Elected in November 2011, Christopher L. Jacobs is Erie County's ninth County Clerk.
Raised in Western New York, Chris Jacobs has been a vocal advocate for expanding local business development and improving our educational system. His efforts have led to proven results through his development company, Avalon Development, LLC, which focuses on adaptive reuse and redevelopment activities within the City of Buffalo. Chris also co-founded the BISON Scholarship Fund, Inc., which has raised over $12.5 million dollars in private donations to provide scholarships for more than 17,000 low and moderate income children throughout Erie County.
In 2000 Chris co-founded the South Buffalo Charter School, one of the first charter schools in Western New York. Now educating more than 800 children annually, the school has been recognized as one of the best performing charter schools in all of New York State.
Active in various philanthropic programs on both a national and local level, Chris co-founded The Empowerment Network Foundation (TEN) in Washington, D.C., that worked with low-income community groups developing “best practice” solutions to common challenges.
Chris was elected At-Large member of the Buffalo Board of Education in 2004 and served through 2011. He worked to reduce average class sizes, put more than 200 new teachers to work, and extend the school day and school year to provide extra help for struggling students. He has been an active force in negotiating union contracts that have improved efficiencies and cut district costs, and as a board member he helped save the district $40 million in health care costs for personnel.
In 2006, Chris Jacobs was appointed by then Governor George Pataki as New York’s Secretary of State. He was charged with record keeping responsibilities, many similar to those of the Erie County Clerk. As Secretary, he also served as the Chairman of the New York State Real Estate Board, Chairman of the Wireless 911 Emergency System Board and took an active role in the development of the Niagara River Greenway.
Prior to that, Chris served as the Erie County Deputy Commissioner of Environment and Planning for the Office of Planning and Economic Development and also worked in Washington, D.C., for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Active in the community, Chris serves on the Boards of Buffalo Place and the Freedom Station Coalition and previously was a board member at the Catholic Academy of West Buffalo and the Olmsted Parks Conservancy.
Chris has received numerous recognitions for his service to the community including the Pathfinder Award, the Rising Star Award, the 40-Under-40 Award, the Buffalo Urban League Leadership Award, and most recently was named in Business First's Power 200 -- as one of the most influential people in Western New York.Chris received a law degree from SUNY Buffalo, an MBA from American University in Washington, DC, and a BA from Boston College.