Carolyn Grace, 2019 Camden County MLK Freedom Medal Winner

In 1987, Ms. Grace moved to the Brittany Woods section of Gloucester Township, with the goal of raising her children in a community that embodied her values – care, love for your neighbor, the importance of education/hard work, and service to others.

Ms. Grace holds dual degrees; a Master’s degree in Social Work from Rutgers University, and a Master’s degree in School Leadership from Wilmington University. She is certified as a teacher in psychology, school social worker, and principal/administrator.

She has spent most of her career helping children achieve educational goals in the communities to where she’s been employed.

However, during the years 2012-2015, Ms. Grace noticed a rapid deterioration in her own community; one not responding to signs of recovery from an era of housing foreclosures. The property value in her community steadily declined while crime steadily increased.

In 2016, Ms. Grace mobilized a group of concerned residence and took to ACTION!  The first set of goals were to decrease the number of abandon homes, unkempt lawns, liter around the community, and deplorable broken mailboxes. The second set of goals were to develop a renewed sense of pride, curbside appeal, community connection, and a safe place for children to play.

In 2016 (out of diligent efforts), came the formation of The Brittany Woods Community Action Group (BWCAG). As CEO/founder of (BWCAG), several major community projects were completed in just three short years as follows:

The curbside appeal project, Adopt-A-Mailbox, yielded more than 60 mailbox replacements. With the support of Lowes, BWCAG members, friends, homeowners, renters, the Timberbirch Women’s Club, and her own money, Ms. Grace raised over $3,600 for materials and supplies for this ongoing project.   

The summer of 2017 saw the completion of The Road Paving Project, where Hampshire Road was completely paved. Ms. Grace advocated for this needed tax-based service, which brought a “fresh look” to the community. This fresh look, in turn, saw an increased interest in homeownership over low-income renting. Hampshire Road transformed from over 23 abandon homes to approximately three vacant and livable properties.

The Children Park Project was advocated for and completed in the summer of 2017, giving the children of Brittany Woods a safe place to play.

In addition, Ms. Grace is a lead-person for many annual community events, such as the Brittany Woods Community Clean-Up, National Night Out, and Fall Leaf Removal. She is also the lead-person for two social media websites, which include The Brittany Woods Community Action Group Facebook Page and Nextdoor.com Brittany Woods page.  

In the three years of her community activism, crime is significantly down, abandoned and boarded-up homes are nonexistent, property value has increased, and most importantly: a sense of PRIDE is being restored to Brittany Woods.  

Ms. Grace has been humbly honored with multiple service awards, yet still manages to find ways to give.

In September of 2018, Ms. Grace successfully campaigned as a school board member for the Gloucester Township School District. In January of 2019, she was sworn into her duties for a three-year term.

Ms. Grace wholeheartedly believes in building brighter futures and that understanding a “vision for change” simply requires love for your community and ground-roots ACTION!