Montclair, NJ – The Essex County Board of Commissioners recently adopted a resolution honoring the Montclair Neighborhood Development Corporation (MNDC) for celebrating their 50th Anniversary of community building and service to the residents of Montclair and the surrounding communities. Due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions, the MNDC held a virtual celebration themed “Our Brothers’ Keeper” on January 18, 2021, commemorating the landmark anniversary. The resolution honoring the MNDC was sponsored by lifelong Montclair resident and Essex County Commissioner At-Large Brendan W. Gill.

The Montclair Neighborhood Development Corporation (MNDC) is a non-profit community-based social service organization that seeks to empower and support disadvantaged individuals, youth and families. Founded in 1969, incorporated on June 1, 1970, MNDC, for the last 50 years, has helped local residents achieve an improved quality of life through training, education and advocacy. The MNDC provides a multitude of services ranging from after school programs and employment readiness training – to financial literacy, homeless prevention and legal assistance.

Essex County Board of County Commissioners: pictured (from left to right, front row) District 2 Commissioner President Wayne Richardson, Commissioner At-Large Romaine Graham, District 3 Commissioner Tyshammie L. Cooper, Commissioner At-Large Patricia Sebold, and Commissioner At-Large Brendan Gill. (From left to right, back row) District 5 Commissioner Vice President Carlos Pomares, District 4 Commissioner Leonard M. Luciano, Commissioner At-Large Rufus I. Johnson, and District 1 Commissioner Robert Mercado. Photo: Glen Frieson

Examples of these programs are – Project Life, an entrepreneurial 10-week program that prepares young people, ages 15-19, for entrance into the workforce; the Summer Oasis Program, a six-week evening summer camp program focusing on education with recreation and cultural awareness components; and the Summer Youth Employment Training Program, which provides on-the-job training to adolescents in the Montclair area with a specific focus on customer service, interviewing, business attire appropriateness, employer expectations, and financial literacy classes.

Lifelong Montclair resident Albert Pelham has been the Executive Director of the MNDC since 2003. Under his stewardship the organization has continued to grow and expand its services. His leadership notwithstanding, he humbly noted the success of the MNDC would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of previous leaders in the community.

“We are standing on the shoulders of leaders like Bobbi Reilly, Charles Williams, Audrey Fletcher, Erwin Stamper and so many others.” Executive Director Pelham stated. “I am honored to follow in their footsteps and do my best to ensure the MNDC remains a tangible resource the residents of Montclair can look to for assistance.”

Commissioner Gill stated, “I am extremely proud of the work the MNDC has done throughout their history. The services they provide have positively impacted individuals and families, and they have uplifted the community as a whole.” He continued, “I congratulate Executive Director Al Pelham, Director of Program Services Elaine Spears, and others at the MNDC who have made a difference in the lives of Montclair residents.”