Recap: May 19th New Jersey Impact Economy Gathering

On Friday, May 17, 2017, the Support Center hosted the third NJ Impact Economy Gathering at the Livingston Campus of Rutgers Business School, in conjunction with the NJ Office of Faith Based Initiatives and Rutgers Business School. The Gathering brought together a large community of people who are passionate about the burgeoning social impact economy in New Jersey. The audience included a diverse range of nonprofit leaders, social entrepreneurs, capacity builders, grantmakers, lenders, impact investors, academics, and city and state government officials. Building off of last year’s two successful gatherings, this spring’s event featured speakers from nine organizations representing both the demand and supply side of the impact economy.

On the demand side, there were four social enterprises pitching their impact and business models:

  • Tom Sims, Food Bank of South Jersey, presented the Food Works Community Kitchen, which is a multi-faceted venture combining food preparation, culinary arts education, and microenterprise development.
  • Helena van der Merwe, A-Plus Consulting, pitched a vocational training and job placement program for high school students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
  • Kayla Jackson pitched the social venture PeduL, which is an online platform for students to fundraise for college through connections with scholarship providers, corporations, and individual patrons.
  • Bob Provost, Newark Symphony Hall, presented about the revitalization of Newark Symphony Hall and the proposed plans to transform part of the space into the National African American Arts & Entertainment Hall of Fame and Museum.

On the supply side, there were five speakers representing organizations that provide capital to social enterprises. They spoke about their organization’s mission and activities as well as the specific vehicles they use to capitalize social enterprises. The featured speakers were:

The final segment of the event was a panel discussion and inclusive conversation with our supply side speakers. Prompted by insightful questions from the audience, the speakers discussed their strategies for addressing social issues on the horizon and their organizations’ future directions.

The Gathering concluded with PeduL being named the “Audience Favorite” and awarded a package of 20 hours of pro bono Support Center social enterprise consulting. We would like to thank all those who attended for making it an inspiring, successful event.

To view photos from the event, please visit our Facebook page,

Stay tuned for the announcement of the next Impact Economy Gathering in late fall!

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