The Team

Tobias A. Fox, Founder and Managing Director

As Founder and Managing Director of the community-driven, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization Newark Science and Sustainability, Inc and founder and Facilitator of the Newark Community Food System, Tobias A. Fox have demonstrated collaborative leadership on a grassroots level for ten years. Aside from being a writer and having a decade of independent publishing experience, he is a professional organizer, urban farmer, photographer, and coordinator of an annual Sustainable Living Empowerment Conference. Fox also conducts various community events, presentations, and workshops on sustainable living practices and assisted numerous urban farmers and gardeners with the cultivation of their agricultural space. He has also assisted with the planting of nearly 100 trees in low-income communities with high environmental concerns. More recently, Fox has expanded his global outreach into the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Uganda. Fox has earned many accolades for his work, including:

    • 2022 NJ League of Conservation Voters Changemaker Award Honoree.
    • In part of Newark’s 350th anniversary, selected by peers for outstanding contributions to the Newark community to be part of the 100 People of Newark. This Newark Project, a series of 100 photographs and on-camera interviews with Newarkers, was produced by the 100 People Foundation in partnership with PSE&G Foundation.
    • In 2014, awarded the Newark NAACP Environmental Justice Honoree.

Jacqueleen M. Bido, Ed. D., Chief Strategy Officer (CSO)

A Newark, New Jersey native, Jacqueleen Bido, Ed.D. earned her Doctorate from Seton Hall University in Educational Leadership, Management, and Policy. She is the founder of Elevate Newark and BIDOISM LLC, which are consulting companies created to empower and help people, their organizations, and the communities they serve to invoke social change. As the Chief Strategy Officer of Newark Science and Sustainability, Inc., she continues to expand her mission through business consultation, program development, grant writing, and the creation of the Garden of Hope in Newark, New Jersey. Bido is also proud to have served her country in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in the United States Navy. She is mother to five beautiful children, who have been her greatest achievement because their mere existence proves the importance of the work she does to make the world a better place for them and all to live in.

Brygida Dabek, Internship Program Coordinator

Brygida Dabek is an environmentalist with an eye for the arts. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Geography, with a concentration in Urban Studies, and minors in Sustainability Science and Environmental Justice. She began collaboration with Newark Science and Sustainability, Inc. during her final college semester as an intern. After graduation, Brygida served as the Newark SAS Assistant Coordinator for the PSEG ISS Green Teams Program, during which she assisted with strategizing and organizing action items and deliverables. Besides her involvement with Newark SAS, Brygida is working to combine her passions of writing, people, photography, interior design, and sustainability into her project Collection Five. 

aloe vera, succulent, cactus-678040.jpgJulie Platnar, Accounts & Resource Management

Julie Platnar has spent more than 25 years in the financial sector, beginning in Canada as a Telephone Banking Centre Facilities Administrator, then making her way to Florida as a Project Manager responsible for the installation of banks in grocery stores throughout Florida, California, and Colorado. She would then take on a career as a Facilities Manager, which began in the Buffalo/Rochester area in 2003, relocating to New Jersey in 2006 to manage several banking facilities throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In 2014, with a new financial client and new territory, Platnar oversaw banking facilities throughout New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. She now spends much of her time volunteering for nonprofit organizations, including Newark Science and Sustainability, Inc. where she assists with product development and accounts and resource management. 

Shelley Hartz, Community Engagement & Outreach 

Shelley Hartz was a member of the Pingry School for 28 years. She began her career at Pingry as a part-time Library Assistant on the Basking Ridge Campus, and in 2002, became a full-time faculty member as Middle School Technology Facilitator. Ms. Hartz was also the Community Service Coordinator. In 2012, she became the focused Director of Community and Civic Engagement. She also advised the annual Holocaust and Genocide Remembrance Assembly, was a partner in building the Basking Ridge Campus garden, and created the Peer2Peer program with a colleague in addition to a multitude of other Pingry initiatives. Ms. Hartz retired in June 2023, and continues to be actively involved in community engagement.

Community Partners

We recognize community partners who not only support our mission, but share our vision and display their leadership through collaborative partnerships.

Graham Squires, Community Collaborator

Graham Squires is an advocate for social and environmental justice with experience studying community food systems, sustainability education, aquaponics, and environmental health. He has assisted with maintenance of the community gardens since 2018 and has seen firsthand the many benefits they add to the community as Newark SAS has grown to serve more residents over the years. He also serves as a mentor for NPower, a technology training program for Veterans and underserved youth that seeks to connect Newark and Jersey City residents who are interested in information technology careers with the training they need to be successful. He is a professional software engineer who is interested in exploring the ways that technology can contribute to sustainability, environmental health, and social equity.

Acción Glocal Leadership Team

Norma Diaz, Secretary

Norma Díaz Santos is a native of Constanza, Dominican Republic. Her parents Vencía Santos Gonzáles and Malo Peña taught her about agriculture at a very early age. As a mother of four after the loss of her husband, she continued to give back to her community. She believes in the healing powers of agriculture, living a sustainable life, and giving back to those most in need. Her role in Acción Glocal has been a beacon of change throughout the Municipality of Constanza that enables her to continue passing on the lessons her parents taught her as a young girl. Her dedication to health and wellness comes to life in the many workshops and initiatives implemented in the local community.

Rosalia Diaz, Marketing Manager

Rosalia Diaz Rosado grew up in Los Limoncito, a field in Constanza, Dominican Republic. It was the place where she spent most of her childhood with her parents Elias Diaz Batista and Mencía Rosado Diaz, both of whom have been spending their entire lives dedicated to agriculture. It was not difficult for Rosalia to follow in their footsteps. Afterall, agriculture has been ingrained in her since birth. As a teenager she had her own garden, cultivating a variety of plants and even sold some products with merchants in the area. As she became an adult and in search of more stable employment, it was difficult for her to leave the fields that she treasured so much to become an initial level teacher. Rosalia worked two years for the Children’s Garden School, then became a bank teller, then moved on to becoming an executive secretary, and then worked as a customer service agent. One unexpected day, she became reintroduced to the wonderful world of agriculture through Acción Glocal, a non-profit organization that reawakened the belief that it is possible to live better and the fervent wish for her love of agriculture.

Newark SAS Advisory Board

Be the change you’d like to see in the world and become a Newark SAS Advisory Board member. As a Board member, you are actively involved in the decision-making process and contribute to the growth and development of the organization.

Click to view a copy of our annual returns:

2022 Tax Return Form 990
2021 Tax Return Form 990
2020 Tax Return Form 990
2019 Tax Return Form 990
2018 Tax Return Form 990
2017 Tax Return Form 990
2016 Tax Return Form 990
2015 Tax Return Form 990

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