A woman who began her career at Elijah’s Promise in 2006 as its development and community relations director has been selected to lead the non-profit food sustainability and social service agency as its third executive director.
Michelle Wilson of East Brunswick 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 annual Chef’s Night and Race Against Hunger, Marylynn Matacera, president of the Board of Trustees, announced in a statement.
Wilson 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, according to the statement.
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 the Community Soup Kitchen, which serves more than 100,000 meals annually; Promise Culinary School, a state-certified cooking and baking program that trains underemployed and unemployed individuals for careers in the food service industry; Promise Catering; and the Promise Community Garden, according to the statement.
“I am honored and humbled to accept this position,” Wilson said in the statement. “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. He has overseen the culinary school and also the organization’s urban agriculture program, written grant proposals and secured a national Kresge Foundation grant for planning and implementing the Mercado Esperanza in New Brunswick, according to the statement.
He 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. 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,” Matacera said in the statement. “We believe she and Anthony will bring energy and innovation to the organization.”