Local entrepreneur, Smith Family Foundation and NJM Insurance Group to be recognized by NonProfitConnect

Liz Erickson Impact Award honoree Joanne Canady-Brown, Community Award honoree Smith Family Foundation and Corporate Award honoree NJM Insurance Group have been selected as this year’s Impact Awards recipients for their commitment to community service.

The Impact Awards are given every year by NonProfitConnect, a Mercer County–based nonprofit that seeks to build “an increasingly diverse, skilled, and engaged group of nonprofit board and staff leaders.”

The honorees will be celebrated at NonProfitConnect’s Annual Impact Awards event on Oct. 29, starting at 5:30 p.m.

“As an organization committed to building nonprofit capacity, we are eager to recognize and honor individuals and organizations in our community that are engaging fellow community members and giving of themselves,” said Allison Howe, NonProfitConnect’s executive director. “As we face unprecedented challenges, it is inspiring to see local companies and leaders rallying resources to keep our nonprofits supported.”

Joanne Canady-Brown is being recognized with the Liz Erickson Impact Award, named for the late Elizabeth Erickson, a champion for Princeton-area community service.

Canady-Brown, the owner of local bakery The Gingered Peach, has been intimately involved in the Mercer County community. She has used sales of her tasty baked goods to raise several thousand dollars for multiple nonprofits including activating her “Dazzle Doughnuts” to support Young Audiences, a nonprofit supporting arts programs for children to her “Blackout Cookies” which boast a delightful mix of black and white swirls to fund I Am Trenton, a nonprofit supporting Trenton community projects.

During the pandemic, she continued her partnership with TASK to bring potato rolls to food insecure residents and provided trays of pastries to hospital providers who had not received other appreciation.

The Community Award, which recognizes a nonprofit that is making a significant impact will go to the Smith Family Foundation this year.

Founded in 2016, its mission is to “empower our community, cultivate leaders and transform lives by providing funding and Transformative Leadership Development to Trenton based organizations.” It is committed to supporting the nonprofit community in the city of Trenton, particularly grass root organizations, and they support in countless ways.

With its “Forever Forward” grant, they have funded and partnered with Trenton nonprofits Homeworks, Help Self, and Howard’s Healthy Choices to coach them in leadership and board development over three years.

The Smith Family Foundation is out front promoting higher education as the “Normal Next Step!” for Trenton students. As part of this campaign, it provide the Legacy Scholarship which provides $40,000 over a four year period for a graduating Trenton Central High School student and give care packages to high school grads heading off to college, in some cases including laptops and checks for books.

The foundation also given extensive financial support to local causes and nonprofits – in 2020 alone – to the City of Trenton Homeless Program, the NJ Pandemic Relief Fund, Children’s Home Society, Trenton Circus Squad, UrbanPromise, Trenton Music Makers and many more.

The NJM Insurance Group will be awarded the Corporate Award for the extensive impact that company has had on the Mercer County region where it is based.

NJM’s community engagement and outreach efforts extend throughout the year and include individual and team building volunteer activities at a variety of community-service organizations. These activities include service at area soup kitchens and food banks, reading and financial literacy programs, housing rehabilitation projects, veterans’ support and food/clothing/holiday gift drives. NJM employees also contribute by serving on local nonprofit boards.

For more information about the award recipients or for tickets to attend the Annual Impact Awards, go to NonProfitConnectNJ.org or contact Howe at [email protected] or 609-921-8893.

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