Promoting the Integrity, Independence and Well-being of Working Families

Category Archive: 3. Grantee Spotlight

  1. Our Reason Why

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    The Born This Way Foundation, which was founded by Grammy-award winner Lady Gaga, as well as the South Jersey First Star Collaborative, a college exposure program for children in foster care funded by the Pascale Sykes Foundation, and the Give Something Back Foundation, which provides mentors and scholarships to help Pell Grant eligible students go to college, came together for the installation of the “Our Reason Why” wall at The Monkey and the Elephant, a non-profit coffee shop in Philadelphia that employs former foster youth. This kindness popup will provide an outlet for young people to express their stories. 

    While at the coffee shop, Students from First Star assembled “kindness packages” for children in foster care. The students, along with other Give Something Back scholars, prepared kits which included hygiene supplies, comforters, pillows, hand-decorated journals, book bags, signed copies of the book Through the Fires, and other Lady Gaga merchandise. The “kindness packages” were personally delivered to children currently in foster care from Philadelphia in partnership with Turning Points.

    The theme of “Our Reason Why” was developed by one of the First Star youth during her project-based learning activity over the summer. The website that was created can be found at: “Our Reason Why” has become much more than a theme for a project, rather an inspiration of hope for our First Star youth and the young people they serve.

  2. Pascale Sykes Foundation Awards $1.5 Million Grant to New Jersey Community Capital’s THRIVE South Jersey Program

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    (VINELAND, NJ – September 8, 2017) – Frances P. Sykes, President of the Pascale Sykes Foundation, today announced that the Foundation has awarded $1.5 million in funding to New Jersey Community Capital’s (NJCC) THRIVE South Jersey program to support small business lending throughout New Jersey’s Heartland.

    The agreement that governs the funding, which should at minimum generate a dollar-for-dollar return in terms of additional loan commitments, directs that the grants be used solely for small business loans. It designates the funds be equally utilized for loans up to $100,000, between $100,000 and $150,000, and between $150,000 and $200,000.

    “New Jersey Community Capital, through it’s THRIVE South Jersey Program, has done a tremendous job generating additional loan commitments while funding a host of impactful economic development and business initiatives throughout New Jersey’s Heartland,” said Sykes, whose Foundation is on track to award more than $50 million in social service, transportation and economic initiative grants by the time it sunsets in 2022-23. “In working with NJCC, we saw a unique opportunity to generate additional funding commitments and small business loans in amounts that are needed and are proven to provide valuable returns throughout the region.”

    There are a variety of success stories the Foundation and THRIVE have written since the program’s inception, including a $30,000 loan issued to Andrea Covino, co-owner and chef of Andrea Trattoria Italiana in Downtown Millville, NJ, at the THRIVE kickoff in May of 2016. Since then, THRIVE has awarded $20,000 for the refurbishment of 13 storefront facades in the downtown Millville Arts District, as well as another $10,000 in funding for entrepreneurial training for 18 local, small business owners.

    Dreams of a Pocket Park facelift in the heart of Uptown Pitman, NJ, will soon become a reality thanks to a $15,000 THRIVE grant that was just presented by NJCC to the Pitman Chamber of Commerce. The grant will go towards the conversion of Theatre Avenue to Theatre Plaza, a new public space in the center of the downtown.

    “We are thrilled to partner with the Pascale Sykes Foundation, and honored they have chosen to demonstrate their faith in this important initiative through the additional $1.5 million grant,” says Wayne T. Meyer, President of NJCC, which is a US Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). “Creating quality job opportunities and strengthening residents’ connections to these opportunities will go a long way toward making South Jersey thrive.”

    The Pascale Sykes Foundation partnered with NJCC to create THRIVE, a dedicated financing and capacity building initiative created to address poverty and unemployment by catalyzing local economic development in the targeted, four-county region of Cumberland, Gloucester, Salem, and Western Atlantic Counties.

    The Foundation’s initial grant of $4.1 million has generated $26.125 million in funding commitments for THRIVE, which operates as an arm of the Foundation’s South Jersey Economic Initiative (SJEI) and supports a wide array of projects in the region. Included among those major projects is the Paulsboro Plaza, a once-thriving shopping center left vacant that is presently being developed to include a Save-a-Lot supermarket and 25,000 square feet of additional retail space to serve the local community.

    For more information on NJCC’s THRIVE South Jersey program, contact Laura Wallick at 267.397.1605 or email