Caren Franzini, who led one of New Jersey's largest municipal bond issuers for nearly two decades, died Wednesday after a battle with breast cancer. She was 57.
Franzini was CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority from 1994 to 2012 and is credited with spurring businesses activity to the state's urban areas through tax-exempt and taxable bonds, loans, and tax incentives.
"As longtime EDA CEO, Caren's mark at the EDA will be everlasting, as will her impact on economic development across the State of New Jersey," NJEDA's chief executive officer, Melissa Orsen and Tim Luzura, president and COO, said in a statement. "The resurgence of cities like Camden, Trenton and Newark; the fostering of innovation, through the development of the Technology Centre of New Jersey, the Commercialization Center for Innovative Technology and the Waterfront Technology Center at Camden; and her focus on small business and entrepreneurship, are all significant landmarks that will pass from this generation of New Jerseyans to the next."
Franzini created Franzini Consulting, LLC, in 2013 to work with economic development agencies and businesses. Prior to joining the NJEDA in 1991 as deputy director, Franzini was New Jersey's assistant state treasurer from 1986 to 1988. She previously worked in the finance division of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and at Public Financial Management.
"Caren was a tireless advocate for New Jersey's business community and a passionate public servant," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said in a statement. "She championed the revitalization of our urban centers and encouraged entrepreneurship in the Garden State."
Franzini grew up in Atlantic City and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in urban studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Business Administration degree in finance and public management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Funeral services are scheduled for Friday at 1 p.m. at Adath Israel Congregation in Lawrenceville, N.J. A memorial gathering will also take place following the funeral and again on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Kehilat HaNahar on 85 W. Mechanic Street, New Hope, Pa.
Franzini is survived by her husband, John Franzini; three children, Anna, Sam and Sarah; sister Paula Crowley; brother Neil Raphel; and both parents.
The family requests that memorial contributions be made out to the New Jersey Tree Foundation, the Pinelands Preservation Alliance or Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mercer County.