lowry

As a founding partner and Secretary of 13th Avenue Funding, Ed Lowry brings a legal and public policy perspective to efforts to make college available without debt for low income and low wealth students.

Ed currently serves as the “public” board member of the California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board, having been appointed by Governor Jerry Brown in early 2011 and reappointed in 2013. Prior to this appointment, Ed prosecuted environmental crime and recovered costs incurred in the cleanup of toxic sites as a Deputy Attorney General.

In 1999, Governor Gray Davis appointed Ed as California's Director of Toxic Substances Control, where he managed a department of 1,000 employees dedicated to protecting Californians from hazardous wastes. He served until 2004. Ed also served as the first director of the Environmental Project of the California District Attorneys Association, where he created the ABA Award-winning Environmental Circuit Prosecutor Project to respond to environmental violations in rural counties. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Yale University and a law degree from Stanford Law School.


Gordon H. Taylor

Gordon Taylor is Associate Dean for Finance & Administration for the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University.  Prior to joining the Milken Institute SPH, Gordon was Associate Dean for Finance and Administration for the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Oregon and Associate Dean and Executive Officer at Dartmouth College.

Before becoming involved in higher education, Gordon had a 30-year career in finance and investments, serving as a Director of Salomon Brothers in New York and London, an advisor to the Resolution Trust Corporation, founding President of AIG Capital Partners, and co-founder and Managing Director of Violy & Co. At Salomon Brothers, Gordon was a key member of the team that pioneered the development of the global mortgage securities and structured finance markets. Gordon began his career in finance and investment banking at White, Weld & Co. where he and Bob Whelan were colleagues.

Gordon has also served as Executive Director of the Farms for City Kids Foundation, as a Trustee of the Choate Rosemary Hall Foundation, as a Trustee and Treasurer of the Vermont Land Trust, and as a director of several privately held for-profit corporations and investment funds. Gordon received his BA in English and Economics from Yale University in 1969 and his MBA in Finance from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College in 1971. Gordon and his wife, Catherine, live in Alexandria, Virginia and have five children.