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Community Foundation of South Jersey Announces A Sixth Transform South Jersey Grant Recipient

Haddonfield, NJ – The Community Foundation of South Jersey (CFSJ) announced today that a sixth community has been selected to receive a $100,000 Transform South Jersey grant.  The City of Woodbury in Gloucester County, through their local convening partner the FAF Coalition, now joins previously announced locations including the Town of Hammonton (Atlantic County), Willingboro Township (Burlington County), Winslow Township (Camden County), Downe Township (Cumberland County), and Salem City (Salem County). 

Transform South Jersey is a collaboration between the Community Foundation of South Jersey, the Geraldine R. Dodge FoundationNew Jersey Health Initiatives (the statewide grantmaking program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), the OceanFirst Foundation, the Orton Family Foundation, the PSEG Foundation, and the Wells Fargo Regional Community Development Corporation.  Using the Orton Family Foundation’s national Community Heart & Soul model, which has been implemented in almost 100 communities across the United States, the Transform South Jersey grants will support initiatives in the six recipient locations that bring people together to build stronger, healthier, and more economically vibrant communities.  For most locations, completing the four phases of Community Heart & Soul takes about two years.

“We are thrilled that additional funds from our partner organizations have allowed us to provide this Transform South Jersey grant to the FAF Coalition in the City of Woodbury,” said Andy Fraizer, Executive Director of the Community Foundation of South Jersey.  “Community Heart & Soul is a proven process that empowers people to shape the future of their communities by creating a shared sense of belonging that improves local decision-making, and ultimately strengthens social, cultural, and economic vitality.”

More than 190 South Jersey communities with populations of 50,000 or less spanning the eight counties CFSJ serves, including Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean and Salem, were eligible to apply for Transform South Jersey grants.  From this group, 32 municipalities were ultimately nominated for consideration and of those invited, 21 municipalities submitted final applications.

“The key component of the Heart & Soul process is learning what matters most to the community by engaging as many residents as possible, including those who do not normally participate in public discourse,” Fraizer continued.  “With full engagement as an integral part of the planning and development process, these often-unheard voices and their ideals become the foundation for building communities that are united, innovative, competitive and resilient.”

“We are incredibly grateful to be selected as a Transform South Jersey grant recipient,” said Jared Hunter, FAF Coalition Program Director.  “It has been a rigorous process getting to this point, but I believe it has given us the opportunity to create a positive environment in the community.  We also developed connections among various groups throughout the city that are excited to work alongside us in the near future.  We want to thank the Community Foundation and all of the funding partners for showing confidence in our city.”

As a Transform South Jersey grant recipient, the FAF Coalition will have access to up to $100,000 in funding to support ongoing staffing, marketing, and communications needs associated with a full-scale implementation of the Community Heart & Soul model in their town. They will also receive exclusive coaching, training, and technical assistance.  Each community has also committed to working with CFSJ to raise at least $25,000 to serve as an endowed portion of their own individual community fund. The proceeds from these investments will be used to support additional projects identified by the communities for many years to come.

To learn more about the selected communities and their progress as they embark on Community Heart & Soul, visit transformsouthjersey.org.

About the Partners

Community Foundation of South Jersey

The Community Foundation of South Jersey (CFSJ) envisions an eight-county region thriving where all neighbors aspire, succeed, participate, and give.  The vision is realized as CFSJ inspires generosity, manages and deploys permanent charitable assets, and exercises collaborative leadership to create a more equitable region.  CFSJ works with South Jersey philanthropists, local nonprofits, and neighbors to build capital, contribute assets, and create permanent endowments for impact in perpetuity.  By aligning donor interests and using the investment earnings on each of its endowed funds, CFSJ makes grants and builds leadership within the community to create thriving, equitable, and livable communities for all.  Currently, CFSJ manages assets of $22 million in donor-advised funds.  Along with its fund-holders, CFSJ has issued more than $9 million in nonprofit grants and scholarships. Learn more about CFSJ at CommunityFoundationSJ.org.

Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation

The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation envisions an equitable New Jersey through creative, engaged, sustainable communities.  Dodge supports arts, education, environment, informed communities, and poetry to connect communities and influence social change to achieve this vision.  Dodge stewards and leverages all our resources, financial and human, and partners with and supports the nonprofit sector to be valued and effective influencers for community-level change in New Jersey, with a priority focus on elevating the voices and power of those communities that have been historically and systematically excluded from investment and opportunity.  For more information, please visit grdodge.org.

New Jersey Health Initiatives

New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI) is the statewide grantmaking program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  Established in 1987 in honor of the New Jersey philanthropic legacy of RWJF’s founder, Robert Wood Johnson, NJHI supports innovations and drives conversations to build healthier communities through grantmaking across the State of New Jersey.  To meet the many health needs of our state’s diverse populations, regions and communities, the NJHI national program encourages collaboration across sectors to foster deep relationships committed to long-term change affording all New Jerseyans the opportunity to live the healthiest life possible.  Learn more about NJHI at njhi.org.

OceanFirst Foundation

Since its founding in 1902, OceanFirst Bank has built a solid reputation and legacy as a good neighbor and responsible corporate citizen.  The Bank’s strong commitment to helping families, organizations, schools, and communities throughout central and southern New Jersey meet their financial needs has spanned several generations reaching new heights in 1996 with the creation of OceanFirst Foundation.  

Made possible by a one-time endowment of $13.4 million approved by OceanFirst Bank depositors, OceanFirst Foundation provides grants to organizations that meet community needs within the OceanFirst Bank footprint.  Through the Foundation, hundreds of local charities and schools have received more than $39 million in grants to enrich lives in areas such as Housing, Youth Development and Education, Improving the Quality of Life, Health and Wellness, and the Arts.  Learn more about the OceanFirst Foundation at oceanfirstfdn.org.

Orton Family Foundation

The Orton Family Foundation’s mission is to empower people to shape the future of their communities by improving local decision-making, creating a shared sense of belonging, and ultimately strengthening the social, cultural, and economic vibrancy of each place.  

The foundation is focused on building stronger, healthier, and more economically vibrant small cities and towns across America.  Founded in Vermont in 1995, the foundation devoted more than a decade to working with small towns to create Community Heart & Soul® a model that helps build trust and empowers residents to shape the future of their communities.  

Community Heart & Soul projects are underway across the country creating positive change that is resident-driven and recognizes the value in the unique character of each place and the deep emotional connection of the people who live there.  To learn more about the Orton Family Foundation and its Community Heart & Soul model, visit communityheartandsoul.org.

PSEG Foundation

The PSEG Foundation, the 501(c)(3) philanthropic arm of Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (PSEG) (NYSE:PEG), prioritizes investments in the environment, safety, STEM education & workforce development, diversity & inclusion, and the communities served by PSEG.  Headquartered in Newark, N.J., PSEG is a diversified energy company with approximately 13,000 employees.  

In 2019, PSEG was named one of Forbes’ Best Employers for Diversity.  In addition, PSEG was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America for the 12th consecutive year in 2019 and received a Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index 2018 rating of 100 percent.  Learn more about the PSEG Foundation at corporate.pseg.com.

Wells Fargo Regional Community Development Corporation

The Wells Fargo Regional Community Development Corporation (CDC) makes investments to nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses for select ventures that are designed to promote community and economic development opportunities to improve the quality of life for children and families living in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.  The work of the Wells Fargo Regional CDC is closely aligned to the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation which invests resources in comprehensive, neighborhood-based economic and community development initiatives within the same geographic area.  

For more information, please visit WellsFargo.com/about/regional-foundation.

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Gormley & Levine Families Generously Give Finances & Time to Assure Atlantic County Residents are Fed & Safe

Former New Jersey Senator William Gormley (far right), Atlantic City Attorney Lee Levine (fourth from left) and their families get ready to deliver non-perishable groceries and other essential products to individuals and families in need in Atlantic County. The Gormley and Levine families generously donated $10,000 to Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties to purchase merchandise for the Food Pantry. (Photo courtesy of Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties)

Margate, NJ (July 22, 2020) – Former New Jersey Senator William Gormley and his family along with Atlantic City Attorney Lee Levine and his family presented a generous donation of $10,000 to Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties. In addition to the generous financial contribution, the Gormley and Levine families gathered their kids and grandkids to give their time to deliver bags of food to community members in need.

Each week, approximately 30 families are delivered essential food through a contactless drop-off. With a 79% increase in Food Pantry requests, the contribution will be used to purchase non-perishable food and other essential products to support individuals and families in need throughout Atlantic County. Top pantry items include cereal, hearty soups, peanut butter, tuna and pasta.

Eric Zeltner gets ready to load his vehicle to deliver non-perishable groceries and other essential product to individuals and families in need in Atlantic County. Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties purchased the merchandise through a generous $10,000 donation from former New Jersey Senator William Gormley and Atlantic City Attorney Lee Levine and their families. (Photo courtesy of Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties)

“For more than 30 years, Senator Gormley proudly served the residents of New Jersey and while he may be retired from the government, his commitment to helping his constituents of our state continues to this day,” said Andrea Steinberg, JFS Chief Executive Officer. “At JFS, we are thankful to the Gormley and Levine families for their dedication to help those in need, especially during this unprecedented time.”

Since mid-March, JFS’ Food Pantry has experienced a substantial increase in usage. With more than 27,000 employees from the Atlantic City hotel/casino industry alone unemployed or underemployed, and many commercial and private businesses that ceased or reduced operation, the need for JFS’ Pantry has increased drastically. On average, the agency pantry served 200 people monthly and currently, we are helping in excess of 225 individuals and families per week.

(Left to right): Judy Levine, Kade Spencer and Lee Levine load a vehicle with non-perishable groceries and other essential products to deliver to individuals and families in need in Atlantic County. Former New Jersey Senator William Gormley and Atlantic City Attorney Lee Levine made a generous $10,000 donation to Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties to purchase the merchandise. (Photo courtesy of Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties)

“We are doing this in the spirit of Sam Greenberg whose life was about uniting the people on Absecon island,” said Bill Gormley.

Former New Jersey Senator William Gormley (left) and family members pick-up non-perishable groceries and other essential products from Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties to deliver to individuals and families in need in Atlantic County. Atlantic City Attorney Lee Levine, William Gormley and their families made a generous $10,000 donation to JFS to purchase the merchandise. (Photo courtesy of Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties)

For those looking to follow their lead, non-perishable food and other essential products for the JFS Food Pantry are also being accepted at the Galloway Police Department and Pleasantville Police Department as well as Linwood City Hall and Ventnor City Hall. Those interested in volunteering may contact Vanessa Smith, JFS Volunteer Services Supervisor at vsmith@jfsatlantic.org or call 609.822.1108, x249 for ways to get involved.

To make a secure on-line donation, visit jfsatlantic.org or mail a check to Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties, 607 North Jerome Avenue, Margate, NJ 08402. For more information on programs and services, contact 609.822.1108, x1.

About Jewish Family Service

Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties (JFS) encourages strong families, thriving children, healthy adults, energized seniors and vital communities. With dozens of program areas, JFS specializes in counseling, mental health services, homeless programs, vocational services, adult and older adult services and also hosts an on-site food pantry. The agency impacts 8,000 lives throughout Atlantic and Cape May Counties each year.

JFS’ mission is to motivate and empower people to realize their potential and enhance their quality of life. In keeping with Jewish values and the spirit of tikkun olam (healing the world), JFS provides services with integrity, compassion, respect and professionalism regardless of their religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age or background.

For more information or to keep up-to-date with JFS events and programs, visit www.jfsatlantic.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Award-Winning Sand Castle Artisan Provides Creative Kickoff to Ronald McDonald House Fundraiser at ShopRite of West

Award-winning sand sculptors, husband and wife team of John Gowdy and Laura Cimador, stand proudly alongside their sand replica of the Ronald McDonald House of Southern New Jersey in ShopRite of West Berlin. Their two-day, live build kickstarted a summer sand castle contest to raise money for the RMHSNJ. Pictured, from left, are: Brian Walsh, community outreach coordinator for RMHSNJ; George Veit, store manager of ShopRite of West Berlin; John Gowdy; Laura Cimador; and Vince Squillacioti, assistant store manager of ShopRite of West Berlin (Image provided).

West Berlin, N.J. – A bit of the Jersey shore made its way into an aisle of ShopRite of West Berlin, capturing the attention and amazement of customers. Standing at 6 feet tall, a detailed sand replica of the Ronald McDonald House in Camden is now a centerpiece of the store, created onsite earlier this week by renowned artist John Gowdy and wife, Laura Cimador. The two-day build and finished structure are part of an effort to inspire a friendly sand castle competition that will raise money for the Ronald McDonald House of Southern New Jersey (RMHSNJ) this summer.

The replica, made of approximately 400 pounds of sand, will remain at ShopRite of West Berlin under plexiglass through Sept. 8. Gowdy has used sand to express himself ever since he was a child, so he hopes to inspire others to unleash their creativity through the RMHSNJ summer sand castle fundraiser.

To enter, team leaders for five or fewer people pay $30, and leaders of six or more people pay $60.

Register at https://ronaldhouse-snj.org/event/sandcastle-contest. Each team will submit a photo of its creation, with a 12-inch ruler next to it for size reference. All teams and creations must sport a creative name. 

Entries are due by Aug. 31. 

Zallie-Somerset Stores, owners of ShopRite of West Berlin and 10 other stores in the area, has an ongoing, supportive relationship with RMHSNJ; owner David Zallie is on the Board of Trustees. In addition to hosting this event, the company has donated funds and products, and its employees have served dinner at the House. This sand castle contest will help replace revenue that would have come from events that were cancelled due to the pandemic.

Zallie-Somerset Stores owner David Zallie said ShopRite was excited to host the event. “An event like this brings joy to families during a very challenging time in our world,” he said. “The West Berlin ShopRite is thrilled to support a positive cause while providing its customers a safe and fun opportunity to smile.”

Giuliana Zallie, director of marketing and wellness, shared how this event is an opportunity to reinforce the commitment of Zallie-Somerset Stores to its communities. “The pandemic has put much of our focus on serving the community through our response to customers’ shopping needs and experiences, but we know that many of the nonprofits we support also need our help. This sand castle build and competition is a creative way to run a safe, larger-scale fundraiser, and we look forward to thinking outside of the box in the coming months to continue our support of organizations that play important roles in the community.”

Gowdy and Cimador worked together over two days, July 20 and 21, to build the Ronald McDonald House replica, while RMHSNJ representatives helped educate customers passing by about the sand castle contest. Prizes to be awarded on Labor Day include the best sand castle for teams under 12 years old, the best sand castle for teams over 12 years old, the largest sand castle, the tiniest sand castle, and the sand castle with the best name.

Gowdy was born in Atlantic City, where he served with the Atlantic City Fire Department for 27 years. After living in northeastern Italy for the last 10 years, he and Cimador moved to their current residence in Galloway, N.J., with their two sons, Ludovico and Filippo. Since placing third in his first competition in 1992, Gowdy has won the North American, International and World Championships of Sand Sculpture, along with many other competitions. Working closely with his wife as a team, the pair’s masterful works come from decades of practice painting and sculpting with various materials, and many of their creations can be seen on their website, johngowdy.com.

About Zallie-Somerset Stores

Zallie-Somerset Stores, branded as Zallie’s Fresh Kitchen, is the regional collection of ShopRite stores in Medford, Lawnside, Gibbstown, West Berlin, West Deptford, Williamstown, Chews Landing, Laurel Hill, Glassboro and Sicklerville, all in southern New Jersey, and Knorr Street in Philadelphia. ShopRite stores are independently owned and operated as part of the Wakefern Food Corp. Cooperative.

About Ronald McDonald House Southern New Jersey

RMHSNJ is one of more than 350 Houses around the world that offer hope, help and home to critically ill children and their families. For over 37 years, RMHSNJ has been a “home away from home” for more than 29,000 families whose children are receiving life-saving treatments for critical illnesses and traumatic injuries.

Each year, approximately 700 families hail from many foreign countries and every state in the U.S. Located in the heart of Camden, RMHSNJ is staffed 24 hours a day with a small staff and hundreds of volunteers. The house has 25 spacious bedroom suites, each with a unique theme such as Animal Friends, Sesame Street, Harry Potter and the Phillies. RMHSNJ also operates eleven Ronald McDonald Family Rooms in Southern New Jersey hospitals with large pediatric units. For more information on RMHSNJ, go to www.ronaldhouse-snj.org.

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Delaware River Coalition Celebrates House Passage of the Great American Outdoors Act

TRENTON, N.J. – In a big win for conservation and bi-partisanship collaboration, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Great American Outdoors Act (310 to 107) on July 22, 2020. The Great American Outdoors Act will permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million a year and provide $9.5 billion over five years to repair aged infrastructure at national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and recreation areas.

These dollars will benefit outdoor areas in the Delaware River Watershed (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware) through Land and Water Conservation Fund programs. The Senate passed the Great American Outdoors Act by 73 to 25 on June 17th. It now heads to the President Trump who is expected to sign the bill into law.

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund has never had stable funding, making the Great American Outdoors Act a welcome, but overdue investment in public lands. The Delaware River Watershed states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware have all benefited from previous Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars, and we’re excited to see permanent and increased funding flow to our outdoor recreation infrastructure and protect land from development in the watershed,” said Sandra Meola, Director, Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed. “The Delaware River Watershed’s parks and open spaces are a haven for outdoor recreation, from hiking to kayaking to fishing. Preserving these spaces is not only good for our physical and mental well-being, it’s also good for the economy.”

Previously, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has provided funding to locations in all four Delaware River Watershed states, including the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (NY and PA), Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River (NY and PA), Brandywine Battlefield (PA), Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (PA and NJ), Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge (PA), John Heinz Tinicum National Wildlife Reserve (PA), Pinelands National Reserve (NJ), Cape May National Wildlife Refuge (NJ), Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge (DE), and Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge (DE).

“The Great American Outdoors Act is a landmark piece of legislation in conservation history. It will ensure our natural resources and outdoor recreation areas endure for future generations here in New Jersey, in the Delaware River Watershed, and across America. This legislation will also accelerate our economic recovery from the recent public health crisis by creating thousands of jobs and supporting an outdoor recreation economy. I’m proud to lead this bipartisan legislation in the House and send it to the President’s desk,” stated Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11).

Created in 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund was established to “safeguard natural areas, water resources, and cultural heritage; and to provide recreation opportunities to all Americans.” The program involves land acquisition to safeguard wilderness from development and provides local grants for the restoration and protection of parks, monuments, and trails.

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund has benefited Delaware’s natural resources in the past, and we’re looking forward to this continued investment in conservation. Since the fund’s inception, Delaware has received a total of $61.2 million in federal funding through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, $24.3 million through the federal land acquisition grants program and $36.9 million through annual allocation to states. Federal funding has supported many projects, including restoration at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge and supplementing funding for projects like the Southbridge Wilmington Wetlands Park,” added Anne Harper, Executive Director, Delaware Nature Society.

While the Great American Outdoors Act provides $9.5 billion to fix and repair aged national park infrastructure, the National Park Service recently estimated its deferred maintenance at $12 billion.

The U.S. National Park Service has identified three locations in the Delaware River Watershed in need of funds for deferred maintenance on roads, structures, buildings, and capital improvements: the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (PA and NJ) has a $161 million need, the Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River has a $4 million need (NY and PA), and First State National Historical Park (DE) has a $2 million need.

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is our nation’s most important conservation funding program helping to protect special places in the Delaware River Watershed, such as the Appalachian National Scenic Trail viewshed and corridor, and more recently, over 4,000 acres of land for Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge. With full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the pace of conservation can accelerate and access to the outdoors expanded for everyone,” said Mark Zakutansky, Director of Conservation Policy Engagement, Appalachian Mountain Club.

The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed is a network of over 150 non-governmental organizations located in NY, NJ, PA, and DE, and are dedicated to protecting and restoring the natural resources of the Delaware River Basin. For more information, visit click here.

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New Jersey American Water Announces Bold New START Program to Create Jobs & Invest in Water & Wastewater Services

CAMDEN, N.J. (July 23, 2020) – New Jersey American Water President Cheryl Norton today announced a bold new program that proposes to accelerate capital investment in water and wastewater infrastructure while creating and/or sustaining thousands of jobs.

Solutions Today and Reinvesting Tomorrow (START), consists of several distinct proposed pieces, which collectively will serve the greater good of New Jersey American Water’s customers and the entire state.

Norton announced the details of the program in testimony before the Assembly Special Committee on Infrastructure and Natural Resources. New Jersey American Water envisions START as part of New Jersey’s economic recovery from COVID-19, putting people to work while also continuing to provide hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans with safe and reliable water and wastewater services so they don’t have to worry about adding it to their list of current concerns.

“What we are proposing is an acceleration in capital investment in water and wastewater infrastructure that can result in the improvement of those systems and the creation of thousands of jobs,” says Norton. “We feel that our proposed START program can, and will, make a difference, as together we  fight this public health emergency and its economic impact, while continuing to provide the citizens of New Jersey with clean, reliable drinking water and environmentally safe wastewater services.”

START contains several proposed components, which include: 

Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Investment Program (WWIIP)

This is a new proposal for water and wastewater utilities in New Jersey (requiring legislative or regulatory approval) which would speed up capital investment in water and wastewater systems while sustaining and creating jobs, but its framework is not new to the water/wastewater industry.   

Projects under WWIIP must be on nonrevenue producing assets and must fall into certain categories like existing Distribution System Improvement Charge (DSIC) eligible projects, replacement of plant items, water main cleaning and lining, distribution, production, and other infrastructure for the purpose of safety, water quality, resiliency, and environmental compliance.

WWIIP could generate between $100 million to $150 million in new capital investments and the creation of 1,500 to 2,000 jobs. 

Distribution System Improvement Charge (DSIC) Expansion

Currently, under New Jersey law, water utilities can only get recovery through DSIC on mostly underground distribution system assets (pipes, etc.). New Jersey American Water is proposing to expand the current DSIC program to include the replacement of above ground distribution system assets (meters, booster stations, storage tanks, etc.).

There currently is a 5 percent cap on what New Jersey American Water can recover under DSIC.  New Jersey American Water is proposing to raise that cap to 10 percent. By raising that cap and allowing DSIC to apply to above ground assets, an additional $50 million to $75 million in annual capital investment could be generated. That investment would sustain or create over 500 jobs.

DSIC expansion is contingent on the result of the WWIIP proposal. If WWIIP is approved, this proposed DSIC expansion would no longer be necessary.

Accelerate the Wastewater System Improvement Charge (WSIC)

This mechanism is similar to DSIC but covers wastewater collection system assets rather than underground distribution system assets. Currently pending before the Board of Public Utilities, approval of this charge could create between $6 million and $8 million of annual investment along with approximately 150 jobs.

Like the DSIC expansion, this is also contingent on the result of the WWIIP proposal. If WWIIP is approved, this proposed change would no longer be necessary.

Lead Service Line Replacement Legislation (A1544)

This legislation would allow for water utilities to receive full cost recovery for the replacement of the customer-owned portion of a lead service line (street to the home) in addition to the company owned side. New Jersey American Water’s goal is to reduce lead in drinking water through the proactive elimination of lead service lines and ongoing optimization of water treatment to reduce corrosion of plumbing materials that may contain lead. 

Replacing lead service lines in conjunction with main replacements or relocations is not only a cost-effective, efficient, and responsible way to continue infrastructure renewal programs, it also best addresses the health and safety concerns associated with partial lead service line replacements. This is an important piece of helping to reduce New Jerseyans’ potential exposure to lead.

H2O/Affordability Programs

For nearly a decade, New Jersey American Water has been assisting low-income water customers who qualify through its H2O Help to Others Program, which is administered by New Jersey Shares. Customers who qualify may receive a grant of up to $500 to help pay their water bill for indoor water use only.

New Jersey American Water has implemented new measures aimed at increasing participation in the program by making it easier to apply and qualify.

These include:

  • Increased eligibility for customers (including those impacted by COVID-19)
  • Temporarily waiving the $100 payment requirement through Dec. 31, 2020 to receive the H2O grant
  • Temporarily waiving the restriction of receiving a grant only every three years through Dec. 31, 2020 for any customer that has not yet received a grant in 2020 to date 
  • Temporarily waiving the requirement of no broken payment arrangements within the past year through Dec. 31, 2020
  • Temporarily making both programs available to landlords who don’t live at the property and meters that are shared by more than one owner (both currently excluded from H2O)
  • Changing the income recertification requirement for the Service Charge discount from two years to one year for customers receiving unemployment benefits who apply for assistance between July 1, 2020-Dec. 31, 2020
  • Expanding the DSIC discount to those who qualify for the Service Charge discount, for customers who apply between July 1, 2020-Dec. 31, 2020

Expand Supplier Diversity Programs

American Water’s Supplier Diversity Program is centered on the fact that the company views supplier diversity as a business imperative, not just the “right thing to do.” American Water strives to work with suppliers that represent the diverse backgrounds of its customer base.

New Jersey American Water is committed to strengthening the economy and improving its communities, and supplier diversity plays a critical role in this. The company realizes that small, minority-owned, women-owned and other diverse businesses play a vital role in the economic well-being of our communities. Diverse suppliers are the fastest growing business segment in the country, offering innovation, customer-focused solutions.

Through the proposed START initiative, New Jersey American Water will continue to strengthen its Supplier Diversity efforts through increased partnerships with diverse businesses in New Jersey. Details of the program are still being developed and will be announced in the near future.

Develop A New Workforce Employment Initiative (Apprentice Program)

The water industry over the next five years faces an employee work shortage as “new” employees into the water industry are not evolving. It is difficult to obtain water/wastewater treatment licenses, generally taking up to 10 years. Many people, especially young adults, do not know about the well-paying jobs that are attainable in the water industry.

New Jersey American Water wants to develop an apprentice program to help address this issue. We are working with the Governor’s Office/Department of Labor and the NJ Vocational-Technical Schools Association to develop such an initiative and will be announcing further details in the near future.

About New Jersey American Water

New Jersey American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.8 million people.

For more information, visit www.newjerseyamwater.com and follow New Jersey American Water on Twitter and Facebook

About American Water 

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,800 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million people in 46 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing.

For more information, visit amwater.com and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.