Ørsted, the Danish energy company heading New Jersey’s Ocean Wind offshore wind farm project, has created a $15 million trust fund with the goal of ensuring the offshore wind industry in the state is developed in a sustainable and inclusive way.
The Pro-NJ Grantor Trust offers small, women-owned and minority-owned businesses in New Jersey support in reconfiguring their businesses to participate in the developing offshore wind industry. The Trust will also provide funding for infrastructure resiliency improvements critical to the coastal communities in Atlantic, Ocean and Cape May counties.
The first application window for Ørsted’s Pro-NJ Grantor Trust fund begins on Feb. 1 and is dedicated to small, woman-owned and minority-owned businesses. Business owners who fit into those categories may pursue the first step in the process by visiting www.pronjtrust.org and downloading the Request for Expressions of Interest, beginning Feb. 1.
Interested business owners can submit Expressions of Interest (EOI), which will be reviewed by the trustees and members of an advisory committee, and qualified applicants will be invited to submit formal proposals.
The initial window to submit EOIs is Feb. 1 through Feb. 19, and may be extended depending on the number of EOIs received, according to Pro-NJ Grantor Trust. Following the award of funds to small, woman-owned and minority-owned businesses, the trustees will publish a second request for EOI directed toward coastal municipalities and counties in Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May counties.
“As the offshore wind industry grows in the Garden State and beyond, small businesses need the capital and the opportunity to enter into this fast-growing new sector,” says Beverly McCall, Esq., chairperson of the Pro-NJ Grantor Trust. “In the same vein, local towns and counties in Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May counties, undoubtedly will be eager to apply for funds to help them with coastal resiliency projects.”
The following list represents some, but not all the fields the Trust seeks to fund:
The Pro-NJ Grantor Trust is governed by three volunteer trustees. Attorney Beverly McCall of Ocean City serves as board chair along with Belinda Manning, of Pleasantville, a retired organizational development professional and community volunteer/activist, and Lori Pepenella, of Barnegat, the CEO of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce.
“We are thrilled the day has come to launch the Pro-NJ Grantor Trust initiative and I wish to thank Beverly, Belinda and Lori for their entrepreneurial spirit and dedication in creating the founding principles of the fund and for putting their many years in business and community involvement to work for us and for the small businesses and representatives of coastal communities who will be the recipients of these funds,” says David Hardy, CEO of Ørsted Offshore North America. “Ørsted believes that the offshore wind industry is an opportunity not just for developers but for local businesses as well.”
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