This is Valerie Buickerood’s second year as a member of Impact100 SJ and the nonprofit executive couldn’t be more excited or grateful. Valerie is Director of Engagement and Communications at Hopeworks ‘N Camden, where the economic fallout from COVID-19 has been devastating for many families. But Hopeworks is keeping its young people employed through the pandemic. It’s thanks to the organization’s solid financial base, and Hopeworks’ new Camden Capacity Fund which is raising money to provide free professional services to other Camden non-profits that will continue to keep youth employed in their social enterprises.
“It’s this kind of creative thinking that makes Hopeworks such a dynamic organization,” Valerie says “and one of the qualities that won us the admiration of Impact100 SJ.” The Camden non-profit was selected as Impact100 SJ’s first-ever grant recipient in June 2018. Valerie became a member in the fall of that year and has served on four committees: data, communications, education grant review and women and children grant review.
Giving back to others and having groups of girlfriends have always been important to Valerie. Impact100 SJ brings it all together. “Being connected with smart, curious, caring and compassionate women has been a source of encouragement and inspiration for me my whole life,” she explains. “I love being part of this group of women who take philanthropy very seriously and genuinely want to have an impact.”
She believes that Impact100 SJ will be part of her legacy. “I’ve always aspired to give back in a bigger way—to be one of the major donors that nonprofits covet. This enables me to have a larger imprint. I want my daughters to see that you don’t have to have a lot to make a big difference.”
Val is the mother of two adult daughters who are “a real source of pride.” The avid music fan is happily married for almost 37 years and when she’s not working or volunteering loves to travel.