Northern NJ Community Foundation Launches Fund Established in Memory of New Jersey Terrorist Victim

Clubs and Organizations

May 2, 2018

From: The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation (NNJCF)

The legacy of terrorist victim Darren Drake continues with the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation's Darren Drake Memorial Fund. Drake, who died in the terrorist attack in New York City on October 31, 2017, grew up in New Milford, New Jersey and had a passion for knowledge and education.

"In the wake of this tragedy, the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation is honored to establish a fund in Darren Drake's memory enabling others to benefit from his devotion to education. Through his work and studies, Darren came to understand that education is the basis of a meaningful life, a belief fundamental to the Foundation's purpose," said Michael Shannon, President, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation. Working as a Project Manager with Moody’s Analytics, Drake was also active in his community, including serving as President of the New Milford Board of Education. He received a bachelor's degree in political science from Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey and a master's in information systems and management from Fairleigh Dickinson University. At the time of the attack, he was pursuing a second master's degree in technology management from Stevens Institute of Technology. Growing up, Drake developed a heartfelt interest in the trade professions, as a viable career path, from his family.He had a close relationship with his maternal grandfather, who worked as a mechanic making cardboard boxes. His father, Jimmy Drake, worked as a client services professional with the U.S. Department of Labor's Comprehensive Employment and Training (CETA) program, helping disadvantaged youngsters obtain jobs through training or on the job employment, and discussed with his son the careers available in the trade and technical professions.

Skilled Employees Needed in Trade Professions

As a member of the New Milford Board of Education, Darren Drake identified the need to meet a shortage of skilled labor in the trade and technical professions by preparing high school students interested in pursuing vocational careers.Career opportunities are available in the trade and technical professions.

"According to the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University (2017), 30 million good jobs in the United States with median earnings of $55,000 annually do not require a bachelor of arts degree. This includes jobs in the trade and technical industries, such as construction and manufacturing, and skilled-services industries, such as healthcare and financial services.

"With an increasing focus on equipping students with the skills that employers demand in today’s job market, career and technical education programs offer a quality pathway to industry-recognized credentials and careers for any student," said Mindy Larson, Senior Program Associate at the Center for Workforce Development at the Institute for Educational Leadership, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. with a mission to equip leaders to prepare children and youth for college, careers and citizenship.

Scholarship Award

Through the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation's Darren Drake Memorial Fund, a scholarship will be awarded annually to a graduating senior of New Milford High School to pursue training in the trade or technical professions. "The program will fulfill Darren's desire to provide an opportunity for students to receive a scholarship to enter the trade or technical professions. They will be able to go to any accredited school of their choosing and pursue a career," said Jimmy Drake.

Continue Darren Drake's Legacy

The public can continue Darren Drake's commitment to education and his legacy with a donation in his memory. In remembrance of Drake, and as a lasting tribute to his lifelong love of and commitment to education, Moody’s Foundation provided the principal gift to establish the fund, which will be administered by his parents. Donations may be made online at https://www.nnjcf.org/cause-posts/the-darren-drake-memorial-fund-memorializes-darren-scott-drake/ Contributions may also be sent by check to 'The Northern NJ Community Foundation' with 'Darren Drake Memorial Fund' entered in the memo line. Send checks to the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, 1 University Plaza, Suite 128, Hackensack, New Jersey 07601.

For further information about the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, contact nnjcf@nnjcf.org or call 201-568-5608.

About NNJCF

The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation (NNJCF), a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization based in Hackensack, New Jersey, focuses primarily on civic engagement, education, public health, the environment, philanthropy, and the arts. NNJCF works with local governments, school districts, businesses, non-profit organizations, and citizen groups in Northern New Jersey to improve community life. The Foundation's partners identify and resolve regional problems and opportunities by talking and learning from each other, by sharing ideas, best practices, services, and resources.

For more information, visit www.nnjcf.org, send an email to nnjcf@nnjcf.org, or call (201) 568-5608. Follow the NNJCF on Facebook at Northern NJ Community Foundation/ArtsBergen and Twitter @NNJCF.