20th Anniversary Poverty Summit  


October 25, 2019

Middlesex County College

West Hall



8:30 am           Registration, Breakfast, and Networking


9:00 am           Opening Anniversary Plenary


  • Dr. Mark McCormick, President, Middlesex County College
  • Kimberly Boller, Chief Strategy and Evaluation Officer, The Nicholson Foundation
  • Renee Koubiadis, Executive Director, APN

APN: 20 Years of Bold Advocacy Together

o   Lucy Vandenberg, The Fund for New Jersey


9:45 am           Workshop Session I

See below for workshop topics & locations


11:15 am          Challenges and Opportunities to Ending Poverty in New Jersey

  • Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director, Coalition on Human Needs
  • Brandon McKoy, President, New Jersey Policy Perspective
  • Doug O’Malley, Executive Director, Environment New Jersey
  • o   Hannah Korn-Heilner, Outreach Coordinator, Advocates for Children of New Jersey


12:30 pm         Lunch & Keynote Address

o   Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director, Coalition on Human Needs


1:45 pm           Workshop Session II

See below for workshop topics & locations



3:00 pm           Poverty Summit concludes



Workshop Session I:    (9:45-11:00 am) - All workshops will be in Crabiel Hall



A Home for All – Steps to Move Us Forward  (Amboy Room)


Arnold Cohen, Senior Policy Advisor, Housing & Community Development Network of New Jersey

Taiisa Kelly, CEO, Monarch Housing Associates

Diane Riley, Executive Director, Supportive Housing Association of New Jersey


In this workshop we will discuss current legislation and movements afoot to strengthen the rights of renters and to put in the place the resources needed to provide more affordable homes for low income families, including people with disabilities and the homeless.


Hunger in NJ: Policy and Legislative Solutions  (Room 123)

Presenter: Lisa Pitz, Outreach Director, Hunger Free New Jersey


The workshop and discussion will be focused on New Jersey’s recent legislative activity around the issue, policy being done around specific programs and how people can get involved.


Providing Health Coverage for All New Jerseyans  (Room 218)

Presenter:  Ray Castro, Director of Health Policy, New Jersey Policy Perspective


We all want universal health coverage but how do we get there? This workshop will discuss what New Jersey is doing to move in this direction and how it relates to the many proposals that are being discussed at the national level. It will explain how we got here, where we are and where we should be going.


Supporting, Improving and Challenging Public Education to Help Bring Children and Families Out of Poverty

(Brunswick Room 1)


Sharon Krengel, Policy and Outreach Director, Education Law Center

James Harris, New Jersey Association of Black Educators

Julie Borst, Executive Director, Save Our Schools


This workshop will discuss current efforts in NJ to create community schools, desegregate our schools and provide an excellent education for students in preschool through graduation, as well as the resources needed to support these efforts.


Poverty and Tax Credits – The Research is Clear  (Raritan Bay Room)


Kiran Gaudioso, Chief Operating Officer, United Way of Northern New Jersey

Dena Mottola-Jaborska, Associate Director, New Jersey Citizen Action

Lynn Weckworth, Community Impact, United Way of Northern New Jersey


Tax credits like Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit help put families on a path to financial stability and have lasting multi-generational impacts. Each year, these tax credits pull millions of people (many of them children) out of poverty. This workshop will share the compelling research that supports these and the details of who is eligible and who isn’t in NJ as well as current proposals for expansion in NJ. We will also discuss other tax policies New Jersey has considered or adopted and these policies’ relative impact on people living in poverty in New Jersey.



Immigrants Rights   (Brunswick Room 2)


Deyanira Aldana, Make the Road New Jersey

Brian Lozano, Policy Director and Lead Organizer, Wind of the Spirit


This workshop will focus on bold policy solutions that welcome and support immigrants to become rooted economically, politically and socially within the state.



Workshop Session II:     (1:45-3:00 pm) – All Workshops Will Be in Crabiel Hall


Can Universal Basic Income Address Poverty & Inequality? - Implementation Lessons from Stockton’s Guaranteed Income Experiment  (Amboy Room)

Presenter:  Amy Castro Baker, Ph.D., MSW, Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice


In the wake of the Great Recession, 40% of Americans cannot afford an unexpected $400 emergency, and income inequality continues growing prompting renewed interest in guaranteed income as one path to address inequity in the United States. In this workshop, Amy Castro Baker, PhD, MSW will discuss the opportunities and implementation barriers associated with universal basic income.  Dr. Castro Baker serves as Co-PI of SEED, the nation’s first city-lead guaranteed income experiment in Stockton, CA.  SEED is providing 125 randomly selected individuals with $500 per month, no strings attached and no means-testing. Join us to learn how SEED is designed to work alongside the existing social safety net, and how SEED recipients are leveraging the $500 to strategically address the unmet needs in their households and networks.


Employment Rights of People with Disabilities  (Room 123)

Presenter: Mary Ciccone, JD, Managing Attorney PAIR/PAVA, Disability Rights New Jersey


People with disabilities face higher levels of unemployment than individuals without disabilities.  As a result, many people with disabilities live in higher levels of poverty.  Congress and the New Jersey State Legislature have passed laws to prohibit discrimination of people with disabilities and to encourage employment.  This workshop will look at the various laws that protect employees with disabilities.


New Jersey’s Community Colleges: Vision 2028 – Increasing College Attainment to Drive Economic Mobility(Raritan Bay Room)


Aaron Fichtner, Ph.D., President, New Jersey Council of County Colleges

Jacob Farbman, Ed.D., APR, Exec. Dir., Center for Student Success, New Jersey Council of County Colleges

Zakir Mirza, Project Manager – Policy Analysis & Communications, New Jersey Council of County Colleges


VISION 2028 is a commitment of the state’s community colleges to playing a critical role in increasing the number of New Jerseyans who have earned a post-secondary credential or degree so that the state can meet its ambitious goal of 65% post-secondary attainment by the year 2025 (65 by 25). Because college attainment plays a significant role in economic mobility, collectively the 18 community colleges have launched four initiatives to ensure that all New Jerseyans have access to post-secondary education and the supports needed to complete credentials and be successful in the workforce.



Criminal Justice Reform  (Brunswick Room 2)


Alexander Shalom, Senior Supervising Attorney, ACLU-NJ

Justice Rountree, Creator, Survivors Bureau

Anna “Cuqui” Rivera, Vice President, Anti-Poverty Network Board of Trustees and Criminal Justice Reform Chair, Latino Action Network


Experts and Advocates will openly discuss topics ranging from past to current New Jersey Legislative initiatives, personal testimonies of the challenges of reintegration after long term incarceration, the good and the bad, and how to stay or become involved in this work. An inclusive discussion on the incredible challenges faced to protect and further criminal justice reform in New Jersey in 2020 and beyond.



Reclaiming the American Dream: Advancing Asset Building and Economic Opportunity to Close the Racial Wealth Gap in New Jersey  (Brunswick Room 1)


Jayne Johnson, Senior Counsel, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice

Brooke Lewis, Esq., Trustee and Social Justice Advocacy Fellow, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice

Tiara Moultrie, Program Associate, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice

New Jersey is the tenth worst state in the nation for income inequality, where the incomes of households in the top 20% are 5.1 times higher than the incomes of households in the bottom 20%. Further, New Jersey has one of the worst racial wealth gaps in the nation. Given New Jersey’s shameful degree of income and racial wealth disparities, this workshop discusses the initiatives proposed by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice to address the systemic challenges that “low-wealth” New Jersey residents face, as they struggle to achieve the American dream of financial stability and independence for themselves and their families.


Harm Reduction 101: Promoting Just and Dignified Drug Policy in New Jersey (Room 218)


Jenna Saccomano Mellor, Master’s candidate, Princeton University Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs

Devin Reaves, MSW, CRS, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Coalition

Eddie Frierson, Syringe Access Manager, Hyacinth AIDS Foundation

Caitlin O’Neill, Organizer, New Jersey Harm Reduction Coalition


Join advocates and public health professionals to discuss harm reduction, a proven strategy to reduce overdose deaths and improve public health. Harm reduction seeks to decouple drug use from the criminal justice system and promote the dignity and bodily autonomy of people who use drugs. Learn about the harm reduction landscape in New Jersey - what is working well and where we can grow.



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