New Jersey SEEDS Honors Philip D. Murphy and Susan B. Present at 5th Annual Leading Change Benefit

New Jersey SEEDS announced today that Philip D. Murphy and Susan B. Present will be honored with the Leading Change Award which recognizes those whose initiative and commitment have enhanced the educational opportunities of young people throughout New Jersey. SEEDS, an educational nonprofit that has been transforming the lives of high-achieving, low-income students for more than two decades, will present the awards at its 5th Annual Leading Change Benefit on April 20, 2016.

Philip D. Murphy is passionate about finding bold and scalable solutions for today’s education challenges and believes that measuring the impact of these solutions should always be through the eyes of a child. Phil co-chaired “Renewing our Schools, Securing our Future: A Task Force on Public Education for the 21st Century” with former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano and Pulitzer Prize-winning Professor Roger Wilkins. Developed as an initiative to examine effective strategies in education, the task force recommended implementing more and better use of learning time; establishing high expectations, voluntary national standards and accountability for all students; engaging highly qualified teachers for every classroom and strong, effective leaders for every school; and connecting schools with families and communities.

In recent years, Phil has dedicated himself to focusing on civic engagement and philanthropy. In 2014, Phil and his wife Tammy founded New Start New Jersey, a “think and do” organization aimed at creating a vibrant, secure and growing middle class in the state. Phil is a strong proponent of strategies that promote access to good jobs: apprenticeship programs to teach skills and connect young people to careers, a network of vocational training schools that work with New Jersey’s employers to teach in-demand workforce skills and free pre-kindergarten for low-income families across the state.

Phil worked for more than 20 years at Goldman Sachs. He has played a central role in New Jersey and national Democratic Party politics and has served his country as ambassador to Germany, appointed by President Barack Obama. Phil is a product of public schools and received a scholarship to attend Harvard College, from which he received his Bachelor’s degree. He earned his Master’s degree from The Wharton School.

Leading Change honoree Susan B. Present served as SEEDS’ Chair of the Board of Trustees from 2012 through 2015. An ardent supporter of educational access, she has spent more than a decade creating opportunities for deserving students across New Jersey.

Susan’s community involvement began as a board member of the South Orange-Maplewood Education Foundation. She became a Trustee of New Jersey SEEDS in 2006, after being introduced to the organization by a successful alumnus. As a member of the SEEDS family, Susan founded Friends of SEEDS, a volunteer group that continues to help support, enhance and enrich the experiences of SEEDS’ scholars, alumni and families. Susan is also involved with Project Morry, a year-round youth development organization that empowers children from underserved communities to envision a positive future.

She is an active parent at The Pingry School, a member of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New Jersey and as an alumna of Tufts University, has participated in the Tufts Alumni Admissions Program.

“I’m delighted to announce that SEEDS will honor Phil Murphy and Susan Present,” says Ronni Denes, President of SEEDS. “Their commitment to economic mobility through education has changed the life opportunities available to literally thousands of students across the state. As this year’s Leading Change honorees, Phil and Susan exemplify the dedication that has allowed SEEDS to transform futures for 24 years.”

New Jersey SEEDS’ Leading Change Benefit will be held at The Park Savoy on Wednesday, April 20, 2016. For additional information or to reserve your table, please contact MarrLa Brown at [email protected] or at 862.227.9142.

About New Jersey SEEDS
Since its inception in 1992, New Jersey SEEDS has provided educational access for highly motivated, low-income students and created a viable path for them to achieve their full potential. SEEDS strives for a world in which young people’s initiative, creativity and intellect can flourish without regard to socioeconomic status. To date, more than 2,100 scholars have benefited from its programs. For more information, visit