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To celebrate and continue the legacy of the late Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, her family has launched the Sheila Y. Oliver Civic Association, a nonpartisan nonprofit committed to educating and developing young women of color who are interested in government, public policy, and community organizing.  

In addition to its core mission, the Sheila Y. Oliver Civic Association will extend its support to other underrepresented and underserved communities to enable them to achieve both economic and social success, the organization said in its Nov. 27 announcement. By offering relevant programs and services in education, employment, housing and economic development, the nonprofit aims to empower communities and change lives. 

Oliver, who died Aug. 1 at age 71, was elected lieutenant governor in 2017 after serving more than 15 years in the Legislature. She was the first Black woman in state history to lead the General Assembly. In addition to her role as lieutenant governor, Oliver was also the commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs where she led initiatives for affordable housing, community revitalization, homelessness prevention, and local government services. 

“Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver was known throughout New Jersey as a beacon of hope for not only young women of color, but for individuals from all walks of life. Our family believes that launching the Sheila Y. Oliver Civic Association is the best way to commemorate the enormous, positive impact she made and allow her to continue making a difference in peoples’ lives for decades to come,” said Renee Oliver, the late lieutenant governor’s niece and president of the Sheila Y. Oliver Civic Association. 

“Our Aunt Sheila dedicated her life to public service and advocating for those whose voices were not always heard,” Renee Oliver said. “The Sheila Y. Oliver Civic Association will build on that legacy and work to provide the mentorship, training and support that disadvantaged individuals need to pursue their dreams of making a difference and fostering a more just society.”  

The nonprofit will host the inaugural Sheila Y. Oliver Legacy Brunch” at the Valley Regency in Clifton, on Saturday, July 20, 2024. Information about tickets and sponsorship opportunities will be released soon. 

The Sheila Y. Oliver Civic Association has launched a new website and social media pages that will be used to promote its activities and connect with potential participants, partners and donors. The organization will announce new initiatives and programs designed to fulfill its mission as it ramps up its activities in 2024.  

For more information on how to donate to the Sheila Y. Oliver Civic Association, please visit

Photo caption: Gov. Phil Murphy and NJBIA President & CEO Michele Siekerka (far right) with the family of the late Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, who was honored posthumously with an award at the NJBIA Public Policy Forum held Nov. 28 in Woodbridge. Renee Oliver, president of the Sheila Y. Oliver Civic Association, is standing second from right.