Community Foundation of New Jersey

A Look Back, Part 6: The Role of Corporate Philanthropy

For philanthropy to be truly effective on a wide scale, it requires more than just the work of nonprofits, foundations, individuals, or corporations – but, in fact, all of these entities working together. CFNJ has long placed a priority on helping businesses and foundations collaborate while encouraging new generations of committed philanthropists. One example is its work with PSEG to establish an employee crisis fund managed almost entirely by CFNJ staff so as to preserve impartiality in making gifts.

CFNJ also works with New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson to facilitate its philanthropy. Johnson & Johnson’s Community Health Care Fund at the Community Foundation, created in 2005, has granted more than $2.6 million to core health programs at area medical centers. Beneficiary programs include mobile health and dentistry, childhood obesity prevention efforts, bilingual medical services, diabetes care and management programs, Latino outreach programs on diabetes, and prenatal health literacy and support groups.

A separate fund, the Johnson & Johnson Somerset County Companies Fund, focuses specifically on Somerset and Hunterdon Counties, granting more than $1.4 million to programs tackling homelessness, adult day care and childcare, substance abuse, maternal health, and mental health issues.

A third fund, the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies Fund provides grants to nonprofit organizations such as human services agencies, food banks, homeless shelters, arts programs and more located in the New Jersey areas where the Family of Consumer Companies has facilities.

CFNJ also hosts the ShopRite Partners in Caring Fund through which Wakefern Food Corporation, the retailer-owned cooperative, has provided more nearly $25 million in support to foodbanks across New Jersey and nearby states.

One of the unique features of the ShopRite Partners In Caring program is the creative and enthusiastic support it receives from ShopRite employees, customers, and partners. Every September, during Hunger Action Month, associates in all ShopRite stores raise funds and build displays that bring attention to the hunger issue. Two associates that raise the most awareness and dollars at each of the 40 stores are elected by their peers to appear on a Cheerios box cover.

Karen Meleta, Vice President at Wakefern Food Corp., explained that the company, “didn’t have a foundation or a 501(c)(3), but people wanted to contribute to the cause. When we met with CFNJ and learned how it works, and then considered the alternative of starting our own foundation, we realized that CFNJ would be a great choice. The fact that their team was readily available to help was very compelling. CFNJ is an incredible resource that was there just when we needed it, and it continues to provide the kind of counsel and leadership we’ve come to rely on.”

Lucia DiNapoli Gibbons (center, with award), Wachovia’s Regional President for Northern New Jersey, flanked by representatives from nominating nonprofit organizations at the 2003 Corporate Philanthropy Awards Dinner.

Throughout, CFNJ has fostered a strong relationship with New Jersey’s corporate sector to ensure a steady base of philanthropic resources for the state. After all, if managed properly, a corporation can leverage its vast financial resources to bring economies of scale to local nonprofits’ important work.

For 16 years, CFNJ hosted an annual Corporate Philanthropy Awards Dinner to highlight the best and most promising philanthropic programs to come out of New Jersey’s major corporations. Starting with the first dinner in 1990, one corporation would be selected each year as the “Corporate Philanthropist of the Year.”

Corporate Philanthropists of the Year

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