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Our Founder

In 2005, Dr. Soaries launched the dfree® Financial Freedom Movement.

Our Founder

DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. D.Min

Dr. Soaries is the President and CEO of Corporate Community Connections, Inc., a company that assists corporations expand and improve their Corporate Social Responsibility efforts. In July 2021 he retired from 30 years of ministry as the third Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens (“FBCLG”) in Somerset, New Jersey.  His pastoral ministry focused on spiritual growth, educational excellence, economic empowerment, and faith-based community development.  As a pioneer of faith-based community development, Dr. Soaries’ impact on FBCLG and the community was tremendous. In 1992, he founded the Central Jersey Community Development Corporation (“CJCDC”), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that specializes in helping revitalize underserved and vulnerable neighborhoods. In 1996, the CJCDC launched Harvest of Hope Family Services Network, Inc.  This organization developed permanent solutions for hundreds of foster children and parents.

Dr. Soaries was inducted to the The Martin Luther King Jr Board of Preachers at Morehouse College.

From 1999 to 2002, Dr. Soaries served as New Jersey’s Secretary of State, making him the first and only African-American male to serve in that office.  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, Dr. Soaries launched the dfree® Financial Freedom Movement.  The dfree® strategy teaches people how to become financially self-sufficient.  His work in financial empowerment was featured in a CNN documentary.


Dr. Soaries has written 12 books including “Say Yes to No Debt” and “Say Yes When Life Says No.” he is the host of a weekly radio show “For Your Soul” on SiriusXM Urban View.


Dr. Soaries currently serves as an Independent Director at Independence Realty Trust and Ocwen Financial Corporation. He served as an Independent Director at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York for 16 years. He also serves as a Trustee of RWJ Barnabas Health.


Soaries earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Fordham University, a Master of Divinity Degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry Degree from United Theological Seminary. Dr. Soaries resides in Sarasota, Florida with his wife, Donna.