Impact Stories

The ideas and projects that gain fuel or are sparked at our Calls to Collaboration are as diverse and vibrant as the individuals and groups who participate. Click on the headings below to see just a few examples of either new ideas that were born from our Calls to Collaboration or existing early-stage initiatives that took root and found their fuel as a result of our community engagement work.


(Rahway) The “Rahway’s Own” print-media and video interview marketing campaign (with business owners, educators, political figures, artists and athletes) drives tourism and branding for the city of Rahway and was developed as a collaboration between the Mayor’s Office, Rahway Arts District, a local design firm, NJ Transit, and other local organizations.  Read an article about the campaign launch here.  This group launched from the Creative Rahway Call to Collaboration in 2013 and is still meeting monthly.

(Hammonton) Tourism conversations at Creative Hammonton eventually encouraged a developer to purchase an unused church and convert it into a performance space that will initially seat 300 and will seat 1500 by the time it is complete. In addition to that, a second phase of development will include hotel room lodgings.


(Asbury Park) Mayor John Moor launched two new initiatives by the end of the Creative Asbury Park Call to Collaboration in January 2017: 1) a wellness initiative in partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Asbury Park and other community stakeholders to “help the city and its residents commit to a healthy lifestyle” and to help with obtaining grants for the city in the future, and 2) the Asbury Park Youth Council, which was prompted by a breakout session led by several of Asbury Park’s High School students who are now working with the Mayor, members of City Council, and school staff members to bring youth voices into the city’s decision-making processes. Read an Asbury Park Sun article about the launch.

(Trenton) The complete notes from Creative Trenton’s Call to Collaboration were adopted by the new Mayor’s transition team (in May 2014) as a way to inform the new administration about issues of importance to the Trenton community.


(Sussex/Warren/Northern Morris Counties) An outgrowth of Creative Skylands focused on branding and eco-tourism. A group of professionals working in the fields of conservation, creative placemaking, tourism and economic development gained traction on promoting eco-tourism opportunities and within a year of the Call to Collaboration landed a large-scale geotourism project led by National Geographic Maps and the National Parks Conservation Association. One of our key host team members Suzanne Ishee (from the Center for Creative Placemaking), was a part of the team who helped to get the region nominated for this external investment in tourism. The region was selected from a community-based nomination process, which Ishee said was only possible because of the networks and trust that were built during the Creative Skylands convening and their ability to mobilize participation in the geotourism project.

Arts & Culture

(Orange) A long-term, transformative, collaborative partnership in Orange between ValleyArts – a creative placemaking and community arts organization – and HANDS, Inc. – a community development corporation – that has let to multiple projects at the intersection of arts, culture, community development and transportation began during the planning stages of Creative Orange, which was held in 2013.

(Monmouth County) The MoCo Arts Corridor Partnership is a driving force in sustaining Monmouth County’s tourism, arts, and local business industries.  Creative NJ’s two county-wide Calls to Collaboration helped launch this burgeoning initiative whose key partners are Monmouth Arts, NJ Transit, Monmouth County’s Chambers of Commerce, Monmouth County Division of Planning, and several Tourism Councils.  In March 2013, The MoCo Arts Corridor Partnership was cited as a case study in a presentation at the General Session of the United Nations by Bloomfield College’s Center for Creative Placemaking.

Community/Social Sector

(Hammonton) A community gathering to bridge differences: The first Hammonton Posada, a celebration common in Hispanic countries, brought together hundreds of residents of different backgrounds in December 2016 to foster curiosity, openness, tolerance and unity. The celebration, sponsored by the nonprofit Allies in Caring Inc., the NJ Pinelands Commission, and Hammonton MainStreet, among others, included traditional Hispanic Christmas crafts, stories, singing, piñatas and food donated by local businesses.

(Statewide) In early January 2016, Kelly Damon Higgs, the lead team member for NJ Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NJVOAD), reported that NJVOAD developed four working groups, which were born out of the convening and continue the “lively discussions and problem solving which began at the Creative NJVOAD event” with the purpose of building on lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy and other disasters and identifying ways in which New Jersey can be better positioned to respond and recover from future disasters. The working groups focus on construction/rebuilding, disaster case management, donations and volunteer management, and relationship building/advocacy.


(Atlantic City) The AC Youth Council formed during the Creative Atlantic City convening with the goal of bringing together many of the middle school-, high school-, and college-aged youth of Atlantic City to engage with city leaders and officials in discussions regarding their viewpoints for bettering the city.  With coaching from Creative NJ staff, the “SAYit AC Youth Convening” was launched in October 2015 and garnered the attention of Mayor Guardian.