skip to main content

Featured Mini-Grantee | Community and Commerce Enhancement Foundation (CCEF)

2024-05-09T12:39:17-04:00May 9th, 2024|

The “Healthier Heart of Jersey City”

For years, the McGinley Square Partnership has invested time and funds to transform the intersection of Montgomery Street and Bergen Avenue into a true “town square.” Recognized as a Special Improvement District (SID) in Jersey City, the McGinley Square town square area has been marketed as “At the Heart of Jersey City.”   

In collaboration with the Community and Commerce Enhancement Foundation (CCEF), the McGinley town square was selected as a site to educate and advocate for better community health, and the tagline “Healthier Heart of Jersey City” was adopted.

In 2023, CCEF applied for the Healthier JC mini-grant to fund development of “Healthier Heart of Jersey City” programming for lower income residents in the 07306 zip code to learn about better health practices and fitness at no cost.


 HealthierJC + Community and Commerce Enhancement Foundation (CCEF) 

The CCEF believes that building a Culture of Health means curating integrated entertainment (refreshments, music, games) and health education events in safe open spaces. CCEF offers low-cost or free events that target seniors, youth, pregnant women, infants, adults, and minorities. These events incorporate an entertainment element to attract the target groups, but more important, focuses on health education, fitness, free screenings, and more.

CCEF’s proposed programs align with several HealthierJC community health equity priorities:

  • Leveraging open space events like “Music & Arts in the Plaza” that provide live music, art classes, art demonstrations, refreshments, and light conversation in a safe, secure environment.
  • Conducting Family Yoga and Total Fitness classes that promote adult and child participation in group health activities. Providing a space for families to relax, unwind, and engage in calming activities, promoting a sense of wellbeing and cultivating healthy habits.
  • Helping seniors manage aging through education and physical activity to manage chronic conditions, boost mood, combat feelings of isolation and loneliness, and enhance cognitive function.

How was the Mini-Grant Used?


“Healthier Heart of Jersey City” used the HealthierJC mini-grant for health programs at three “Music & Arts in the Plaza” events. The funds were also used to conduct 33 free fitness classes, requiring partnerships with Four IV Fitness, Councilman Boggiano’s office, and the Jersey Police Department. An estimated 500 residents – minority, women, senior, individuals with disabilities, low-income – participated from Wards B, C, and F.


“Healthier Heart of Jersey City” empowered the community to make informed choices about their health and well-being, leading to long-term positive changes.

Underserved neighborhoods were given a community space to relieve stress, improve mood, and enhance mental well-being through fitness classes. Regular exercise helps prevent chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, leading to a healthier community. Residents who participated in classes often got to know their neighbors and build relationships, creating a stronger and more supportive community.


Making a Difference…

People with an interest in fitness and health… come together as a community to socialize, to work
out with others, and to have a fun time while becoming healthier.”
—Reisha Baker, McGinley Square SID Board President

The main focus of the McGinley Square Special Improvement District (SID), according to Baker, is cleanliness and capital improvement. “We’ve come a long way, and there is so much potential,” she said. “This is a cute area with lots of businesses. It’s an interesting and unique area with a lot to offer. It’s been underserved, and we’re finally moving in a positive direction, making changes in landscapes and streetscapes with our beautification and cleanliness initiative.”

“We wanted the [fitness] programs to create a sense of community, with people coming out to feel a part of the neighborhood, get involved with others, and gather to potentially meet residents who live in the area whom they’d not yet met,” Baker said.

To learn more about the 26-year history of the McGinley Square SID, visit