Preparing the next generation of civic and community leaders to build healthier communities
Groundwork Elizabeth
Preparing the next generation of civic and community leaders to build healthier communities
Groundwork Elizabeth
Grant Award Amount

Groundwork Elizabeth is leading this three-year project, in which a total of 30 youth from Elizabeth, 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 Elizabeth, Groundwork Elizabeth is engaging its Green team and other partners including, the NJHI-funded Shaping Elizabeth Community Coalition, the City of Elizabeth, and local youth groups to bring the youth voice to the table in addressing local community needs for a healthier community. These Elizabeth 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 Elizabeth youth worked to address the health needs of older adults. In Summer 2018, the team conducted home audits for seniors, made sure their homes are physically safe and stocked with food, and worked with residents to develop an oral history of the city. During Summer 2019, a new youth team worked to implement crime prevention through environmental design strategies and support social connections among neighbors by revitalizing vacant lots and installing community gardens. In addition, the team worked to increase access to healthy foods by educating and enrolling eligible community members in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Follow the team on Twitter, 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.
    Read about their 2019 summer projects here.
  • Get a statewide view of this work, and connect with the nearest team at #NJLeaders2030.
Preparing Elizabeth’s Next Generation of Community Leaders
Grant Recipient

Jonathan Phillips
Project Director
(908) 249-4800

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:
Groundwork Elizabeth Receives Grant to Expand Youth Programming
TAPinto Elizabeth. (2020, July 16).

Jonathan Phillips of Groundwork Elizabeth, Highlights How Elizabeth’s Next Generation of Community Leaders Developed a Summer Project Focused on Seniors to Build a Healthier Community
Comcast Newsmakers. (2018, Aug. 16).

TAPinto Elizabeth. (2017, July 21).
NJ Spotlight. (2017, July 12).
SNJ Today. (2017, July 12).

View All: NJHI 2017: Next Generation Community Leaders