Atlantic City, NJ (October 1, 2020) – In keeping with its commitment to help bolster and expand economic opportunities in New Jersey, Ørsted, is pleased to announce the names of the volunteer board of trustees assigned to oversee the Pro-NJ Grantor Trust fund. Attorney Beverly McCall of  Ocean City will serve as board chair. Belinda Manning, of Pleasantville, a retired organizational development professional and community volunteer/activist, and Lori Pepenella, of Barnegat, the CEO of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, comprise the founding trust members. Additional community-based Advisory Committee members will be named to support the mission of the Trust.  

The Pro-NJ Grantor Trust is a $15 million fund established by Ørsted following the selection of the company’s Ocean Wind project by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities in June 2019. At 1,100 MW, Ocean Wind will be the first commercial-scale offshore wind project in New Jersey and will provide clean energy for 500,000 New Jersey homes.

The Trust, which will be formally launched this fall, will offer New Jersey-based small, women-owned and minority owned businesses support in re-tooling their businesses to enter the offshore wind industry. It will also provide funding for infrastructure resiliency improvements to New Jersey shore communities. 

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“The announcement of the board of trustees represents a significant step in launching the Pro-NJ Grantor Trust,” said Thomas Brostrøm, CEO of Ørsted North America, Offshore. “Beverly, Belinda and Lori are highly-respected individuals who bring a blend of business acumen, community involvement and the entrepreneurial spirit needed to develop and introduce the Trust to interested parties in New Jersey.”

The trustees are meeting regularly to oversee the development of the business plan and the building of a website, that when complete, will signal the formal announcement of the application process and availability of funds for 2020.

Members in brief

Beverly McCall, of Ocean City, will serve as chair of the Trust. As an attorney in Cape May County and of counsel to the Hornstine Law Group, McCall has been representing businesses and individuals in New Jersey for more than three decades. Her law practice includes family law, bankruptcy, probate, municipal court, domestic violence, real estate matters, corporate law, civil and criminal cases. Her bar admissions include New Jersey, the District Court of New Jersey, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.

Currently serving a Governor-appointed three-year term as the Housing Authority Commissioner for Ocean City, McCall has served as past chair of the Cape May County Advisory Commission to the Freeholders on the Status of Women, past president of the Board of Directors of Jersey Shore Big Brothers Big Sisters (currently Big Brothers Big Sisters of Coastal & Northern New Jersey) and as a former Moot Court Judge for Delaware Law School and the New Jersey School Boards Association. She has also previously served on the Board of Trustees for Cape Assist, and as a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the NJ Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Family Practice.

Belinda Manning, of Pleasantville, is a retired organizational development professional and a life-long community volunteer and activist. She spent 17 years as an internal consultant in the private sector responsible for the design and delivery of diversity initiatives, management training programs and strategic and goal-setting processes. She spent another five years as President and Chief Executive Officer of Phoenix Rising, Inc., a management consulting firm providing services in both the public and private sector nationwide.

As a community volunteer, Manning has served as a commissioner and chair of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission of the State of New Jersey, chair of the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of the South Jersey Pines Council (currently the Girls Scouts of Central & Southern New Jersey), president of the Pleasantville School Board of Education and now serves on various local art committees. She is a graduate of Leadership New Jersey and currently serves on the Executive Board of The Leadership Studio as well as on various local art committees. Although she is retired, Manning continues to provide pro-bono assistance to non-profit organizations within the community.

Lori Pepenella, of Barnegat, is CEO of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce and has dedicated her career to advancing economic development and the positive promotion of small business and non-profit organizations within the state. She was the first woman in New Jersey to earn the designation of Certified Destination Management Executive from Purdue University with her thesis “Complexities of Marketing the Jersey Shore,” published by DMAI for their international membership. Pepenella is an executive board member for the New Jersey Tourism Industry Association, a commissioner for the Ocean County Culture & Heritage Commission and a member of the Ocean County Business & Tourism Advisory. She has served as a core committee member for the Governor’s Conference for Tourism since 2009 and presided as Statewide President of NJ Destination Marketing Organizations from 2010-2014.

Additionally, Pepenella served on the charter board for Ocean County Military Support Committee and was named to the Ocean County College 100 Women Campaign. She is a featured lecturer and mentor for both the Philadelphia and New York Non-Profit Leadership Summits, Stockton University Jersey ShoreCast, NJ Conference on Tourism, Jersey Arts Marketers and Destination International Annual Convention; contributing writer to NJ League of Municipalities Magazine; and host of LBI Region Report, a weekly radio show. She works on various economic development projects and serves on the Stakeholder Advisory Board of the NJ Sea Grant Consortium.

Additional information on the Ocean Wind Pro-NJ Grantor Trust, including the website’s launch and details on the application process, are expected in October.