Preparing the next generation of civic and community leaders to build healthier communities
Jewish Renaissance Foundation
Preparing the next generation of civic and community leaders to build healthier communities
Jewish Renaissance Foundation
Grant Award Amount

The Jewish Renaissance Foundation (JRF) is leading this three-year project, in which a total of 30 youth from Perth Amboy, ages 14-21, are receiving guidance from trained community-based coaches, to better understand topics around population health, develop leadership skills, and implement self-designed projects to make their communities healthier. By the end of this project, the youth participants will have the skills, knowledge, and confidence to work with municipal governments, cross-sector coalitions focused on health, school boards, and other organizations to build healthier and more vibrant communities. The youth will also participate in a statewide alumni network to stay connected to their peers as they continue on their leadership paths and move into the next phases of their lives. To advance this work in Perth Amboy, JRF is partnering with the NJHI-funded Healthier Perth Amboy coalition, the City of Perth Amboy, and the Health & Human Services Consortium to provide youth the opportunity to develop their civic engagement skills and be part of the decision-making process to tackle health adversities in a productive manner. These Perth Amboy youth represent one of 10 New Jersey communities supported by the NJHI: Next Generation Community Leaders initiative.

In the first grant year, a team of Perth Amboy youth worked to address street and traffic safety in their community. In Summer 2018, the team partnered with Rutgers University to complete traffic safety audits, address walkability to local parks and determine the best routes and locations for the Raritan Bay Area YMCA mobile farmers’ market, also known as the “Veggie Van.” View the team’s Perth Amboy Walkability Audit here. In Summer 2019, a new youth team worked to address summer hunger and food insecurity in their community. They established a new summer feeding site for children and launched a food delivery service to homebound seniors. In addition, the team collaborated with business partners and the City of Perth Amboy to promote the testing of residential water for lead. Follow the team on Instagram, plus

  • See an overview of all of the Next Generation Community Leaders teams’ summer projects here. View a summary of their 2018 summer projects here.
    Learn more about their 2019 summer projects here.
  • Get a statewide view of this work, and connect with the nearest team at #NJLeaders2030.


Emerging Leaders for a Healthier Community
Grant Recipient

Cecilia Gonzalez
Project Director
(732) 324-2114 x 128

Hear alumni from the first-year Next Generation Community Leaders teams reflect on their work, the value of meaningful experiences and authentic adult-youth partnerships, and share new insights that developed a broader perspective.

View recommendations from this initiative:

Atkins, B. and Hart, D.  Principles for Engaging Youth as Partners to Build Healthier CommunitiesGrantmakers in Health – Views from the Field. January 28, 2020.

Follow the latest news coverage regarding NJHI: Next Generation Community Leaders: (2017, August 11).
NJ Spotlight. (2017, July 12).
SNJ Today. (2017, July 12).

View All: NJHI 2017: Next Generation Community Leaders