Our History

rivergrove1The Cumberland Empowerment Zone Corporation (CEZC) was established in 1999 following Round II Empowerment Zone designation by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. The goal of the program was to expand economic opportunity in several communities and neighborhoods in Cumberland County, New Jersey.

Since its formation, the CEZC has been recognized as a crucial participant in the economic development efforts for the most distressed areas of Cumberland County. Cumberland’s Empowerment Zone impact and success is notable, particularly given the Federal Government’s failure to provide the full funding for the 10-year Empowerment Zone Program that was originally promised. When federal Empowerment Zone funding diminished, the CEZC Board of Directors and staff became very aggressive in seeking alternative resources to ensure the continued existence and growth of the organization’s programs.

The Federal Empowerment Zone initiative sunsetted on December 31, 2009; however, Empowerment Zone tax incentives and bonding capacity continue to exist. Moreover, the Corporation has a strong and growing second generation fund generated from loan funding issued during the last 14 years. The Cumberland Empowerment Zone Corporation is committed to continuing its important work serving some of the neediest communities in New Jersey.