The Community Foundation’s Leadership Committee aims through its grantmaking to identify and support initiatives in the state that address pervasive, systemic needs of vulnerable or underserved individuals, families and communities. The Committee seeks to make meaningful, targeted investments in initiatives that

  • Address an unmet need that no, or few, other funders are supporting
  • Can lead to some kind of systems change, with policy outcomes possible or likely
  • Leverage other fundholders’ or funders’ work and investments
  • Offer an opportunity to test a new idea, or pilot an untested approach, that may serve as the basis for broader-based impact in the future.

These initiatives – called Changemaker Projects – are highly engaging and captivate the interest of our fundholders. We provide detailed updates to participating “changemakers” on the progress and impact of the grantmaking. Ideally, these grants enable CFNJ to serve as a leader bringing partners together to work toward a goal that may not be achievable via single civic institutions working individually on challenges.

To support the Community Foundation’s Changemaker Projects, and become a “changemaker” yourself, contact Margarethe Laurenzi at 973-267-5533 or mlaurenzi@cfnj.org.


Recent Changemaker Projects have focused on:

 

Expanding Educational Field Trips.

CFNJ

Field trips take students out of familiar surrounding into new places, connecting classroom learning with real-life experiences and enabling them to envision themselves as future college students, researchers, artists, and leaders. But districts across New Jersey are reporting sending students on fewer field trips, with an increasing number of schools passing the bill on to parent groups. The Community Foundation of New Jersey joined with other NJ funders to create a field trip endowment, Field Trip New Jersey, that enables school children in low-income districts across New Jersey access the arts, historical landmarks, nature preserves, and college campuses. To date, Field Trip New Jersey has provided transportation for more than 285 trips for 154 schools totaling $162,834.27. Students have experienced such trips as glassmaking at Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center, a poetry slam at William Paterson University, and historic reenactments at Historic Cold Springs Village. A centerpiece of the Field Trip NJ program is the $1 million endowment established in honor of Percy Chubb III to provide field trip funding for Newark, New Jersey schools. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS ISSUE or visit www.FieldTripNJ.org.

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Increasing Access to Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.

Since 2018, the Community Foundation of New Jersey has partnered with the national nonprofit Fair Food Network to bring its Double Up Food Bucks healthy food incentive program to New Jersey. In 25 other states already, Double Up Food Bucks matches the value of SNAP dollars spent on fresh fruits and vegetables, helping low-income families bring home more nutritious foods. SNAP stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. The Double Up Food Bucks program, originally set to run summers only is now sponsored year-round at four local ShopRite grocery stores, which have seen, on average, five percent increases in produce purchases made by SNAP shoppers. Double Up Food Bucks is a win/win/win: low-income families bring home more healthy food, local farmers sell more produce, and more food dollars stay in the local economy. Each has a positive ripple effect of benefits. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS ISSUE.

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Providing Representation for Unaccompanied Minors.

Unaccompanied Minor Changemaker Page

Since October 2014, the US Office of Refugee Resettlement has transferred more than 11,000 unaccompanied minors – children who have entered the country without family – to relatives or foster care in New Jersey. All of these children, regardless of where they are placed, eventually face a hearing in Federal Court regarding their immigration status. In New Jersey, the supply of free or low-cost attorneys available to represent these children is grossly inadequate. Only 10 to 15 percent of the children who need an attorney are able to retain one. The Community Foundation of New Jersey first got involved by helping to support a legal fellow who represents children and trains pro bono counsel in impossibly complex (and often adversarial) juvenile status proceedings. Several years later, the Community Foundation has provided other nonprofits with similar support for legal services, and is now part of a broader funder collaborative of local and national funders that underwrites a consortium of legal and immigrants’ rights advocates working to stabilize the status of immigrant children and their families in New Jersey. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS ISSUE.

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Ensuring Incarcerated Youth are Properly Rehabilitated.

DonorCentral_JuvenileJustice

Juvenile justice is meant to be rehabilitative, but too often it is implemented in such a way that incarcerated youth are further isolated. Our Changemaker Project supported the work of a full-time attorney who works individually with incarcerated youth to ensure they are receiving the appropriate educational and medical services so that they are ready to safely return to our communities. Through the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Reform Coalition, we helped to outlaw the punitive use of solitary confinement on juveniles in New Jersey. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS ISSUE.

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You may also wish to support our general Changemaker Fund, which allows the Community Foundation to respond to future challenges. To support the Community Foundation’s Changemaker Projects, and become a “changemaker” yourself, contact Margarethe Laurenzi at 973-267-5533 or mlaurenzi@cfnj.org.