By Joanne Colella, Impact Jersey Coast Member
Congratulations are in order – not only to this year’s Impact 100 Jersey Coast grant recipients, but also to all of you, our dedicated members! Thanks to your generosity, your volunteerism throughout the year, and your votes, we have presented transformational grants of $114,000 each to four outstanding nonprofits that provide important and inspiring services to the Monmouth County community.
The joyful culmination of this unique and challenging year was held on November 17, when members gathered via Zoom for our exciting 2020 Impact 100 Jersey Coast Annual Meeting to raise their glasses, watch presentations by this year’s five amazing grant finalists, and hear remarks by Impact 100 leaders. There were also moving video highlights from last year’s grantees, illustrating initiatives and achievements in recent months that were made possible through Impact 100 funds.
Votes Are In…
The votes received from our 456 members – including those being cast live that evening as well as absentee votes submitted in advance – were then tallied as everyone waited in anticipation to learn who the 2020 grant recipients would be. The final grantees, categories they represent, and projects the funds will support include:
Monmouth Museum (Arts & Culture) – The museum will launch Making Art Possible, a program to bring personalized art programming to people with special needs, providing therapeutic benefits during uncertain times. Customized art kits will be delivered to participants’ homes and workshops will be taught online. At the end of twelve months, the program will be recognized with a community-based gallery exhibit to showcase their abilities and creativity in a public setting.
HABcore (Children & Families) – Their Independence Pathways Program will combine affordable housing with coordinated services to assist individuals and families struggling with chronic physical and mental health issues to maintain stable housing and receive appropriate support and employment services.
Aslan Youth Ministries (Education) – The hiring of a Director of Volunteers will enable recruitment and training of a new generation of Aslan mentors, teachers, and life coaches for the children in their care, with an immediate impact on those hurt by the learning loss caused by the pandemic. They aim to double the number of students reached in their one-on-one tutoring program within three years. The director position will also greatly impact the 140 students in the Right Choices character development classes, working to close the achievement gap in underserved communities.
Fulfill of Monmouth & Ocean Counties (Health & Wellness) – Addressing Child Hunger program will provide 88,000 meals for at least 450 Monmouth County children at risk of hunger by allowing them to participate in the Kids Café, providing daily afterschool hot meals and homework help; the Backpack Program, providing children with weekend meals, or to receive meals as needed whenever children encounter pandemic-related barriers to participation in other vital feeding programs.
Runner Up Receives $2,500
The runner-up finalist, American Littoral Society (Environment, Parks, & Recreation), was awarded $2,500, thanks to the generosity of the OceanFirst Foundation. Additional thanks go to The Center for Women & Wealth at Brown Brothers Harriman, New Jersey Natural Gas, Grunin Foundation, Stillwell-Hansen, and Bayshore Recycling for sponsoring our annual meeting.
Deirdre Spiropoulos, Impact 100 Jersey Coast President and Co-Founder, noted, “We know that as a collective, we are stronger together. This evening encapsulates what can happen when women unite to pool our individual donations to help our community. We are truly Impact Strong!”