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AIC Gala Fundraiser - Honorees


Erik Estrada
Community Manager at Community Foundation of South Jersey

Erik Estrada, Community Manager at the Community Foundation of South Jersey, Cassie Iacovelli, Executive Director at MainStreet Hammonton, and Carrie Pogue, Deaf, and Hard of Hearing Community Liaison at Allies in Caring will be honored as "Inclusion Pathfinders" for their work opening the way for diverse voices and leadership in our communities and creating inclusive communities in South Jersey.

At our 2022 Fundraising Gala, we want to recognize individuals who have supported Allies In Caring's mission and demonstrated the qualities of Inclusion Pathfinders in their everyday behavior.

  • Inclusion Pathfinders are people who help create new ways for those who have been historically excluded to develop a sense of belonging and become participating members of their communities.

  • Inclusion Pathfinders are willing to explore untraversed approaches to co-create new social conditions necessary to support everyone to attain their highest level of wellbeing.

  • Inclusion pathfinders mark out new routes to lessen avoidable obstacles to wellbeing.

  • Inclusion pathfinders create, foster, and sustain practices and conditions that encourage and allow each of us to be healthy contributing members of our communities—with our differences from and similarities to those around us—as we work together.


As the Community Manager at the Community Foundation of South Jersey (CFSJ), Erik is responsible for the execution of CFSJ’s signature community leadership initiative, Transform South Jersey, which aims to strengthen the social, cultural and economic vibrancy of South Jersey communities by activating residents to shape the future of their towns based on what matters most to them.

Prior to joining CFSJ, Erik served in a variety of roles with multiple national program offices of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Most recently, he helped launch Forward Promise, a national program office established to promote the health and well-being of boys and young men of color. Based out of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, Erik helped develop and implement the program’s grantmaking and technical assistance strategies. Before that, he managed research and evaluation initiatives of RWJF’s statewide grantmaking program, New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI). In addition to studying the feasibility and impact of NJHI’s field building efforts, he worked closely with their youth-focused and capacity building programs as well. 

Erik’s introduction to both philanthropy and New Jersey came by way of National Urban Fellows, a rigorous leadership development and graduate degree program in which he earned a Master of Public Administration from Bernard M. Baruch College in New York, while completing a nine-month fellowship with RWJF. He also holds a Master of Science in Public Affairs – Community Development from Rutgers University at Camden and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley. He now resides in Westville, New Jersey with his wife Tonia, and their twin cavapoos Enastasia & Alejandro. 

Cassie Iacovelli
Executive Director at MainStreet Hammonton

Cassie Iacovelli is beginning her fourteenth year as the Executive Director of MainStreet Hammonton, a program started in 1993 and recognized as one of the most successful MainStreet programs in New Jersey. Cassie also serves on the Hammonton Arts Advisory Committee, Hammonton Health Coalition, Hammonton Covid Relief Economic Impact Committee and Hammonton Pedestrian & Bike Steering Committee. Prior to her position in Hammonton, Cassie was the Assistant Dean of Campus Life at Rider University. She holds a Master of Education in Student Personnel Services from The College of New Jersey and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Seton Hall University. Cassie has lived in Hammonton with her husband John since 2008. They love Hammonton and enjoy time with their family which includes time at the Jersey shore

Carrie Pogue
Hard of Hearing Community Liaison at Allies in Caring

Carrie Pogue joined the New Jersey Department of Human Services Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as Program Coordinator for the Language Instruction Program in December 2019. Before that, she was New Jersey’s first Deaf mentor from 2016 - 2019. She also was a Deaf paraprofessional at the Galloway Township School from 2018-2019. 

Carrie is very involved in the Deaf community focusing on empowerment and advocacy. Her other leadership roles include being President of the oldest N.J. Deaf social club – Atlantic County Society of the Deaf, founded in 1966, and as a board member of the American Sign Language program at Camden County College. 

Her passions have been fellowship, empowerment, and inspiring not only deaf and hard of hearing children, youth, and adults but their families, A.S.L. interpreters, and community to excel and make positive changes simply by providing support. Carrie is the third generation of a Deaf family on her father’s side. She grew up in North Jersey in Wanaque. Carrie attended Lake Drive School and graduated from a mainstream program called S.H.I.P. – Midland Park High School with other deaf students. 

She studied Business Marketing at Gallaudet University. Carrie is married to Eli Pogue Sr. and is the proud mother of two children, Eli Jr and Mae. Her family also includes their dog, Mocha, and cat, Chloe. Carrie lives in Atlantic County, New Jersey.

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