Toms River Mayor Thomas F. Kelaher, will be working together with the community of Toms River and Ocean County to make it the best place to live in New Jersey by creating a culture where access to and education around healthy positive behaviors and choices are the norm. Working in conjunction with the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation, the applicant organization, Mayor Kelaher and The Foundation have applied for a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to Build a Culture of Health in New Jersey as part of the RWJF New Jersey Health Initiatives Program, established nearly 30 years ago.
Mayor Kelaher and the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation, which is managing the project, have put together The Toms River Family Support and Health Coalition in hopes of securing the grant money to address the area’s priority health issues. If selected as grant recipients, the Coalition will begin its task of tackling obesity, hunger, substance abuse, senior Isolation and other top heath concerns facing our town and county. The Coalition is made up of partners ranging from prevention to intervention, encompassing leaders from the public health, business, education, philanthropy, non profit, community development, healthcare and government sectors of our community.
As part of the RWJF New Jersey Health Initiatives Program, if successful, six individuals from the Coalition will participate in the Boundary Spanning Leadership Institute. This will provide intense training to develop skills and knowledge to work with the Coalition and community to address challenge, align resources, focus on health priorities and implement policies. The Coalition chose Lynette Whiteman, Executive Director of Caregivers of Central New Jersey; Peter Rosario, CEO of Ocean County YMCA; Daniel Regenye, Public Health Coordinator/Health Officer of the Ocean County Department of Health; Debi Heptig, Executive Director of Hope Sheds Light; and Tara Cunningham, Director of Strategic Planning of the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation to participate. In addition, Drs. Gemma MacCarrick and Timothy Brennan were nominated as Coalition Coaches and will also participate in the leadership training.
Our leaders acknowledge the power in working collaboratively to tackle these issues will create a healthy and economically vibrant community. Jeremy Grunin says, “We are very fortunate to be able to collaborate with those who impact each sector of our community. We have created this coalition with confidence that we will be able to move forward and start to tackle the major health care priorities in Toms River and Ocean County.”