The Princeton Area Community Foundation’s Fund for Women and Girls will hold a lunchtime panel discussion to address ways in which early investments in children can improve the lives of families.

“Thriving Women, Thriving Communities: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Through Early Investment in Our Children” will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. May 5 at Mercer Oaks Golf Course, 725 Village Road West, West Windsor. Tickets are $40 each.

The Fund for Women and Girls works to improve the lives of economically vulnerable women and girls in the Greater Mercer County region through community investment, education and collaboration.

Panelists will discuss the crucial importance of early childhood on the social, emotional, and economic well-being of women and girls. High quality programs designed for disadvantaged children between the ages of birth and five “can deliver a 13 percent per child, per year return on investment through better outcomes in education, health, social behaviors and employment,” according to the Heckman Equation.

The event is sponsored by BNY Mellon Wealth Management.

Our panel:

  • Jacqueline Jones, Ph.D., President & CEO, Foundation for Child Development, keynote speaker
  • Ingrid W. Reed, retired Director of the New Jersey Project at Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics, moderator
  • Ana I. Berdecia, M.Ed., Senior Fellow/Director of the Center for the Positive Development of Urban Children at the John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy of Thomas Edison State University
  • Sarah Steward, Chief Operating Officer at HomeFront

FWG 2017 lunch speakers

Jones previously served as a Senior Advisor on Early Learning to former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and as the country’s first Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Early Learning in the U.S. Department of Education. She has also served as the Assistant Commissioner for the Division of Early Childhood Education in the New Jersey Department of Education and a Senior Research Scientist at Educational Testing Service in Princeton. She is a member of the National Academies Board on Children, Youth and Families and served on the National Academy of Sciences committee that produced Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation.

Reed, a policy analyst focusing on New Jersey civic affairs, will moderate the discussion. Before joining Eagleton, Reed served as vice president for public affairs and corporate secretary of The Rockefeller University in New York and as assistant dean of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She is the chair of the board of NJSpotlight, a civic journalism website. She also serves on the boards of New Jersey Future, Womanspace, the Princeton Symphony Orchestra and the Princeton Adult School, and sits on the community advisory board of NJTV.

Berdecia previously served as the Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Community Day Care Center Inc. in Trenton. Her research has been presented at national, state and local conferences. She serves on the Princeton Area Community Foundation Board of Trustees and the New Jersey Council for Young Children.

Steward’s organization, HomeFront, was awarded a 2016 grant from the Fund for Women and Girls for its Childcare Access for Mothers in Need program at the Atkinson Child Development Center in Ewing. Through this program, very low-income mothers can focus on their own needs, while their children receive free, quality childcare. Steward is also the president of the Ewing Township Council.

The Princeton Area Community Foundation’s Fund for Women and Girls supports the economic security of women and girls in central New Jersey. In 2016, the Fund awarded $132,500 in grants to local nonprofits. Fund members commissioned research on the needs of women and girls in the region, the results of which have shaped those funding priorities.

The Princeton Area Community Foundation promotes philanthropy and builds community across Mercer County and central New Jersey. It helps people and companies make effective charitable gifts and awards grants to nonprofits. Since its founding in 1991, the Community Foundation has grown into an organization with more than $140 million in assets and made grants of more than $95 million, including nearly $16 million in 2016.


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