Jan-Ai Scholarship Fund,
6815 Fulton Avenue, Ventnor, N.J. 08406

The Jan-Ai Scholarship Fund

In memory of Jennifer Cakert.

A Tribute to her father who gave Jennifer her soul.

And a Tribute to her mother who will carry her flame and spirit forward.

Bernadette Bannister


Board of Trustees

Executive Board

Bernadette Bannister, Executive 
Cynthia Walker, President
Robert Walker, Vice President
Allan Greenman, Treasurer

Mary Goldenberg, Secretary

Nina Soifer, Development Coordinator

Board Members

Aren Alfaro

Dennis Cakert

Claire Collins,BS
Jeffrey Folmer
William Gussie, Ed.D

Advisory Board
Frank Aquilino, Photography
Anselm Berrigan, Writing
Donna Connor, Photography 

Lew London, Music
Peter Murphy, Writing

Phyllis Papa, Dance


Jan-Ai Scholarship Fund

P.O. Box 8068
Atlantic City, NJ 08404

Cynthia Walker, President



Member of:

S.J. Cultural Alliance
Discover Jersey Arts
Noyes Museum
A.C. Ballet Golden Guild
Marty Wilson, Jr. Art & Music Foundation


The Jan-Ai Scholarship Fund is a a non profit 501 (c) 3 organization, tax ID# will be provided on request.

NJ Charities: Jan Ai Scholarship FDN

Jan-Ai Scholarship Fund mission statement

The Jan-Ai scholarship fund commemorates the life and untimely death of young writer, poet and photographer, Jennifer Cakert (born March 20, 1980, died June 22, 2006). It provides financial support through scholarships, mini grants, and simple on-the-spot cash awards as incentive for other young artistsâ”especially those constrained by financial or other barriersâ”to pursue their dreams in their creative fields, offering formal recognition of a young individual's worthwhile goals. In its pursuit of realizing the dreams of others, it will honor the path Jennifer created and will continue her lifelong artistic journey.


A message from Bernadette Bannister, Executive Director and co-Founder of the Jan-Ai Scholarship Fund, As reported to the Board of Directors on February 9, 2008


The night that my niece Jennifer died I was sleeping restlessly. In one of my waking moments, I found myself wondering how to honor her life and her memory. I then thought of starting a fund that could help others continue her quest to write creatively. I became agitated and excited thinking of how many kids we could help by fostering their creative gifts by giving them positive acknowledgment of their talents and rewarding them with a financial prize.


At that moment in the night, I had a quick, distinct memory of Jennifer's father, Chuck, who died when she was 9 years old. He was laughing, scooping her up in his arms, holding her in the air, and calling her "Jan-Ai." I learned from my good friend, Danny Vollin, a Native American (Salish) Healer, that names come to us with special blessings. Names are given to us for reasons, we don't choose our names. And I know the name Jan-Ai came to me that night to carry Jennifer's memory forward.


Every time we say "Jan-Ai," we're not only recalling Jennifer, we're remembering Chuck as well, the father who gave Jennifer her soul. We're paying tribute to Chuck, whose spirit was embodied in Jennifer and who named her Jan-Ai.


The next morning, I was on the plane at 6 a.m. to fly home from Montana to NJ. I couldn't wait to land to tell Jennifer's mom, Cynthia, before she submitted the Obituary to the newspapers. When my plane landed and was sitting on the tarmac, I called and told her breathlessly of my idea to commemorate Jennifer's life. And that we'd call it "Jan-Ai."


Addendum from Cynthia (Cakert) Walker, Jennifer's Mother
The name "Jan-Ai"comes from the movie, "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness" which I loved and Jen and I actually watched several times together when she was little. A  long story short, Chuck started to call her that and it means "one who loves people."