SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Impact100 Essex awarded its third annual grant to Meeting Essential Needs with Dignity (MEND), a network of 20 food pantries throughout Essex County, at its annual meeting held at Seton Hall University. MEND received a $120,000 grant that will enable the nonprofit to source, store and transport fresh produce to its food pantry network. Three other nonprofits were finalists for the award, each will receive a $10,000 leverage grant to support their work in Essex County. 

Robin Peacock, Executive Director at MEND received the award, "With this grant, MEND will now be able to deliver substantially more fresh and healthy food to pantries and people living with the highest food insecurity rates in New Jersey. We are thrilled to have the funds to build a fresh food hub that will streamline and innovate the way families, children, and individuals in our community access the nutritious food they need.”

“It’s gratifying to award our third grant to MEND and know the funds will benefit entire families in Essex County” said Mayuri Chandra, co-head of the grants' committee of Impact100 Essex. “We’re also very gratified that our membership grew in 2019, so we are able to award the other finalists a leverage grant. All of these nonprofits do very important and impactful work in Essex County. They all put forth inspiring and transformational project proposals. The Impact100 Essex membership is extremely pleased that we are able to support all of these organizations” added Kate Shoemaker, co-head of the grants' committee.  The three nonprofits in receipt of the $10,000 leverage grants are Hetrick-Martin Institute of New Jersey (HMI-NJ), Imagine: A Center for Coping with Loss and Volunteer Lawyers for Justice (VLJ).

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Margo Greenfield, co-convener of Impact100 Essex, added, “We’re proud that in 3 years we’ve awarded $400,000 to leverage the ambitions of local nonprofits dreaming big and ready to launch impact programs. Our members are dedicated to this work and our goal continues to inspire more women to join our mission.” 

The Impact100 Essex grant is funded by gifts of $1,000 per member, per year. The organization holds information sessions throughout the winter and spring to establish the grant funding for the year. For more information and to receive details on upcoming sessions visit or email

Impact100 Essex:

Impact100 Essex is a philanthropic, collective giving group funded by women in Essex County. Impact100 Essex enables members to amplify their giving and empower solutions for the community. Each year, Impact100 Essex awards a minimum grant of $100,000 to support a transformational local project proposed by a nonprofit organization operating in Essex County.  For more information about Impact100 Essex and to find out how you can join, go to:

Meeting Essential Needs with Dignity (MEND):

MEND is a hunger relief network serving Essex County, NJ. The organization focuses on alleviating hunger and addressing its root causes by supporting a network of 20 food pantries. MEND provides its pantries with fresh and healthy food, funds, a network of volunteers, and a collaborative forum for pantry managers to connect and work together on broader hunger- and poverty-related issues. MEND pantries serve over 134,000 people annually, nearly 40% of whom are children.