(SKILLMAN, NJ) -- The Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum (SSAAM), central New Jersey's first and only Black history museum, is thrilled to welcome three leading African American women to its Board of Trustees this year.
“As I am now in the beginning of my second year as SSAAM’s Executive Director,” Donnetta Johnson said. “I must say that working alongside the stellar and passionate SSAAM Board, staff, and founders has been nothing short of exhilarating. SSAAM’s mission of providing a broader and truer American history narrative with the intention of encouraging greater understanding between our diverse communities is so unifying. With the addition of three amazingly accomplished women, Jackie Fay, Stephanie Adkins, and Marion Gill, all of whom are inspired and motivated by our mission, SSAAM is poised for the successful launch of our capital campaign to build Central New Jersey’s only African American museum complex and environmental center.”
Stephanie Adkins, Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer at the Bank of Princeton, brings her in-depth financial knowledge, fundraising expertise, and connections to donors as SSAAM grows and expands. In addition to her role at the Bank of Princeton, Stephanie works closely with the service organization Jack and Jill of America, and is passionate about its mission “to invest in the future of our children,” providing opportunities for young people to learn leadership skills and build character.
“I joined this board because I believe in SSAAM’s mission. I have lived and worked in this area for decades and simply did not know that there was an African American history and legacy here. I want to make sure that people far and wide will understand who Friday Truehart and his fellow travelers were and what they accomplished. SSAAM is a treasure.”
Jackie Fay, Chief of Staff for NJ Assemblyman Anthony S. Verelli, has 25 years of experience in Human Resources for large organizations, with a special interest in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) best practices. During her corporate career, Jackie successfully supervised vendors, systems, mergers, technology upgrades, and benefits for major corporations serving over 150,000 employees. She is also a seasoned event planner and volunteer fundraiser who co-planned and co-hosted SSAAM’s “Oxtail Fest” dinner in November 2021, a celebration of the African American culinary tradition that raised more than $85,000 for the organization. As an American of African, Cuban, and Latin American descent, Jackie has an abiding interest in sharing the untold stories of the African American community.
"I believe SSAAM has a unique opportunity to educate future generations of New Jerseyans about the true history of African Americans in our state, something I was denied in New Jersey's public schools,” Jackie said. “All our children should learn about the enormous contributions made by people of color, as well as the hardships they faced."
Marion Gill, Associate Director of Special Projects at Princeton University, has been a leading figure in the museum world for over 30 years; her first project at Princeton is the expansion and rebuilding of the university’s art museum due for 2024. Marion has unique experience in all aspects of museum operations, from “shovel in the ground” to program development and execution. She previously served as the Director of Museum Planning and Operations for the International African American Museum (IAAM) in Charleston, South Carolina, and spent more than 25 years at the Smithsonian Institution, where she played a key role in the planning and opening of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in 2004 and the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in 2016. Marion has a deeply rooted family tradition of service that has fostered her strong commitment to “give back” to her community. She brings her connections to leading national museums and an elite donor and sponsor base across the country to support SSAAM’s mission.
“SSAAM's work – preserving, celebrating, and disseminating African American history and culture – is central to understanding the American experience,” Marion said. “I am thrilled and humbled to support this incredible organization.”
SSAAM’s founders, Board members, and Executive Director. Photo by Yuri Marder