About Us

Mission

We are a policy, education and advocacy organization dedicated to serving the Asian American community, especially for lower-income and disadvantaged populations, and to build understanding among all of New Jersey’s diverse communities.

Background

The Garden State is home to the third highest (10.4%) Asian American population of any state, following only Hawaii and California. Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial group in New Jersey (95% increase from 2000-2017). Despite the growing significance of Asian Americans in NJ, the community is the least studied and understood racial group among NJ’s civic leaders, policy makers and general public.  Misconceptions and stereotypes of the Asian American community are prevalent in mainstream media and culture, in our public schools and court rooms, on the factory floor and shipyards and the numerous Main Streets that make up the 565 municipalities of our state.

Established in 2018, Jersey Promise aims to identify the top policy priorities that would advance the well-being of the Asian American community in NJ, in particular the needs of our most vulnerable members.  We also believe it is critically important that our advocacy promote understanding across racial groups and bring all NJ communities together.

Who We Are

Board of Trustees

Ronald Chen is a Co-Founder of Jersey Promise and University Professor, Distinguished Professor of Law and Judge Leonard Garth Scholar at Rutgers Law School. He was Dean of the School of Law-Newark and former Public Advocate of New Jersey.

Jun Choi is a Co-Founder of Jersey Promise and former Mayor of Edison.  He is currently a Principal at Menlo Realty Ventures, a commercial real estate investment firm, and Co-Chair of the NJ Committee of the Regional Plan Association.

Khyati Joshi is a Co-Founder of Jersey Promise and Professor of Education at Fairleigh Dickinson University.  She is the author and co-editor of several books on race and religion in America, Asian American Studies and Social Justice Education.  She also frequently consults in the area of diversity and inclusion.

Richard Sun is a Co-Founder of Jersey Promise. He is currently a student at Harvard Law School. Previously, Richard served as Councilman At-Large (2016 – 2018) in Summit and as a consultant at McKinsey & Company.

Staff

Maneesha Kelkar is the Executive Director of Jersey Promise and the former Executive Director of Manavi, serving South Asian American women affected by gender-based violence. Trained as an economist, she has held positions at social justice organizations, corporations, and the World Bank, and served on numerous statewide committees, including the NJ Governor’s Commission on New Americans.