The Reverend Dr DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. has served as the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens (FBCLG) in Somerset, New Jersey since November 1990. His pastoral ministry focuses on spiritual growth, educational excellence and economic empowerment. He also currently serves as an independent director at three companies: Independence Realty Trust, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York and Ocwen Financial Corporation.
Dr Soaries is a pioneer within the African-American community. He has achieved significant milestones over the course of his career, including serving as New Jersey’s Secretary of State from 1999 to 2002, the first African-American male to do so. He also served as the former chairman of the United States Election Assistance Commission, which was established by Congress to implement the “Help America Vote Act” of 2002. In 2005, he launched the dfree® Financial Freedom Movement. The dfree® strategy teaches people how to break free from debt as the first step toward financial freedom.
Spanning over 20 decades, Dr Soaries’ philanthropic work in Africa cannot be overestimated. Under his leadership, First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens (FBCLG) in Somerset NJ, made its first visit to Port Elizabeth, South Africa in 1995 where they helped establish a library for the students of the Ethembeni Enrichment Centre.
The African continent and African Diaspora are becoming more vibrant and better connected every day largely due to the increasing access to technology. Face2Face Africa is in the vanguard of developing our people for educational uplift and economic opportunity. My work has benefitted from the incredible opportunities being created by Face2Face Africa. I am humbled that they deem me worthy to receive this prestigious award. – Dr DeForest B. Soaries on being honored at the FACE List Awards.
In 1997 he made his first trip to Ghana, and in partnership with the Okyenhene, His Majesty Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin of the Akyem Abuakwa Kingdom, he undertook several developmental and philanthropic projects.
Through Dr Soaries’ initiative, the Akaa Community, comprising of the Asiafro and Amanfrom villages, were given a playground for their local school. Construction of a livestock farm and a soccer field are currently underway for the same community.
Again under Dr Soaries’ leadership, FBCLG adopted Shalom Baptist Church in Kyebi, the capital town of Akyem Abuakwa kingdom, and has supported them with the construction of their church building.
Dr Soaries introduced his brainchild, the dfree® Movement to Africa to help Africans take control of their finances, get out of debt and create personal and communal wealth. The program has taken root in South Africa and Ghana, and will soon be introduced in Botswana.
In October of 2014, Dr Soaries launched the African Royalty Today production to feature kings, chiefs, queen mothers, and other traditional leaders on the continent. The series whose first season will span 6 countries in western, eastern and southern Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Botswana and Zambia), will highlight modern-day blue-blood African rulers and their works in their communities, the causes they champion and the impact they are making on social and economic development in their respective countries.
Dr Soaries resides in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey with his wife, Donna, and twin sons.
Join Face2face Africa as we honor Dr Soaries at the 2018 FACE List Awards Gala during the Pan-African Weekend on Saturday, July 14, at Capitale in New York. Click Here for Tickets and more information.