Page 11 - January 19, 2021
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{ 10 }  SNJ Today  |  JANUARY 19, 2022                                                                           JANUARY 19, 2022  |  SNJToday.com   { 11 }
             COMMENTARY


        Active Listening                                          ...and how a family foundation


                                                                  impacted a region.

                                                                                           Richelle Todd-Yamoah

           ctive listening is one of the most   has seen its fair share of     of Atlantic, Cumberland, Gloucester, and   Foundation responded to the needs of the
           effective communication tools we   growth accompanied at            Salem. Through active listening, the Sykes   local economy. Small businesses experi-
     Ahave. To actively listen requires not   times by pure devasta-           were able to learn what the local communi-  enced hardship as big-box stores moved in
     only to hear but to respond in ways that   tion.                          ties needed to thrive. This knowledge then   and changed the competition. Community
     assure others are heard. That form of active   Families and busi-         became the basis of the Foundation’s phil-  members recognized that, while invest-
     listening is exactly the approach Frances   nesses alike have fled        anthropic giving in the region, which ulti-  ing in transportation and families was
     and Donald Sykes took back in 1992 when   the area in search of           mately funded 21-one collaborative efforts   extremely important, the system would
     they decided to invest family resources to   more lucrative oppor-        comprised of 123 individual agencies.  remain weak without investing in econom-
     create the Pascale Sykes Foundation. Their   tunities in more urban environments.   The Whole Family Approach: The   ic development, too.
     intention was to effect change by being   Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the   driving, cornerstone interest for the Pascale   Through a creative partnership with
     bold, “out of the box” thinkers, investing in   region had been experiencing rising unem-  Sykes Foundation is families. Recognizing   New Jersey Community Capital, a New
     the lives of communities, those in need, and   ployment rates, negative educational out-  families as holistic entities, the Foundation   Jersey-based community development
     those with dreams and goals of success.  comes for children, and closing businesses.  reinforced its commitment to strengthen-  financial institution, Thrive South Jersey
        The southern region of New Jersey is   The problems of southern New Jersey   ing families by formalizing what is now   was created. It provided resources to help
     known for being rural. The area boasts   spoke to the Sykes family, and through a   known as the “Whole Family Approach.”   small businesses that would not otherwise
     beautiful, sprawling green farmland. The   community-led approach, they decided   This approach became the flagship pro-  qualify for traditional loans obtain funding
     eight-county region sandwiched between   not only to listen, but to act. In 2010 they   gram of the Foundation—first in southern   for the development or expansion of their
     the city of Philadelphia to the west and   brought together local residents, political   New Jersey, and eventually expanding to   businesses—often at lower interest rates
     the Atlantic Ocean to the east is home to a   figures, clergy, educators, nonprofit leaders,   Jersey City and Bronx, New York.  than commercial lenders can provide. To
     diverse racial and socio-economic popula-  and business owners to discuss the most   The Whole Family Approach is invest-  date, this program has supported 109 small
     tion. Over the past few decades, the region   pressing needs of the four-county area   ing in and supporting collaborative part-  business in Salem, Gloucester, Atlantic, and
                                                                               ners who work with adults and children so   Cumberland counties.
                                                                                                                      Giving While Living: In December
       Your Comfort Is Our Business
       Y  our C       omf      ort Is Our Busines                      s       that the needs of the entire family can be   of 2022, the Pascale Sykes Foundation
                                                                               served. The approach recognizes that pre-
                                                                               vention, rather than crisis management, is
                                                                               key, and works across various sectors, from   will close its doors after having invested
                                                                                                                   more than $60 million since its inception.
                                               Heating &                       schools to foster care, community develop-  Countless families have benefited from the
                                               Air Conditioning                ment, and health.                   Foundation’s investment. Communities in
                                                                                 Public transportation was one of the   the region have flourished thanks to the
                                               We offer comprehensive HVAC     greatest needs expressed during the initial   work of the Foundation, local partners, and
                                               system installation, repairs &   listening sessions, as community members   invested community members.
                                               maintenance                     agreed that transportation is key to provid-  The active listening approach to phi-
                                                                               ing residents with access to employment   lanthropy taken by the Pascale Sykes
                                               Plumbing Services               opportunities and commerce.         Foundation allowed them to hear from the

                                               Installation and repairs          And so a private-public partnership   community and then respond in ways that
                                               Faucets, sinks & disposers      was formed. Through the collaborative   truly helped. Of this, we are most proud.
                                               Water heaters, toilets & fixtures  efforts of The Pascale Sykes Foundation,   When 2022 comes to a close, the Sykes
                                                                               New Jersey Transit, and several nonprofit   Foundation will sunset, having made its
                 • Residential &               10% Military &                  agencies, public transit was significantly   investments in the region and proud of the
             Commercial Services               Senior Discount                 expanded in the region. Since this was not   work it was able to do. The Foundation’s
          • 24/7 Emergency Service                                             an area in which the Foundation had any   goal has been to support the region and
                                                                               expertise, they entrusted the process to
                                                                                                                   make a significant impact for a period of
          • Over 25 years experience          Quality HVAC & Plumbing          the transit professionals. The goal was not   time—not to establish itself as a permanent
                                                Services Since 2009
                                                CALL TODAY!                    to reinvent the wheel, but to partner with   fixture. We hope that others will step in to
                                                                                                                   support the region and that other founda-
                                                                               those who knew how to solve the problem,
                                            (856) 279-2670                     and provide the resources to make it fea-  tions and philanthropists can learn from
                                                                                                                   the successes that the Sykes Foundation
                                                                               sible.
                                                                                 Today, the Pascale Sykes Foundation   has seen in southern New Jersey. n
                                           49 Remsterville Rd., Woodstown NJ   supports four shuttles in three counties,
                                                 NJ Contractor License # 13VH07463200  offering low- to no-cost transportation   Richelle Todd-Yamoah is the vice
                                                   NJHVAC License # 19HC00510900  around the region.               president of programs and operations at the
                                               CWServicesLLCNJ.com               Investing in Businesses: Finally, the   NJ-based Pascale Sykes Foundation.
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