The board of trustees of Mercer Street Friends, a Trenton-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing issues of poverty in the city and throughout Mercer County, announced that former NJM Insurance Group CEO Bernie Flynn has been appointed chief executive officer of the longstanding community organization. Flynn retired from New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Group in April 2018 following a 25-year career, including 10 years as chief executive officer at the auto, home and workers compensation insurance company incorporated in the Capital City in 1913.
Following retirement from the corporate sector, Flynn has remained active as chairman emeritus of the Greater Trenton economic development organization, trustee of the Princeton Area Community Foundation and, as of December 2019, a trustee of the Corella & Bertram F. Bonner Foundation, a scholarship and service-oriented family foundation.
Drawn to Mercer Street Friends’ commitment to the community schools model which fosters partnerships among school and community resources – focused on academics, youth development, family support, health and social services, and community development – Mr. Flynn became a volunteer consultant with the desire to support the mission and long term vision of Mercer Street Friends.
“Through my time as a volunteer consultant, I saw firsthand the dedication of staff to those Mercer Street Friends serves and I was inspired. Mercer Street Friends has been making a positive difference in our community for more than half a century and I look forward to leading the organization into its next chapter,” Flynn said. “Food security, mental and physical health care, counseling, social and emotional learning and strong academic support are all critically important to the overall wellness of our children and their families. It is evident that the Community Schools model in Trenton, led by Mercer Street Friends, is a significant part of the solution.”
“The board and staff of Mercer Street Friends are firmly committed to serving those in need in our community. The mission of our organization to address poverty aligns with Bernie’s philanthropic interests,” said Board Chair Dr. Joe Hulihan. “Bernie shares Mercer Street Friends’ belief that removing social and emotional barriers that open the doors to comprehensive academic opportunities for our young people is of primary importance. We are thrilled and grateful that he is willing to take on this leadership responsibility.”
Flynn, as the new chief executive officer, will be supported by executive director Armstead Johnson and deputy executive director Dr. Anniesha Walker as members of his executive leadership team. Flynn will contribute his time to the organization as a full time, unpaid employee and will assume the role immediately.
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