Meet Jason Palmer
Jason Michael Palmer is an entrepreneur, impact investor, and philanthropist running for President of the United States in 2024 as a Democratic candidate.
Jason Michael Palmer, born December 1, 1971, has served in executive and leadership positions at multiple organizations, including Microsoft, Kaplan Education, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and a leading impact investor firm, New Markets Venture Partners. New Markets is focused exclusively on double-bottom line investments in innovative, high-impact, early and growth stage educational and labor force technology companies that improve student and worker outcomes.
Palmer has served as a trusted member of the Board of Directors for more than a dozen successful businesses, several of which have been acquired by publicly traded companies. Prior to his work with New Markets, in his service as Deputy Director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for three years he led postsecondary innovation efforts to improve the outcomes of disadvantaged college students by investing in colleges, universities and entrepreneurs pursuing digital and adaptive learning, student coaching and advising, financial aid innovation, and employer pathways.
Prior to his work with the Gates Foundation, Palmer founded and grew three investor-backed technology and services companies, and served as a turnaround leader for three others. He has demonstrated excellence in General Manager and President-level positions leading large, diverse teams.
Palmer brings twenty-five years of experience in small business and multi-partisan fluency to his political endeavors. As an education technology entrepreneur, executive, and investor, he offers rare levels of expertise. His strategic mindset, stakeholder insights, and ability to leverage deep connections with industry leaders around the globe have provided a mission-critical foundation for his future work in the White House.
Jason Michael Palmer holds a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Virginia (1994) and earned his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School (1999). He is a proud resident of Baltimore, Maryland, and a devoted father.
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Living the American Dream
Jason Palmer has lived the American Dream. Born in Maryland, his professional story began at sixteen in upstate New York, where he earned $2.15 an hour waiting tables at a Friendly’s Restaurant. “Don’t forget that was plus tips,” he jokes. Other jobs included bagging groceries at Grand Union, picking up the garbage at a local drive-in theater the mornings after shows. and canvassing for environmental advocacy groups in door-to-door campaigns. He earned no wage at all for that one, only a 5% commission on monies raised.
His mom Diane remembers, “Jay [her nickname for him] was raised in our middle class home without a lot of extra money floating around. He has always been independent and adventurous, eager to try things, and willing to do what it takes to earn money while helping others.”
Palmer is aware that perceptions of privilege need to be addressed. “I am aware I might come across as if I had a silver spoon in my mouth at birth, but that’s simply not the reality. Yes, I’ve had some advantages–especially thanks to my parents, who made sure I valued education–but I assure you I’ve had to work hard for my success. I want to empower others to each find their own path of opportunity, too.”Once upon a time, an eighteen-year-old Palmer traveled solo on Amtrak with four suitcases and a dream on his way to UVA. “I thought I could manage with a cheap handcart, but the one I had was so rickety it fell apart somewhere on the transfer train between Grand Central and Penn Station,” he remembers, laughing. Over my twenty-five year career, and Palmer is still traveling, still carrying, and still aspiring. He believes that where there is a will, there is a way. Next stop: the White House.