NEWARK, NJ - A  philanthropic group funded by women in Essex County has awarded a $120,000 grant to Schools That Can Newark, an organization that supports career pathways for students.

This is the second annual grant awarded by Impact100 Essex, which encourages women to financially support projects that provide solutions for communities. Each year, Impact100 Essex awards at least $100,000 to support a transforming local project proposed by a nonprofit that operates in the county.

“It’s a great pleasure to award the second Impact100 Essex grant to Schools That Can,” said Helen Mazarakis, co-founder of Impact100 Essex. “Our members were moved by the opportunity to support Newark students in their dreams to thrive professionally. It’s important that Newark youth are well-positioned to succeed as the local economy grows.”

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Schools That Can Newark serves a network of 30 district, charter and independent schools in the city. Some of its programs include a design day, when middle school students work with local businesses and residents to tackle a challenge in Newark.

“This is a transformational grant for us, supporting our career skills program where we work with Newark high schools to expand high-quality, middle-skill career and technical education programs, preparing students for successful careers throughout our region,” said Schools That Can Executive Director Erin Sweeney in a statement.

“Because of this grant, we will hire a career skills manager to build out our program, from a one-school pilot to an expanded multi-school model. We are thrilled!"

Other finalists for the grant included The Community Food Bank of New Jersey’s project to distribute monthly menstrual supplies to low-income women and girls. The NJ Tree Foundation and a project that supports resilience in children and families -- known as Imagine: A Center for Coping with Loss -- were also finalists.

Impact100 Essex is holding members night out on Jan. 30 at Papillon 25 in South Orange from 6 to 8 p.m. Prospective members interested in learning more may attend.

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