Empowering young leaders in New Jersey with The Herb Block Foundation

Since IGNITE’s start in 2010, we’ve trained over 35,000 young women-identifying persons to own their political power. As we continue to build a movement of young leaders, the financial investment of supporters like The Herb Block Foundation is crucial. We are grateful to The Herb Block Foundation, who generously awarded IGNITE an “Encouraging Citizen Involvement” grant of $15,000. This grant aims to ensure a “responsible, responsive democratic government” through civic engagement activities such as citizen education and voter participation. IGNITE will  use the proceeds of this grant to further our mission in New Jersey. 

Our work expanded to New Jersey in 2016. Through our deepening work in the state we are  increasing young women’s participation and leadership in local politics. IGNITE has partnered with several community-based organizations in the region to further our impact. Our partner Project Ready hosted the IGNITE Run Now training series, which helps young women accelerate their path to political leadership. Run Now participants learn every aspect of running for office, from fundraising to articulating their call to service. Two participants of the Project Ready x IGNITE training series ran and won seats on their school board. 

Over the years, our Dr. Anne Moses IGNITE Fellows have mobilized young women across New Jersey to become more politically involved. Aamore Richards, our 21-22/22-23 New Jersey Fellow, took a group of young women to Trenton for IGNITE the Capitol, a day of legislative advocacy. During this event, IGNITE young leaders learned how to advocate for policy change, and advocated for bill A1349, which passed. This bill ensures state funding for accessible menstrual products in New Jersey public schools for students in grades 6-12. Our 23-24 New Jersey Fellow, Emani Wilson, is a founding member of Newark's first IGNITE college chapter and recently hosted an event in New Jersey to train others to create change by joining a local board or commission. Emani has received wide recognition for her civic and political efforts, including a certificate of recognition and appreciation from the city of Trenton for her tremendous commitment to empowering local youth to implement change by becoming politically active. 

“I became passionate about politics because I wanted to be a resource to combat the adversities that me and my communities face. I was tired of surviving and I wanted to live. We need to know there is no limit to achieving whatever success is,” says Emani Wilson. 

Like Aamore and Emani, there is a passionate, diverse group of young leaders in New Jersey dedicated to politically empowering the next generation of leaders. 

As we continue to expand our efforts throughout New Jersey we will provide more young women with the opportunity to own their political power. One initiative IGNITE will support with The Herb Block Foundation grant funding will train young people on  the importance of voting, and will educate them on how to register to vote. As we head into the 2024 election year, we’re excited to collaborate with even more changemakers as they #IGNITEtheVote to educate and activate voters in New Jersey and beyond.  

The Herb Block Foundation’s investment in IGNITE will help us support young women in New Jersey to become and remain politically and civically involved. We will continue to cultivate an environment where more young women thrive in political spaces, so that constituents in New Jersey have access to political leaders that better represent them. 

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