Memorial funds set up for CEO killed in Amtrak crash

rachel jacobs amtrak

Driven, elegant, dedicated. These are just some of the words friends and acquaintances used to describe Rachel Jacobs, the chief executive of a small tech startup who died in the Amtrak derailment Tuesday.

Jacobs, who left behind a two-year-old son and husband was an advocate for the revitalization of Detroit, which was close to her heart as a Michigan native.

To recognize her passions -- female leaders and Detroit -- her family set up two funds where people can contribute in Jacobs' memory.

One, the Rachel Jacobs' Detroit Nation Fund, is a fund associated with the organization she started in 2007. Detroit Nation has local chapters in cities around the country, which aim to unite Detroit ex-pats and encourage them to stay active in the restoration of their home city.

Alex VanNess, a chairman of Detroit Nation's D.C. chapter, said he met Jacobs back in 2011. He said Jacobs ran the New York City chapter of Detroit Nation and was trying to launch a Philadelphia chapter.

He described her as "extremely driven" and "passionate, especially about Detroit and revitalizing the city."

Donations to the Detroit Nation Fund will help "continue Rachel's mission to promote economic development, cultural innovation, and job creation in Southeastern Michigan," according to the page.

The second fund is through Columbia Business School, where Jacobs earned her MBA in 2002. Her family is hoping to create a Rachel Jacobs scholarship fund for aspiring female social entrepreneurs.

Jacobs' bio page on ApprenNet's website (the startup where she served as CEO), has been replaced with an "In Memoriam" page, which provides more details on how to donate.

"Our CEO, Rachel Jacobs, was not only a brilliant strategist, but also an extremely kind and loving person. Like a true startup CEO, Rachel dedicated an enormous amount of time, energy, and passion to ApprenNet. In addition to being our CEO, Rachel was our friend. We are going to miss her deeply."

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