Taifa Gilmer – Program Director, Camp Truth
Site Director, Camp Truth, Tai Gilmer, joined our team in 2017. Tai attended Rutgers and was in the banking industry for many years, retiring early to be part of her husband’s ministry at Central Church in Ewing NJ. She began as Site Director at Camp Promise and moved to Camp Truth in spring 2018. Tai has worked with children in a church setting for many years and her firm gentleness is a gift to the children and teens at Camp Truth.
Evelyn Hawthorne – Site Director, Camp Grace
Site Director, Camp Grace, Evelyn Hawthorne, known by most as Ms. Hawthorne, is a fixture in the East Trenton Community where she has lived for many years. She retired from the Trenton Public Schools where she was a special education aide for children in grades 1-6. Ms. Hawthorne joined UPT in the fall of 2018 and brings many gifts and skills to the children and teens at Camp Grace.
Georgia Koenig – Volunteer Manager
Georgia spent her childhood in Trenton and graduated from Trenton High School where she met her husband. She loved it then and is still passionate about Trenton! She will gladly share that “Trenton High played an important part in anything that is good about me today.” After leaving Trenton, Georgia attended Ursinus, Temple and Yale. She first became a teacher and later pioneered a path for women in the Information Technology industry.
A lifelong member of Trinity Cathedral, Georgia was instrumental in getting UrbanPromise Trenton established. As Volunteer Coordinator, she is on-site during the AfterSchool Program and Summer Camps and always goes above and beyond to help the children. Georgia personifies what it means to give back to your community.
Michael Lovaglio – Program Director
Program Director, Michael Lovaglio, joined UPT in 2016 on a part time basis and is now a full time staff member. Mr. Lovaglio holds a BA & MA in English and a MDiv in Christian Education. Mr. Lovaglio is also a college professor and teaches one class at Mercer County Community College. He worked at the Harlem’s Children’s Zone, Inc. as an Academic Specialist and College Coordinator. Michael is passionate about teaching children and works with all of our students to encourage a love of learning.
Melissa Mantz – Executive Director
Melissa Mantz, a non-profit professional with over 20 years of experience in non-profit leadership and fundraising management, joined UrbanPromise Trenton as Interim Executive Director in the fall of 2016. Melissa will work closely with our staff and Board of Directors to ensure the continued success of UrbanPromise Trenton. In February 2017, the Board of Directors engaged Melissa the permanent Executive Director. You may contact Melissa via email.
Melissa is a resident of Lambertville, mother of four adult children and a member of Thompson Memorial Presbyterian Church in New Hope, PA.
Eric Martin – Resource Manager
Eric Martin has worked for Urban Promise Trenton since June 2016 and formerly volunteered with the organization. Before moving to New Jersey, Eric helped form the Beacon Resource Center in South Bend, IN. He previously worked as an educator for multiple environmental nonprofits. Eric has a Bachelor of Science from Purdue University and a Master of Nonprofit Administration from the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame.
Eric resides in Lawrenceville, NJ with his wife, daughter, pet dog and pet lizard. He attends 217 Church in Robbinsville, NJ and serves on their Board of Directors as Treasurer.
Elyse Smith – StreetLeader Director
To meet Elyse is to feel the spirit of UrbanPromise come alive! Her enthusiasm and energy will greet you along with her contagious smile. Elyse grew up in Camden, NJ where she began with UrbanPromise as a StreetLeader. She was an honor student at UrbanPromiseAcademy where she was one of the original UrbanTrekkers. She went on to graduate from Bloomfield College where she studied Sociology and Criminal Justice.
Elyse joined the UP Trenton team during our first Summer Camp, and before that she spent a summer in Miami helping to establish their program. After graduating from college, Elyse joined UPTrenton full-time as the Director of Camp Promise AfterSchool and Summer Camp Programs. “I just love the UrbanPromise culture because it builds confidence and leadership skills in a Christian environment.” says Elyse. She is most passionate about Step Dancing as a ministry and has started a dance team in Trenton as a way of sharing this passion with the kids.
Carl Clark — Co-Founder
As one of the original campers at UrbanPromise Camden, Carl knows firsthand the life changing impact of our program. He started as a camper at the age of seven and later became a StreetLeader, thriving despite a difficult home life. He went on to graduate from The College of New Jersey and established a successful career in banking.
However, Carl felt God’s calling in his life to bring the UrbanPromise program to Trenton. After learning of a particularly violent gang crime in Trenton, Carl knew his mission was to provide the children of Trenton with the same opportunity that had made such a positive impact on his life. In 2011, Carl , with the support of area churches launched UrbanPromise Trenton, and served as Executive Director until 2016.
Phyllis Jones — Co-Founder
Phyllis has a passion and a long legacy of giving back to her community. After serving on the Boards of UrbanPromise Ministries and UrbanPromise International, Phyllis realized she shared Carl Clark’s vision of creating an UrbanPromise program in Trenton. Together, Carl and Phyllis created an engaged team of volunteers and found the resources to open UrbanPromise Trenton in 2011.
Phyllis currently serves as CFO to the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey. A lifelong member of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Pennington, Phyllis has served in finance and youth ministries. She and husband Michael have two grown children.