Jason Jacob Spindler, 1978-2019

The following was published in Houston Chronicle from Jan. 20 to Jan. 23, 2019

Jason Jacob Spindler was born on January 21st, 1978, to Dr. Joseph and Sarah Spindler in Houston, Texas. Jason leaves behind his parents; brothers Aaron and Jonathan; nephews Aiden, Turner, and Schaffer.

Jason's life was tragically taken in a terrorist attack by Al-Shabaab in Nairobi, Kenya, on January 15, 2019.

He was born in Houston, Texas, and attended Memorial Drive Elementary, Spring Branch Middle School, and Memorial High School before leaving to Hebron Academy to peruse his love for competitive swimming. Jason went on to attend the University of Texas  in Austin, McCombs School of Business, where he received his B.S. in International Business and Finance. He was a member of the school's water polo club and an honorary founding member of the UT Latin Crew. Upon graduation, Jason accepted a position at the prestigious firm Solomon Smith Barney, in New York City's financial district.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, Jason's life was profoundly changed. Upon emerging from the subway tunnel covered in dust, he ran towards the rubble, tirelessly rescuing people. In the days after the attack, Jason felt compelled to leave his career on Wall Street and began his transition to a life of public service.

He became a Peace Corps volunteer in 2005, where he helped farmers in Cajamarca, Peru, build a successful agribusiness selling Tara (an indigenous Peruvian crop) to international markets. There, he discovered challenges in raising capital and accessing the resources that farmers needed to build a professional business. This encouraged Jason to return to the States, where he earned his doctoral law degree studying international development policy at NYU Law School. In addition, he was awarded the Catherine B. Reynolds Fellowship in Social Entrepreneurship, and participated in internships with pioneers in impact investing; the forefront of the Acumen Fund.

Upon graduation, Jason was awarded the Arthur Helton Global Human Rights Fellowship and went on to co-found I-DEV International. During the past 10 years, he worked in 45 countries with more than 300 investors, companies, iNGOs, and DFIs such as World Bank, the UN Foundation and USAID to build high impact businesses and a stronger private sector in emerging markets. Jason and I-DEV's work was recognized by foundations such as the Clinton Global Initiative, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. He was an adjunct professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies as well as a key note speaker at countless development conferences around the world.

Beyond his big ideas and vision, Jason was an exceptional leader, adventurer, avid climber, DJ, and king of the dance floor. When not working, one of his favorite past times was taking his nephews and friends' children rock climbing. He loved to teach and share his enthusiasm for life and sports. Jason was truly a global citizen.

The world and humanity lost one of its most compassionate innovators and advocates. Jason was a tireless promoter of justice, equality, and human rights. He dedicated his life to serving developing communities and truly believed in the potential of underdeveloped economies and their people. Jason's energy, ideas, infectious smile and joy, will be forever missed. Without a doubt, his legacy will be carried forward and we should all strive to live as he would. Jason was a true mensch, incomparable brother, amazing uncle, mentor, best friend, and a truly brilliant mind. 

In order to carry on Jason's legacy, The Jason J. Spindler Foundation is in the process of being launched as a 501(c)(3). 700 Louisiana, Ste 3950, Houston, TX 77002; online at jjsfoundation.com; or via Paypal at donate@jjsfoundation.com.

A graveside service will be held on January 24, 2019 at 11:00 am Beth Yeshurun Post oak, 1037 N Post Oak Road, Houston, Texas 77055



From Peace Corps Worldwide

RPCV Jason Spindler (Peru) killed in Kenyan hotel attack

Jason Spindler (Peru 2005), founder and managing director of I-DEV International, died in the attack on the DusitD2 compound, an upmarket cluster of shops and hotel facilities in the capital of Nairobi, his company said. Jason, who was also in the attack on 9/11 joined the Peace Corps after that and was a PCV in Peru. His company had an office at a space for entrepreneurs called Metta located in the hotel complex. Colleagues confirmed Spindler was having a meal when the attack happened. He was the only American killed in the Nairobi attack.

“Spindler was working in the World Trade Center 17 years ago when planes hit the towers, an I-DEV spokesman said.

Spindler’s mother, Sarah Spindler, told NBC News on Tuesday night that her son “was trying to make positive change in the third world in emerging markets.”

“We all miss him so much. And it’s so sad that such a bright young person is taken away by terrorism,” she told NBC News.

Spindler, a University of Texas business graduate who received a doctoral law degree at New York University, once served in the US Peace Corps in northern Peru, where he “led the growth of a $7 million locally owned agribusiness,” a biography on I-DEV’s website says.

He also was an investment banker with Salomon Smith Barney/Citigroup, and had advised more than 100 small- or medium-sized businesses in emerging markets, his biography reads.

Spindler was the founder, CEO and managing director of I-DEV International, a strategy and investment advisory firm that attempts to grow businesses in emerging markets.

Spindler is warmly remembered by those who knew him at NYU, the university’s law school said Wednesday.

“His tragic death is a loss not only to his loved ones, but to the community of individuals dedicated to improving the lives of others through social enterprise,” the university’s statement reads.”



From National Peace Corps Association: In Memorium - January 2019

Jason Spindler

Jason Spindler (1978 - 2019) began his path to international service after the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York City.

After earning a degree in international business and finance at the University of Texas, Jason accepted a position in New York's financial district with Solomon, Smith, Barney. Jason was among the many who responded courageously on 9/11, assisting with rescue efforts.

This tragic event led Jason to the life-altering decision of serving others. That soon led him to an appointment with the Peace Corps, assisting farmers in Peru with international agribusiness projects.

At the completion of his service, Jason returned to New York, where he attained a doctoral law degree in international development policy at New York University.

After winning the Arthur Helton Global Human Rights Fellowship, he went on to co-found I-DEV International. I-DEV's work to assist with international business development grew to point where ten years later, projects have been established in 45 countries. Jason's work was recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative, the Gates Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.