Community Maplewood Millburn South Orange

Local Women Give $112K to Covenant House NJ Through ‘Impact100 Essex’

The Covenant House: Opening Doors to Homeless Youth Steering Committee members Kate Shoemaker, Helen Mazarakis (Impact100 Essex co-founder), Margarethe Laurenzi (Director, Community Foundation of New Jersey), Mayuri Chandra, Selma Avdicevic, Lyn Rosensweig, Jim White (Executive Director, Covenant House New Jersey), Margo Greenfield (Impact100 Essex co-founder), Honorable Barbara Curran, Christine Curran, Ellen Greenfield, Bonnie Carter, Wendy Steele (Impact100 founder), and Lee Heh Margolies.

The following is from the Essex Chapter of Impact100, a growing movement of women making changes in their community by funding local nonprofits. “It started several years ago,” explained Maplewood resident and member Cathy Rowe, “100 women get together and contribute $1,000 each and through a grants process, vote on a local non-profit to award it to.” Rowe is on the local Impact100 steering committee along with Heather Evans from Maplewood; Margo Greenfield, Kate Shoemaker and Mayuri Chandra from Millburn; and Ellen Greenfield, formerly of Maplewood who still works at 1978 Arts. Joyce Andrasz from Maplewood is on the grants team.

Impact100 Essex, a local pass-through foundation, committed to giving back to the community, has announced that Covenant House New Jersey is the recipient of the organization’s very first grant of $112,000. The money will be used to fund the Dove Learning Center at its facility in New Jersey. The winner was named after four non-profit finalists presented at the organization’s annual meeting to elaborate on how they might use the funds if received, and then a vote was taken by membership.

“While all of the presentations were compelling, our members were struck by the transformational opportunities of Covenant House’s proposal to implement a pilot program to build resilience among the thousands of abused, trafficked and abandoned young adults it shelters each year,” stated Margo Greenfield, Chair of the Membership Committee of Impact100 Essex. “We are incredibly proud of the women of Essex who came forward to help us surpass our goal of a $100,000 grant in our inaugural year, and we look forward to growing our membership and grant even further in 2018.”

For more than four decades, Covenant House has helped transform and save the lives of more than a million homeless, runaway and trafficked young people. They offer housing and support services to young people in need – reaching 80,000 boys and girls every year. Covenant House New Jersey is an experienced provider with the will to overcome the limitations of its current food, shelter and GED programming, and the vision to construct a multi-pronged, sustainable, replicable model that can shepherd their charges to an autonomous future.

Jim White, Executive Director of Covenant House New Jersey, stated, “Covenant House New Jersey is deeply honored to be the first recipient of this prestigious award from Impact100 Essex. We are ecstatic about the extraordinary opportunity we are being given to transform the lives of the thousands of homeless youth who make their way to our doors.  The innovative and empowering work we will offer in our new Dove Learning Center as a result of your belief in us will help our youth build the necessary resilience skills to maintain positive living environments and prevent future homelessness.”

Wendy Steele, the Founder of Impact100 stated, “I congratulate the women of Impact100 Essex on their inaugural grant and success in bringing like-minded women together for the greater good. Based on the amazing women I have spoken with here, this is only the beginning. I am confident more women in this community will join the movement, which will continue to increase the impact of transformational grants funded by diverse and caring women in the region.”

While Covenant House was awarded the grant, members of Impact100 Essex were impressed by all of the finalists who proposed transformative solutions to persistent problems affecting neighbors in marginalized communities in Essex County. They included: Prevent Child Abuse NJ’s projects to teach techniques of managing emotions to pre-schoolers, parents and school staff in high needs areas; Spectrum 360’s proposal for a hydroponic greenhouse to teach work skills to young adults on the autism spectrum; and Music and the Brain, a targeted program using music programming in underserved schools to boost cognitive development and build focus and concentration.

About Impact100 Essex:

Impact100 Essex is a local pass-through foundation, committed to giving back to the community, and  founded and funded by women in Essex County. We bring women together to amplify the impact of their giving and empower solutions for the community. Each year, Impact100 Essex awards a grant of $100,000 to support an important, innovative project managed by a local non-profit.

Impact100 Essex is beginning is second year and is recruiting members for the 2018 Grants Cycle.  If you would like to learn more at an upcoming  recruiting session on May 5, please email [email protected] or go to their website here.

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