By the early 1990’s, CFNJ had a long record of effecting significant positive change in communities across New Jersey. As a leader in nonprofit development and programming, the Foundation came to be viewed as an agent for change, rather than simply a responder to need.
Yet with Sheila Williamson’s passing in 1994, the Foundation had lost its biggest advocate and a strong statewide voice for philanthropy. And so it began the unenviable task of filling Sheila’s very big shoes.
It was around this time that attention began to turn toward increasing CFNJ’s assets and ensuring that the community organizations it supported and worked with had their own assets to continue their programming well into the future.
After tasking a search firm with identifying a new executive director, the Foundation hired Jim Kellogg, a practicing attorney in New York City whose term as a director at Prudential had just ended.
As Jim Kellogg remembers it, “it was a good time for me to think about another career that was closer to my home in Short Hills. And leading the Community Foundation was very desirable at the time given its obviously bright future.”
As executive director, Jim leveraged his background in finance to grow the Foundation’s assets, a signature achievement during his tenure. With favorable tax laws and a strong stock market, several key initiatives led to this increase in funds.
First, Jim encouraged people to contribute their appreciated stock through donor advised funds to save on the capital gains tax. A change in the federal tax laws at that time made private foundations less attractive for charitable giving; as a result, assets in CFNJ’s donor advised funds doubled in one year.
Next, Jim had CFNJ purchase at least one share of stock in each of the publicly held companies based in New Jersey. As a stockholder, Jim would appear on behalf of the Foundation at the companies’ annual meetings, and ask a question about – or more likely make a pitch for – donor advised funds, and how they may grow with one’s stock earnings.
Because of these and other revenue-generating efforts, Jim Kellogg increased the foundation’s assets during his first two years as executive director (a position that was re-named “president” in 1994), from $10 million to $25 million. When he retired in 2002, assets were more than $90 million.
As the Foundation’s assets grew, so too did its ability to support more nonprofits. But it was important to the Foundation that these nonprofits not simply rely on CFNJ or any one organization for their funding. A key component to long-term philanthropic success is, after all, a sustainable and steady base of revenue.
This idea led the Foundation to roll out a new offering for nonprofits: agency endowment funds.
The offering was simple. CFNJ would match the first $5,000 that a nonprofit would invest with them. The nonprofit could not withdraw the $5,000, but it could keep the earnings. By investing their funds with CFNJ, the nonprofits would not only have access to a network of experienced philanthropic professionals, but also an investment committee whose combined years of financial experience would be put to work in growing the various funds.
According to Jim Kellogg, it was a way to get nonprofits to take a closer look at CFNJ:
I would say to these nonprofits, ‘you get the small financial benefit – the match and the earnings, which essentially offsets our fee – and secondly, I’m going to look to my Investment Committee to grow your dollars.
The agency endowment funds were and are a signature achievement of CFNJ and have forged a real commitment to creating permanent endowments for the organizations in our communities.