The Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge and Impact 100 South Jersey celebrated their collaboration at the nature center on Aug 30, as the national philanthropy organization rewarded the refuge a general operating grant of $50,000.
Launched in 2017, Impact 100 South Jersey is a chapter of the nationwide women’s group of philanthropists which recognizes organizations that take into account women, children and families, education, and community health and wellness. Its mission is to have at least 100 women each contribute $1,150 to raise enough money for the dispersal of funds to nonprofits that apply for a grant.
Kyle Ruffin of Impact 100 addressed one of the reasons why Impact 100 focused on the wildlife refuge.
“On behalf of all the members, not only was it exciting to reward a grant to an organization that was focused on S.T.E.M.(Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), but it was also exciting to award a grant to an organization that’s focused on the environment,” he said
Among other finalists for the Impact reward was Family Promise, at $100,000, and the New Jersey Agricultural Society’s Farmers Against Hunger, which received $50,000. Ruffin also expressed the importance of his organization’s further connectivity with grant recipients.
“One of the things, too, that’s nice about the three grantees and all of our grantees is that they’ve built relationships.” Ruffin noted, “where now Family Promise is going to bring some of the children of the homeless families that they serve to Cedar Run so that they can experience that nature, that environment and have a better understanding of the whole world that we live in.”
The Impact 1000 grant will be used to establish and launch an after-school program run by the refuge that will involve visiting local schools and sharing education about nature and environmental learning at Cedar Run.
The director of development and communications at the refuge, Tracey Francois, emphasized the impact of its collaboration with Impact 100.
“Very transformational at Cedar Run; it is going to make a huge difference,” Francois said
Part of the Impact 100 grant will pay for a full-time educator from the refuge to visit local schools and educate children about the new after-school program. According to Mike O’Malley, executive Director at Cedar Run, the refuge wants the program to go live during fall and allow residents to register children through Medford schools.
“The after-school program is a great way for the kids to get involved now at a young age and develop those skills and understanding and appreciation for our shared environment and for New Jersey’s wildlife, which, especially in this program, is something that is fun and exciting,” O’Malley noted.
“For us, this after-school program just fits right into our model that we’re trying to build to establish the next generation of environmental stewards,” he added.
For more information about upcoming events and offerings at Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge, visit https://www.cedarrun.org/. For more information about new recruitment opportunities at Impact 100, visit https://impact100sj.org/