I’m proud to be a fourth-generation Summit resident, and my love for this town is only slightly behind my love for my husband, Jerome, and my four children. I grew up on Ashwood Avenue, right down the street from what was then the new community pool (now the Summit Aquatic Center) and within walking distance of the Edison Recreation Center (now the Summit Community Center). My dad, Julius Dillingham, was the first African American police officer in Summit. My mother, Joyce Dillingham Miles, was a working mom with a generous spirit and relentless work ethic who retired from Fair Oakes hospital (now Summit Oaks Hospital) after decades of long service. She taught me that if you complain, you also need a plan to make things better. Inspired by her example of courage and compassion along with a line of the other wonderful women in my family tree including my beloved aunt and mentor, Esther Toney, community service is in my DNA.
That desire to seek the greater good is reflected in my professional life. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh and earning a master’s in public administration from Seton Hall, I spent 20 years with one of the largest private international foundations in the country overseeing a large staff and review of budgets and compliance. Effective financial management is critical to all organizations—including a town like Summit. The complex world of philanthropy has given me a deep appreciation for the interconnectedness of public and private endeavors and an understanding of how for-profit, government and non-profit sectors work together. I’ve also developed a keen appreciation for assessing both short- and long-term impacts of every decision.
I recently left my role as the Director of Grants Management for a New York-based national foundation, responsible for policies, processes and systems required to manage a growing Foundation with a $4 billion endowment in order to give my position on Council, and the concerns and needs of Summit residents, my full focus and attention.
Beyond my career, I have always considered civic engagement a responsibility—and a pleasure. I served two terms on Summit’s Board of Education, culminating as President, and I am passionate about education as foundational to Summit’s vitality. I served as a commissioner for the Union Country Board of Taxation: a governor and foundation trustee for Union County College. I’ve served as chairwoman and committee member for the Summit Municipal Democratic Committee. I’m also an Advisory Board Member for the Center for Effective Philanthropy.
Also, as a 24 year commuter, I understand first-hand the challenges many residents face on a daily basis—and the opportunities offered by our transportation resources.
My family has been an active member of Fountain Baptist Church and the family organization Jack and Jill of America where I have held leadership positions as well as other varied volunteer roles.
Why am I running for re-election to Common Council? My expertise and broad perspective are assets valuable to shaping Summit’s future. We are on a strong trajectory of growth and enrichment, through projects like the Broad Street West Redevelopment and the Summit Community Center. We’ve joined the 88% of NJ communities that offer full-day kindergarten. Our retail vacancy rate is one of the lowest in the area. And beyond these achievements, we must look across government lines – and anticipate future policy and funding and its impact on our community. Similarly, we need to look beyond local government to the business and non-profit communities to ensure robust partnerships.
I am committed to an inclusive process that considers all of the groups making Summit a vibrant community: young families and senior citizens, commuters and local business owners, people in diverse economic situations, people of varied ethnic traditions. Together, regardless of party or platform, we can ensure Summit is a city where we want to live, and where our children and grandchildren will want to live.
On Summit Common Council
• Chair of the Safety & Health committee
• Member of the Law & Labor committee
• Liaison to the following community committees:
- Affordable Housing
- Summit Public & Private Schools
- Emergency Management & Shared Dispatch
- Lackawanna Coalition
- Labor Negotiations
- Summit Public Library
My exceptional strength in financial and operational management, cross-functional leadership, strategic planning and governance make me an outstanding candidate for Summit Common Council.
Foundation Trustee, Union County College and Foundation
Advisory Board Member, Center for Effective Philanthropy
Committee member for Summit Municipal Democratic Committee
Commissioner, Union County Board of Taxation
Governor, Union County College and Foundation
President, Vice President and Member, Summit Board of Education
Chair, Summit Municipal Democratic Committee
Co-Chair, Mayor’s Forum on Diversity
Trustee, Providing Educational Possibilities (PEP) Foundation
Volunteer Summit Area YMCA’s Achiever Program
Trustee, Fountain Baptist Church
Volunteer, Women & Girls Homeless Shelter
Troop Leader, Summit Girl Scout Troop at Fountain Baptist Church
Tri City NAACP Jubilee Humanitarian and Community Service Award
Summit Good Scouts Award
MLK Day of Service Keeper of the Dream Award
YMCA Achiever of the Year
JPB Foundation, New York, NY
Director, Grants Management
Ford Foundation, New York
Director, Office of Programs and Operations
Director, Global Grants Management
Global Manager, Grants Administration
Senior Grants Administrator
Ascent Fellow, Tuck Executive Education, Dartmouth University
Masters, Public Administration, Nonprofit Management, Seton Hall University
Bachelor of Arts, Business Administration