Eloise Samuels is a 2020–21 Civil Society Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. A former telecommunications business executive, Samuels is also a cofounder and president of the New Jersey Orators, Inc., a nonprofit youth organization founded in 1985. New Jersey Orators, Inc. teaches the art of public speaking and an appreciation for literature, reading, and media arts literacy to children from 7 to 18 years of age, while also providing training in civic engagement, college readiness, and life skills to prepare them for success in college and beyond. Although the New Jersey Orators is open to all young people, its programs focus on African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and those of the African diaspora.
Over the past 35 years, the New Jersey Orators has grown from one chapter in Somerset, New Jersey, to 22 chapters and more than 200 volunteers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania with plans to expand nationally. The Orators’ after-school classes and competitions are closing the racial achievement gap, improving educational outcomes, fostering resilience, and much more. Today, more than 5,500 youth have participated in the Orators’ programs and have continued to apply their oratory and presentation skills as news reporters, Broadway actors, engineers, business executives, lawyers, judges, college professors, and a host of other careers.
Samuels’s passion for education and community service has earned her numerous accolades, including the 2019 Johnson & Johnson King Community Service Award, the 2016 New Jersey Black Issues Community Change Award in Education, the 2015 Community Service Gold Award from President Obama, the National Organization of Black Law Executives’ 2012 James Spellman Community Service Award, and the New Jersey Governor’s Volunteer Award, among others. Prior to being selected as a Civil Society Fellow, Samuels received Manhattan Institute’s Social Entrepreneurship Award in 2002 for her leadership and work with the New Jersey Orators.
In addition to other community and nonprofit roles, Samuels previously served on the Piscataway Board of Education in New Jersey and as the executive director of the Cathedral Community Development Corporation. She earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Pace University and is a certified project manager. Samuels retired after 20 years from Telcordia Technologies. A proud mother of two adult children, Dr. Fallon Samuels Aidoo and Anthony Samuels, Esq., she is thankful to God for what He has done in her life. She resides in Piscataway, New Jersey, with her husband of 46 years, Rupert. Learn more about Samuels’s work at www.oratorsinc.org.
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