Our History

New Jersey SEEDS was founded in 1992 when a small group of innovators confronted the profound lack of opportunity for low-income students in the state’s urban school districts. Uniting the education, business and independent school sectors, they believed they could shatter conventional stereotypes and create an organization through which inner city students would thrive.

New Jersey SEEDS is a privately funded, statewide, nonprofit organization committed to developing future leaders from the state’s least privileged communities. By providing access to exceptional educational opportunities, SEEDS programs create a viable path for students to achieve their full potential.

SEEDS delivers an extremely rigorous academic curriculum, inspiring cultural experiences and critical training in leadership skills followed by placement in some of the nation’s most competitive selective schools and colleges. SEEDS continues to guide its graduates throughout their school careers and beyond, and encourages its alumni to be ethical, engaged, responsible citizens who lead lives of contribution and give back to their communities.

Four of SEEDS' Founders: Mark Sandler, John Duffy, Blair MacInnes and William V. Engel. Not pictured: John Hanly and Betty Marsh.

Four of SEEDS’ Founders: Mark Sandler, John Duffy, Blair MacInnes and William V. Engel. Not pictured: John Hanly and Betty Marsh.

The Scholars Program, initiated at SEEDS’ founding in 1992, is the organization’s oldest effort and its largest. The first class of SEEDS Scholars graduated from the program in 1994.

In 2002, SEEDS introduced the Young Scholars Program to address the well-documented problem of the “fifth grade cliff.” The first class of Young Scholars graduated from SEEDS in 2004.

Launched in 2007, the College Preparatory Program (CPP) expanded the use of SEEDS’ techniques to rapidly improve academic proficiency to students in select public high schools, with the goal of increasing the number who aspire to, enter and graduate from competitive colleges. The first class of the College Preparatory Program graduated from SEEDS in 2011 and the final class of CPP Scholars graduated from SEEDS in 2017.

In 2015, SEEDS launched its newest program – the College Scholars Program. The College Scholars Program is a 17-month education experience built upon the success of SEEDS’ College Preparatory Program (CPP). It is designed to prepare and place top-performing, low-income students from eligible public high schools in highly competitive colleges with excellent preparation and sufficient financial aid. The first class of College Scholars graduated in 2017.

All of SEEDS’ programs have one goal: ensuring our scholars succeed in college.