The NextGen Giving Circle of the Princeton Area Community Foundation, comprised of young philanthropists, has awarded a total of $25,000 in grants to three local nonprofits, including to WeMake: Autism at Work in Hopewell Township.

Most NextGen members are under the age of 40, and they pool their donations to help make a bigger impact in our region. Since its founding, the Giving Circle has awarded a total of $132,500 in grants to 17 nonprofits in the region.

The Giving Circle, which is hosted by the Community Foundation, was created in 2017 by Jeremy Perlman, 34, of Lawrenceville, who wanted to help his generation understand how they could make an impact in their communities.

By participating in the Giving Circle, members can make monthly donations, a practice to which Perlman’s generation is accustomed because of subscriptions services, such as Netflix or Spotify. With assistance from Community Foundation staff, the Giving Circle members meet annually to recommend grant awards.   

“The NextGen Giving Circle gives Millennials and Gen Z an opportunity to learn how they can use their charitable dollars to make an impact in our region,” said Perlman. “Because of the collective generosity of the members of our Giving Circle, we have been able to provide support to these three nonprofits, which are among those doing terrific work in our region.” 

This year, grants were awarded to WE MAKE: Autism at Work, Homeworks Trenton, and Womanspace.

WE MAKE: Autism At Work was awarded a $5,000 grant to help at least 50 people with an autism or autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. The enrichment program helps young adults develop skills and experience necessary to handle mental health challenges and build independence so they can obtain a livable wage job. 

Homeworks Trenton in Trenton received a $10,000 grant for a mental health and social-emotional wellness initiative at its program for high school girls from the city. The after-school residential model increases scholars’ school attendance, grades, social-emotional skills, and self-confidence. This grant will help fund a mental health counselor’s work, holding bi-weekly group therapy sessions, and will help the organization expand the initiative to include individual therapy sessions.

Womanspace in Lawrence received a $10,000 grant for its Pathways to Security Match Savings Program for Survivors of Domestic Violence. The new program aims to enable survivors of domestic violence to save for living expenses needed to move into their own homes. Participants save money that’s held in an escrow account while they attend financial education classes, set a personal budget and create a savings plan. When they “graduate” from one of the Transitional Housing Programs, they gain access to their saved funds, along with a 1:1 dollar match, up to $2,000 from Womanspace.

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