Tara Colton is Chief Economic Security Officer at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). In this role, she leads initiatives that align with Governor Murphy’s commitment to a stronger, fairer New Jersey, where all residents can build economic security and well-being. Tara oversees over $300 million in EDA’s growing portfolio of programs to alleviate food insecurity and eliminate food deserts, including the Food Desert Relief Act, Food Security Planning Grants, the Food Retail Innovation in Delivery Grant (FRIDG) and Sustain & Serve NJ. She is also spearheading efforts to strengthen New Jersey’s vital child care sector with more than $100 million in grants for facility improvements, and to establish a Trenton-based maternal and infant health innovation center with an emphasis on addressing racial disparities in care. She continues to play a central role in the design and expansion of the New Jersey Pay it Forward Program, which provides zero-interest loans to low‐income New Jersey career seekers.
Tara has more than 20 years of leadership experience in the public and nonprofit sectors, focused on developing and implementing innovative programs and services for workers, families, students, and businesses. Prior to joining the NJEDA in 2020, Tara was Executive Director of Seedco, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing economic opportunity for people, businesses and communities in need. She has held leadership positions in the New York City Mayor’s Office and NYC Department of Education, and at the nonprofits FEGS Health & Human Services and the Center for an Urban Future.
Tara received a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Wesleyan University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Baruch College’s Marxe School of Public and International Affairs. She lives in Maplewood with her family.