Camden Finds Strength in Its Partners

The Camden SMART initiative knows that the smartest way to reach its goals — a cleaner, happier environment — is by drawing on the strength and expertise of partners

camden SMART garden
If you are from the City of Camden, you have probably heard of the Camden Collaborative Initiative, better known as the CCI. But did you know that the CCI has over 70 partners that cover the entire state of New Jersey?

About the CCI

The CCI is a solutions-oriented partnership between government, nonprofit, private, and community-based agencies working to implement innovative strategies to improve the environment and quality of life for Camden’s residents. The partnership’s work falls into seven working groups: Air, Camden SMART (Stormwater Management and Resource Training), Environmental Education, Get Healthy Camden (healthy eating and active living), Green Team, Land & Brownfields, and Waste & Recycling.

Although the Camden SMART Initiative predates the CCI, it has benefited immensely from the services and strong family of partnerships the CCI provides.

Camden SMART Initiative strives to engage the community in maintaining clean water systems, developing stormwater runoff solutions, and preserving a happy environment. By doing so, they are not only helping Camden residents, but also ultimately making Camden a more adaptable, healthier place for future generations. According to Caroline Gray, project manager at the SMART Initiative, “The CCI has really transformed the way Camden SMART thinks about their mission. Without the CCI, we wouldn’t be able to address all aspects of our goals in solving local environmental issues.”

To learn more about the Camden Collaborative Initiative, click here.

Camden SMART and Aetna Foundation

Another vital Camden SMART partner is the Aetna Foundation and the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge (HCCC). The challenge, a national competition sponsored by Aetna Foundation, the National Association of Counties, and the American Public Health Association, empowers cities and counties throughout the United States to make a positive health impact in their communities. Camden SMART was selected to compete in the challenge in 2016 and was recently recognized for their tremendous work with a Spotlight Award and an additional $25,000 to further support their program.

To learn more about the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge, click here.

SMART partners

The Camden SMART Steering Committee includes the City of Camden, Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority, Coopers Ferry Partnership, Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program, New Jersey Tree Foundation, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Each partner plays a vital role in helping Camden SMART to achieve its mission. The City of Camden, under the leadership of Mayor Francisco “Frank” Moran, provides political support of the initiative and assists with identification of sewer separation priorities. The Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority (CCMUA) is responsible for the treatment of sewage discharge and wastewater. As a Camden SMART partner, CCMUA assists with project coordination and implementation, as well as the identification of potential funding for the initiative.

Coopers Ferry Partnership supports Camden SMART by providing backbone support by facilitating and coordinating stakeholder and community meetings and helping with the overall framework of the programs, including job training and resident education. Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program (RCE) contributes to SMART by designing green infrastructure projects and provides technical assistance and job training to local organizations and contractors for green infrastructure project implementation and maintenance.

The New Jersey Tree Foundation (NJTF) helps the Camden SMART Initiative manage stormwater by planting trees to absorb water and beautify the parks. Finally, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has pledged to offer institutional support for the SMART Initiative in efforts to eliminate environmental hazards in the City of Camden.

To learn more about Camden SMART Initiative’s partners, click here.

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