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president's message

Jim Jacob, President & CEO

This month, NJ SHARES had the opportunity to speak and debut our American Winter video at the Energy Summit hosted by Atlantic City Electric. Atlantic City Electric has worked with NJ SHARES since our inception to provide critically needed assistance to our neighbors across Southern New Jersey.

The Summit gave me the opportunity to speak to attendees about NJ SHARES’ programs and also co-host a unique, interactive session on how to best outreach and serve the diverse communities in Southern New Jersey.

Additionally, we were excited to have the opportunity to debut our American Winter video –  a five-minute representation of the plight of families who are trying hard to make ends meet, and documents their struggle to afford their utility bills. The families highlighted in the film are very courageous – we are grateful for their willingness to share their stories, allowing their voices to be heard and helping others find resources to make energy more affordable.

If you are interested in viewing the video, we will be showcasing American Winter this fall during our scheduled program of presentations. I am also happy to announce that beginning in October, you will be able to view the American Winter Film on our website as well!

Next month, I will participate as a presenter in the Low Income Forum on Energy (LIFE) webinar series. The LIFE webinar series is sponsored by the New York State Energy Research Development Authority. I will co-present with Serena Rice, executive director of the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey (APN), on how to draw on the possibilities of as many like-minded organizations and individuals as possible to build a network that will take action to achieve the objective of reducing and ending poverty. For more information, visit:

Finally, I urge you to mark your calendars and join us at the APN’s Annual Poverty Summit this October 13 at the Crowne Plaza in Monroe, NJ. I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with you on energy affordability and poverty issues.


Jim Jacob


It’s that time of year – NJ SHARES is starting to gear up for heating season! Support us in our efforts to help our neighbors as we ready for the cold winter months ahead. Thank you in advance for your generosity!

What's New

Pictured is Michael Swayze, NJ SHARES Founding Father and Board Member.

NJ SHARES Founding Father, Michael Swayze Retires

NJ SHARES’ Board of Directors credits Michael Swayze with the vision of a statewide heating assistance program for households with nowhere else to turn. Michael originally led the steering committing which gathered New Jersey’s leaders of the non-profit and utility industry as well as concerned citizens. This group eventually formed NJ SHARES in 1998.

This year, Michael retires from his “day job: at the Union County Division of Social Services where he has been known as “Mr. Home Energy” having served as the local Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Coordinator. For the past several years, he has coordinated the TANF component of the Work First New Jersey program – helping welfare families secure employment and training through a network of schools, nonprofits and the workforce development community.

Beginning with his days as a college radical as head of the Vietnam Moratorium Committee (10/15/69 nationwide anti-war protest) at Essex County College, Michael looks forward to remaining active in the area of low income energy assistance. He will continue to serve on the board of NJ SHARES, as well as a member of the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition .  Additionally, Michael will continue with his role as editor-and-chief of the New Jersey Community Resources . The website, which Michael founded and solely maintains, is a useful depository of resources available to New Jersey residents.

Born and raised in Union County, NJ, Michael is looking forward to spending more time with his wife Shelby, and their three lovely, smart, grown children who live in Philadelphia, Maryland and Virginia.

We wish Michael the best in all of his future endeavors.

Mary Grassi with Jim Jacob.

Mary Grassi, Energy Affordability Expert, Volunteers for NJ SHARES

NJ SHARES is excited to highlight our newest volunteer, Mary Grassi.

Mary is a recent retiree from PPL Electric Utilities and currently consults for the National Energy Education Foundation. Over the course of her career, she has worked for various non-profits, government agencies and utilities in Boston, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington DC. Additionally, Mary has served on the board of directors for the National Low Income Energy Consortium, the National Fuel Funds Network and the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition.

Mary has a broad range of experience on low-income and energy efficiency issues, including project design and management, contract management and regulatory matters. While working for KeySpan, she was responsible for “On Track,” a financial and energy management program designed for low income consumers. At PPL Electric Utilities, she developed energy efficiency programs including programs for low-income consumers. Mary also worked at NYSERDA where she was responsible for managing the Low Income Forum on Energy.

Jim Jacob with NJ 2-1-1’s new Executive Director, Joseph Geleta.

NJ 2-1-1 and NJ SHARES - Partnering to Make a Difference

NJ 2-1-1 is the state of New Jersey’s 24-hour, seven days a week, 365 days a year help and referral call center. NJ 2-1-1 and NJ SHARES have a long history of working together to ensure clients get the help they need.

“80 percent of NJ SHARES clients have never received help before,” explained NJ SHARES President Jim Jacob. “If a client calls NJ 2-1-1 looking for assistance with their utility bill, the client will then learn about NJ SHARES.”

Recently, NJ SHARES met with NJ 2-1-1’s new Executive Director, Joseph Geleta. 

“NJ 2-1-1 values the relationships with agencies that we have fostered throughout our existence,” said Geleta. “NJ SHARES is one of those agencies that offer assistance to so many by the services they provide.”

NJ 2-1-1 is launching an upgraded website this month that will include up-to-date information on NJ SHARES programs. Visit the upgraded website at


Pictured are Mark Bocchieri, Verizon - Director, External Affairs; Kimberly Warrick, NJ SHARES Client Call Center Manager; Odaly Poz, Legislative Aide; and Samuel Delgado, Verizon - Vice President, External Affairs.

Verizon Educates Seniors on Internet Safety and Communications Lifeline

NJ SHARES was invited to participate in a series of Verizon sponsored events aimed at educating seniors on internet safety and the benefits of the Communications Lifeline program.

The first two events were held last month at the Casa Israel Senior Center located in Newark and the Sayreville Senior Center. At the events, NJ SHARES was on hand to assist seniors in enrolling in the Communications Lifeline program to ensure they can stay connected in their communities.  

Stay tuned as more local events will be planned at locations throughout the state and televised on Fios 1.

Southern NJ Energy Summit.

Atlantic City Electric Hosts Energy Summit in Southern New Jersey

Atlantic City Electric recently hosted their Energy Summit – a community forum to educate community partners on the resources available to help struggling families maintain their utility services.

More than 100 community leaders filled the room at the May’s Landing utility to hear various speakers. The forum served to strengthen relationships throughout the community. Speakers from the company updated the community leaders on their policies and practices in serving the community. Guest speakers from the Board of Public Utilities and the energy assistance programs informed the audience of program updates leading into the heating season. The group shared ideas and best practices in how to best serve the 'at-risk' populations of Southern New Jersey.

Register for the Annual Anti-Poverty Summit to be held October 13th

The Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey (APN) will host its signature event, the Annual Poverty Summit on October 13, 2015 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30p.m. The conference theme this year is Weeding Out Poverty: Uncovering the Roots of Racial and Economic Injustice. There will be phenomenal workshops, speakers, and networking opportunities. Make sure it's on your calendar, and share the date with your friends. Registration is open!

Agency Spotlight

Pictured from left to right are Visitation’s Ruth Murphy, Christie Winters, NJ SHARES’ Dena Shipley and Visitation’s Cheri Gleason.

Visitation Relief Center

NJ SHARES is fortunate to partner with more than 250 agencies around the state. Each organization has a different mission and focus but all provide holistic solutions to their community.  This month we want to welcome the Visitation Relief Center to our network of community partners!

Once a small grassroots volunteer group, helping hand out donated supplies to families affected by hurricane sandy, the Visitation Relief Center is now one of the area’s largest relief organizations, branching out from traditional food and clothing relief to a numerous volunteer activities that have included environmental cleanup, a community garden and home rebuilding.

“We are very proud to serve our town and the surrounding communities in the continued Superstorm Sandy recovery effort,” said Christie Winters, executive director of the Visitation Relief Center. “Partnering with programs like NJ SHARES can help our recovering residents with their unmet needs.”

NJ SHARES President and CEO, Jim Jacob said, “We are excited to partner with the Visitation Relief Center. Their staff and volunteers have helped so many of our neighbors in need. We are grateful that they can bring our energy, telephone and water utility resources to qualified residents in their community”.

The Visitation Relief Center has an impressive volunteer effort, which has contributed $3,708,000 million to local storm recovery projects, logged 119,000 volunteer hours, handled 3,182 family intakes and rehabilitated 287 homes. Additionally, the relief center volunteers have grown 2,332 pounds of fresh vegetables harvested from its community garden and removed 536 tons of debris from environmentally sensitive areas.

Agency Toolbox

Our Agency Partners can expect an update to the energy program training packets that will include the updated poverty guidelines for the LIHEAP program which will begin applications on October 1 as well as an update on grant processing.

Legislative Spotlight

Pictured from left – Gina Chea, Linda Ellis, Assemblyman Chris Brown and Kimberly Warrick.

A Message from your Legislator - Assemblyman Chris A. Brown (R)

“The middle-class families and retirees in Atlantic County are going through a tough time right now. In the face of unacceptable unemployment and foreclosure rates, I am happy NJ SHARES is helping middle-class families and retirees in Atlantic County get back on their feet.

NJ SHARES keeps the heat and the lights on for families struggling to make ends meet. 

Recently, my office worked with NJ SHARES to help restore the Communications Lifeline enrollment for a constituent, who is legally deaf. NJ SHARES went the extra mile to help her by coming to my office and meet with her to resolve her problem.

I am grateful for the partnership I have with NJ SHARES because the help they give makes it just a bit easier for the people I represent to make ends meet until they can get back on their feet.”

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Phone: 609-883-1626 | Toll Free: 866-657-4273 | Fax: 609-883-6364 | Email
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New Jersey SHARES
1901 North Olden Avenue Extension, Suite 1A | Ewing, NJ 08618
Phone: 609-883-1626 | Toll Free: 866-657-4273 | Fax: 609-883-6364 | Email
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