Last year during TAPinto Franklin Township's inaugural month we ran a series called "Meet The Leaders.” Based on positive feedback from readers and leaders in the community the series has been brought back.
The objective is to provide readers an opportunity to hear from Franklin Township’s leaders in government, public safety, education, houses of worship and other areas, regarding Franklin Township’s present and future outlook.
Each participant was asked to share a little information about their background and personal life. Each leader was presented with the same core questions which will be published unedited.
TAPinto Franklin Township’s second leader to be spotlighted is Councilwoman At-Large Kimberly Francois.
Francois was born and raised in Pittsburg, PA where most of her family still resides. She has lived in Franklin Township for more than 25 years. Francois started her career as a switching and facilities engineer in New York City and she still commutes to the city every day working as a consultant.
Francois first became a community leader as the vice president of the New Brunswick Chapter of the NAACP and chair of the Legal Redress Committee. She also served as NAACP chair of the Criminal Justice Committee.
Francois later served on First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens' Community Concerns Committee which provided free legal counseling, assistance with educational and social services.
She is also a former two-term mayor of Franklin Township and two-term deputy mayor.
"I was already actively involved in the community," Francois said. "Politics became a larger platform to give back to and serve the community."
Francois provided TAPinto Franklin Township the following information during a question-answer session:
Question: What initiative did you start in 2017, that you are most proud of?
Answer: Through my stewardship, the Township bought 429 Lewis St from the Somerset Community Action Program (SCAP) and demolished the building to build a Youth Center in that location. In 2017 we had a few Franklin Youth Center (FYC) Community and Youth Planning forums to solicit input and feedback to complete the needs assessment on the Youth Center and solidify architectural design requirements.
Question: What is your main objective for 2018?
Answer: Educate the Community on the Youth Center buildout and prepare for breaking ground for construction in 2019. Also, need to start marketing with Community and Youth Key Stakeholders to prepare for Programs that will be housed out of the FYC building
Question: Do you have a specific project you feel the community should know about?
Answer: Besides building of the Franklin Youth Center, the Township should be aware of the Economic Development initiatives we are planning for Marketing and revitalizing the Hamilton St Business District and the Davidson Avenue area as a Technology Center.
Question: Are you involved with any youth groups for the community that you would like to share?
Answer: I am the Founder and Leader of the Franklin Youth Initiative (FYI) which has provided youth services and programs such as the FYI Career and Job Expo, the FYI Teen Drop-In Center at the Franklin Middle School, and the FYI Police Academy for the past ten years. I spearheaded the FYI program to prevent Gang violence in Franklin Township I have also secured Investors Bank as the FYI Corporate Sponsor and has raised over $90K in grant funding.
Question: What do you feel will be Franklin Township’s biggest challenge this year? Do you have recommendations on how to help solve it?
Answer: To continue to attract Business ratables that will assist in stabilizing our tax base. We would also like to see more Restaurants in Franklin.
Question: What do you do in your spare time?
Answer: I play the Piano, am a member of a Book Club, I love to cook, travel, and go running..
Question: Five words that describe Franklin Township are?
Answer: Diversity, inclusive, community, pride, open space
Francois has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Harvard University, a Master of Science in Project Management from George Washington University, and Lean Six Sigma and Green Belt Certifications.
She is an IT Senior Project Management Consultant in the Health Care Industry, a Consulting Services Business Owner, and also has extensive professional experience in operations, program management, and network planning and engineering in the Financial Services, and Telecommunications industries.
Francois is the Vice Chair of the Franklin Township Redevelopment Agency, which is responsible for assisting the Township of Franklin in the revitalization of the Renaissance Redevelopment Area.
Francois is the Founder and Leader of the Franklin Youth Initiative (FYI) which has provided youth services and programs such as the FYI Career and Job Expo, the FYI Teen Drop-In Center at the Franklin Middle School, and the FYI Police Academy for the past 10 years.
She spearheaded the FYI program to prevent Gang violence in Franklin Township. She has secured Investors Bank as the FYI Corporate Sponsor and has raised over $90,000 in grant funding.
Kimberly’s vision for the Township is to build a Franklin Youth Center. Francois is on the Sisters Network Professional Advisory Board, Youth Services Commission, Council Liaison to the Board of Education, and President of the Somerset County Action Program (SCAP) Board of Directors.
She has served on the Planning Board, Rent Leveling Board, Sewage Authority, and the Human Relations Commission. Included in her many accomplishments, Francois is particularly proud of her work to build the Senior Community Center, and her Mayoral legacy for the creation of the Franklin Township Teen Recreation Program, Redevelopment Affordable Housing, and Economic Development initiatives.
TAPinto Franklin Township is independently owned and operated by Malik A. Lyons FHS Class of 93’ Graduate.
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