About Us

Mission

We are a policy, education and advocacy organization dedicated to improve awareness and knowledge of the Asian American community’s experience in New Jersey, and to build understanding among all of New Jersey’s diverse communities.

History

The Garden State is home to the third highest (9.7%) Asian American population of any state, following only Hawaii and California. The Asian American population is the fastest growing racial group in New Jersey (52% from 2000-2010). Despite the growing significance of Asian Americans in NJ, the community is the least studied and understood racial group among  NJ’s civic leaders and policy makers, and misconceptions about us in mainstream media and culture are common.

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 its 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
Ron Chen

Distinguished Professor of Law, Rutgers Law School

Former Co-Dean, Rutgers Law School; Former Public Advocate, New Jersey

Jun Choi

CEO, Menlo Realty Ventures

Former Mayor, Edison

Khyati Joshi

Professor of Education, Fairleigh Dickinson University

Richard Sun

NJ Committee Member, Regional Plan Association

Former Councilman-At-Large, Summit; Student, Harvard Law School

Staff
Maneesha Kelkar

Executive Director

Maneesha Kelkar is the former Executive Director of Manavi, the pioneering women’s rights organization in the US committed to ending gender based violence. Prior to that, she held management positions at various corporations, taught Economics and consulted for the World Bank.

Maneesha has served on the NJ Governor’s Commission on New Americans, established to integrate the immigrant population in NJ; the Public Policy Committee of the New Jersey Immigration Policy Network; the Prevention and Public Education Committee of the NJ Governor’s Council against Sexual Violence; and the NJ Advisory Committee for SAALT. Maneesha has been an invited speaker at Universities, Social justice events, Conferences, Policy Summits, the World Bank, UNIFEM and the UN. She has testified at events from Blue Ribbon panels to Appropriations Hearings on Capitol Hill. She is an ongoing grant reviewer for the US Department of Justice.

Maneesha graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Master’s degree in Economic Development from American University, Washington, D.C.