New Jersey Highlands Coalition


508 Main Street
Boonton, NJ 07005
County: Morris


Ms. Julia M. Somers

Grant Amount


Program Area



Grant Details

For general operating support of education, advocacy, and outreach programs to ensure implementation of the Highlands Regional Master Plan, and to promote protection and stewardship of the region

Organization Background

As the only non-profit organization whose entire focus is on protecting the Highlands, the New Jersey Highlands Coalition plays a pivotal role. Founded in 2005, the Coalition was incorporated in 2006 and received 501(c)(3) status in 2007. Over the past eight years, the Coalition worked closely with the Highlands Council to develop a strong, protective Regional Master Plan (RMP) and established itself as a trusted source of information about the RMP for Highlands municipal officials, planners and residents. We work with many of the 88 Highlands municipalities for full implementation of the RMP, advocate forceful Highlands protection against environmentally damaging development decisions, support funding of land preservation to safeguard the region's water resources, as well as operate education and outreach campaigns to promote stewardship of this remarkable region. 75 diverse organizations, as well as over 700 individual dues paying members, currently support the Coalition's mission to "protect, restore, and enhance the water and other natural and cultural resources of New Jersey's Highlands for the benefit of all citizens and businesses in the state of New Jersey". Julia Somers, the Executive Director, provides overall strategic direction for the Coalition as well as its financial management. She works closely with Elliott Ruga and Erica Van Auken (Policy Analysts and Campaign Coordinators); George Stafford (consulting Outreach Director); Lisa Kelly (consulting Festival Director); Juniper Leifer (consulting River Friendly Coordinator); Lauren Swern (Development Director); and Cathy Amon (part-time Program Associate). Our Board and our Policy Committee, made up of organizational member representatives, are also actively and thoroughly engaged as part of our team promoting Highlands protections.

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