Elijah’s Promise Names New Executive Director

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Elijah’s Promise Names New Executive Director

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Michelle Wilson, who began her career at Elijah’s Promise in 2006 as its development and community relations director, has been named to lead the non-profit food sustainability and social service agency as its third Executive Director, announced Marylynn Matacera, President of the Board of Trustees.

A resident of East Brunswick, Wilson has served as Elijah’s Promise’s Associate Director since 2014, overseeing its Community Kitchen operation on Neilson Street and the organization’s Promise Catering service, and coordinating fundraising activities including the highly successful annual Chef’s Night and Race Against Hunger. She also has overseen its internal personnel programs.

Wilson previously served as statewide coordinator for the Rutgers University Youth Farmstand Project, Director of Educational Programming for the New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC) and held positions in development and education in New Jersey and the Washington, D.C. area. She holds a bachelor’s degree in American studies and master’s in education from Rutgers. She replaces Jim Zullo, who stepped down last year to return to the planning field.

In her role as Executive Director, she will lead an organization with multiple programs and services that use “Food to Change Lives!” They include the Community Kitchen, which serves more than 100,000 meals annually, Promise Culinary School, a state-certified cooking and baking program that trains under-employed and unemployed individuals for careers in the food service industry; Promise Catering which prepares meals for seniors, children, and individuals in recovery throughout New Brunswick and Middlesex County, Let’s Cook! Program which offers free nutritional classes for city residents, and Promise Agriculture which is an expanding network of urban agriculture sites and community gardens in New Brunswick growing food and to empower community.

“I am honored and humbled to accept this position,” Wilson said. “Elijah’s Promise has always been a team and community effort, and I look forward to working together to continue fulfilling our crucial mission of using food to change lives.”

In addition to Wilson’s appointment, the board also announced that Anthony Capece, who currently serves as Planning Director, will become Associate Director! 

Capece joined Elijah’s Promise in 2012 as an AmeriCorps volunteer after earning a Master’s in Sustainability and Food Systems Planning at Rutgers University’s Bloustein School. He has overseen the Promise Culinary School and Promise Agriculture, directed the agency’s grants including securing a national Kresge Foundation FreshLo Grant for planning and implementing the Mercado Esperanza in New Brunswick. Anthony holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies from the SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry.

“We are very pleased that Michelle will lead Elijah’s Promise at this point in our history,” Matacera said. “Her exemplary dedication to the organization, its staff and the community made her the ideal choice to lead us into the future and continue our essential work in promoting food security and social justice, as well as continuing the programs that help our community survive and thrive. We believe that she and Anthony will bring energy and innovation to the organization.”

Founded in 1989 to serve meals to homeless and needy individuals in New Brunswick, Elijah’s Promise is dedicated to harnessing the power of food to end the cycle of poverty in the community. In addition to its Community Kitchen, the organization connects people with needed social services to put them on the road to self-sufficiency. We are excited for the next great chapter of the agency’s leadership and welcome Michelle and Anthony to their new positions!

Media Contact: Sandra Lanman