Janet Bowles Soto was born in North Carolina as the youngest of four children, and grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. At Auburn University, she earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Human Development and Family Studies. She spent a few years in Houston, Texas working in roles such as Program Manager and Manager of Volunteer Services and Community Outreach. After moving to Chicago in 2012 and serving on both the Development and Club Operations teams at Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, Janet discovered that she had particular skill for and interest in grant management and strategic grant development.
Janet joined the Vernita Gray Council for Philanthropy because she believes wholeheartedly in the mission of Howard Brown, and she views her primary purpose in life as being to help make things better for those who come beside us or behind us – including her own children. After witnessing and learning more about the coming-out experience of several people close to her, Janet has been even more intent upon doing whatever she can so that no people, especially children and teens, are treated as though their lives are less valuable than anyone else’s, for any reason. She absolutely believes that every person deserves dignity, kindness, and access to resources.
Janet has three vivacious children, including one child who has autism, as well as a sweet old dog who is certain that everyone who visits is there just to see him. In her spare time, Janet likes to read, visit with her friends and family, learn new things, and work on creative projects like designing and sewing kids’ costumes or reimagining and refinishing old furniture.