Sparta residents honored as leaders


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  • Kelly Bonventre




  • Jennifer Passerini




  • Brian Maher




— Three Sparta residents, Kelly Bonventre, Brian Maher and Jennifer Passerini were inducted as Fellows of the Lead NJ (LNJ) Class of 2017. The ceremony took place on December 8, 2016, at Stockton University in Galloway Township, NJ.

Kelly Bonventre is the Foundation Programs Coordinator at NJ Sharing Network, the federally designated organ procurement organization for the state of New Jersey. In her role, Bonventre works with and supports transplant recipients and donor families. She also coordinates cultivation and outreach programs and events, manages the Foundation’s Family Funds and assists with major Foundation events.

Prior to joining NJ Sharing Network in October of 2015, Bonventre served as Director of Programs and Annual Events from 2007 to 2015 at Pass It Along, a nonprofit agency that promotes and develops youth volunteerism and leadership. During her tenure at Pass It Along, the agency received the Governor’s Jefferson Award for Outstanding Youth Volunteer Program. Recipients of this prestigious award are recognized for demonstrating unique vision, dedication and tenacity of heroic proportion and serve as an inspiration to others.

Brian Maher is Vice President of Career Services at Berkeley College. Maher is responsible for providing leadership, vision and support to the Career Services staff at eight Berkeley College campuses and Berkeley College Online®. He was the Berkeley College Athletic Director for five years prior to this appointment, during which time he expanded the number of athletic programs available to students from two to thirteen, led the College’s membership into the United States Collegiate Athletic Association and secured six conference championships.

Maher has also served as Director of Student Development and Campus Life at the Woodland Park campus and as Director of Alumni Relations. Before joining Berkeley College, he was the Marketing Coordinator for Bogen Communications, Inc., and a Classified Sales Representative at the New York Daily News, LP.

Jennifer Passerini currently serves as the Development Director for the Camp Nejeda Foundation. Passerini is responsible for raising $650,000 in annual charitable support to operate Camp Nejeda, one of just five nonprofit camps nationwide dedicated to children with type 1 diabetes. Founded in 1958, the 72 acre camp in Stillwater, NJ serves nearly 500 campers from across the mid-Atlantic region each year. Since joining the Camp Nejeda Foundation in 2007, Passerini has led successful efforts to increase corporate, foundation and individual support for Camp Nejeda’s unique programs, including securing the largest philanthropic grant ever made to a US nonprofit camp.

Previously, Passerini was the Development Director at Saint Barnabas Medical Center and also has held development roles at New Jersey Network, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania and The Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies. Her volunteer work includes serving as a founding trustee of the Sparta Education Foundation and past co-chair of the award-winning Youth in Philanthropy Program developed by the NJ Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

LNJ opens challenging possibilities to a highly select group of Fellows who learn cutting edge issues shaping our lives, link directly with talented leaders who make improvements around New Jersey and lead as champions of their own cherished ideas and values. LNJ develops well-informed leaders, known as Fellows, who are prepared to cross boundaries across sectors, work effectively with people of all backgrounds and find common ground with those who may think differently about issues. "We're so pleased to have Kelly Bonventre, Brian Maher and Jennifer Passerini join us as we embark on our 2017 class of LNJ Fellows. 2017 stands to be a seminal year, as together we face New Jersey's opportunities and challenges as LNJ itself enters its fourth decade of service." said Mark Murphy, President of LNJ. LNJ's network of more than 1,500 Fellows is our state’s most valuable resource for professional connections and community service. This year’s LNJ class consists of 50 New Jersey residents with varied backgrounds from different parts of the state. Starting in January the program will meet monthly throughout the year and will end with a graduation ceremony in December of 2017.





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