Kingsway Leaning Center was recently named the winner of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association’s (NJBIA) Big Shot campaign, winning $15,000 of capital plus consulting services to take the special education services company to the next level. Specifically, the non-profit group, which assists 175 children ages 3-21, will use the money to create an adult program.
“There are thousands of individuals waiting for adult services in the state,” said Christine Robinson, CEO of Kingsway. “However, with our current two facilities, we don’t have space for this new program.”
The need for the program was evident in the original video Kingsway submitted to the Big Shot Campaign, which revealed how adult students have no place to go, no structure in their lives, after they graduate the secondary program at the age of 21.
The center currently receives students from 60 sending districts from as far north as Mercer County to as far south as Cumberland County, and as far west as Philadelphia to the Jersey shore. It operates just two facilities: a 50,000-square-foot site in Haddonfield and a 38,000-square-foot site in Moorestown. The center hopes to expand with the acquisition of a 73,000-square-foot location in Voorhees.
The Haddonfield center currently houses the program for 3- to 14-year-olds, and the Moorestown location houses the secondary program for 15- to 21-year-olds. Robinson explains that the center has been in its Haddonfield center for some 15 years, but “we’ve reached the point where it is not functional and supportive for our population.”
If the Voorhees acquisition takes place, the secondary program and the new adult program will be housed at the new location and the elementary program will move from Haddonfield to Moorestown.
Michele Siekerka, president and CEO of NJBIA, congratulated Kingsway for being chosen among 40 videos that were submitted during the Big Shot Campaign. “Just as NJBIA strives to offer unique products and services to its members, Kingsway does amazing work meeting the needs of children and their families. We hope it is able to use the money and consultations to take the business to the next level,” she said.
After receiving the $15,000 check, a day of consulting services commenced at NJBIA headquarters, provided by experts who are also NJBIA members. They included: Laura L. DiTommaso, of Smolin Lupin & Co.; Thomas Foschino, of Arch Insurance; Sandra Seastream, of Direct Energy; Angelo Mendola, of Priority Payments Local; Harvey Mishkin, of Association Master Trust; Jeffrey J. Corradino, of Jackson Lewis; Leon Grassi, of The DSM Group; Mike Luzio, of the LVE Group; and Sivaraman Anbarasan, of the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development.
Commenting on the discussions, Robinson said, “We began talking more globally in terms of Kingsway’s goals and challenges. I was impressed by the panelists’ breadth of knowledge. The session was very constructive and we are excited about the fact that a lot of the panelists have scheduled follow-up meetings with us to provide additional services.”
For the Big Shot campaign, NJBIA teamed up with Luzio to attract contest participants and spread the word about NJBIA’s valuable toolbox of member services.
Each finalist collaborated with Luzio to create another video about their businesses. A panel of NJBIA member business owners – not competing in the contest – judged the videos of the three finalists and selected Kingsway Learning Center as the grand prize winner.
“I was really struck by the tremendous work that Kingsway does for children and their families,” said Luzio. “Kingsway is a tremendous asset to the communities it serves, and now it’s time for Kingsway to grow the business with the prizes it earned in the contest. I can’t wait to track the progress.”
To read more articles in New Jersey Business magazine, visit: www.njbmagazine.com