The Community Foundation of New Jersey started 2020 on a high note: thanking our more than 1,100 fundholders for recommending 7,370 individual grants in 2019 totaling $62.5 million.
A Top Ten Charity
CFNJ was also named one of New Jersey’s top 10 charities by Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities. Charity Navigator made the determination following their calculation that CFNJ spends 95.2% of its total expenses on programs and services and scored a 98.03% on overall financial accountability and transparency based on 2017 data.
Charity Navigator examines tens of thousands of non-profit financial documents and uses this information to develop an unbiased, objective, numbers-based rating system to assess over 9,000 of America’s charities.
These numbers only tell part of the story, of course. There are, in fact, many amazing charities in New Jersey, which is why we consider ourselves privileged to work with fundholders to identify and support so many of them.
Charity Navigator also named CFNJ to its most recent list of the top 10 community foundations in the United States.
From creative projects that tackle critical societal or policy issues to scholarship funds, corporate philanthropy, legacy funds and donor advised funds, the Community Foundation manages nearly every kind of giving vehicle and tailors solutions to meet critical needs.
Click below for current funds in each of six popular categories.
The Community Foundation offers individual and family fundholders an enriched experience and intensive staff support on top of the maximum tax deduction for contributions. We listen to our fundholders and advise them on how to translate their passions and gifts into impact.
Crafting a charitable legacy can be both a challenging and a rewarding process. It is a unique opportunity to remember your family and preserve your impact on a cause or community for generations.
Scholarship Funds are an effective vehicle to help young people achieve their dreams of an education. Of course, the diversity of schools, academic programs, and student interests make achieving that dream unique to every young person.
Business Advised Funds
The Community Foundation of New Jersey works with businesses large and small to help set up and/or manage affiliated philanthropy programs.
Special Project Funds can be initiated by a business, foundation, a donor, the Community Foundation, or a special partnership. This type of fund allows for flexible and innovative ways to generate creative new approaches to address current challenges and opportunities throughout New Jersey.
Charitable organizations establish Agency Endowment Funds to help them meet both their current and future needs. The Foundation invests the endowment into a pool designed and managed for long-term charitable purposes, leaving the organization free to concentrate on its good works.
All Hands on Deck
When New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy and other civic leaders came together to launch the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund in March, we knew our work at the Community Foundation of New Jersey over the past forty years – in and out of emergency situations, and with philanthropic people of all stripes – prepared us for this moment.
We also knew it would be an “all hands on deck” project for our philanthropic staff. While the finance department structured the fund according to the wishes of the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund board – including processes to handle an influx of donations and donation types – our grants team supported the Fund’s grantmaking strategy and review process.
We’re especially proud of the Fund’s mission: to fight the medical, social, and economic impact of COVID-19 on New Jersey’s most vulnerable.
Despite the size and scope of this effort, the process is not all that different from the one we utilize for individual and family clients every day. The work of managing this $26.5 million fund (as of May 2020) continued apace with daily calls matching offers of help from other foundations, companies, and philanthropic families to critical needs in our communities.
Additional COVID-19 Resources
In addition to hosting the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund, CFNJ facilitated a spike in grantmaking from existing fundholders, maintained a real-time list of giving opportunities, and provided important technical information for the broader giving community.
Newark Working Kitchens
During this pandemic, Audible has doubled down on its commitment to Newark and leveraging its resources to help where they are needed most.
Audible launched Newark Working Kitchens (NWK), a fund at the Community Foundation, to help feed Newark residents in need and frontline healthcare workers while keeping local restaurants open and retaining jobs.
Every dollar raised by NWK goes directly to the purchase of a meal from a participating restaurant delivered to a Newark resident.
NWK is collaborating with world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson and World Central Kitchen’s #ChefsForAmerica to respond to COVID-19 food insecurities and economic hardships.
Together, they are providing thousands of meals a week from participating Newark restaurants and delivering them to first responders and the city’s residents.
Newark Working Kitchens is committed to keeping the city healthy, strong, and at work during this challenging time. Actor and Newark native Michael B. Jordan and Thrive Global are supporting the initiative in addition to Audible.
We at the Community Foundation of New Jersey are heartbroken by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the many senseless deaths that have preceded it. The racism and violence that persists in too many of our communities is a stirring reminder of the work in front of us.
George Floyd’s death was met with righteous anger at a system that has failed too many, and it triggered protests the world over. We take heart that protests in Newark, Paterson, Camden, and Englewood were largely peaceful events. We are also inspired by Camden Police Chief Joseph Wysocki who helped lead the way in Camden’s protest march.
This moment of heightened anxiety ultimately calls for renewed commitment among New Jersey’s critical institutions to racial equity. We remain proud of our work to reform New Jersey’s juvenile justice system – which has long disproportionately impacted African American youth – and to expand educational and nutritional opportunities in our state’s lowest-income communities, but we know that inequities run far too deep to claim success. There is much more work ahead of us.
Our communities have always responded to crises, such as natural disasters and this COVID-19 pandemic, with enormous generosity. What is so challenging now, is to bring the same urgency to a problem that is so deeply rooted and frustratingly intractable. We are searching for effective ways to respond to this moment and we welcome your input and ideas. We know we must stand together and support partners in the community working to create and sustain a more just, equal, and fair future for us all.
A Gathering of Givers
One hundred years after women first won the right to vote, and in celebration of International Women’s Day 2020, hundreds of women came together as a Gathering of Givers to hear women’s powerful voices as they shape all aspects of our collective lives: through awe-inspiring artistic expression, increasing political representation and power, transformative social service to others, through education opportunities and economic empowerment, and as crafters of the written and spoken word.
CFNJ was pleased to partner with event host, Women@NJPAC, as well as Impact100 Essex to hear a diverse array of women share their voices, and inspire us to reach higher in making our communities, our state and our world a better place today and for the next generation.
Making the Dream of a College Education a Reality
$1.2 Million in Fall 2019 Scholarships
CFNJ granted a total of $1,268,183 in scholarships to 279 students for the Fall 2019 term. The scholarship awards come from funds CFNJ manages on behalf of philanthropic families and companies.
These funds vary widely in their emphasis, focusing on different fields of study, specific schools (such as students graduating from Chatham High School or those attending Seton Hall University), the fundholder’s values, and even the relationship of the recipients to specific companies, communities, or under-served groups. Recipients of CFNJ scholarships are currently attending more than 100 colleges, universities, high schools, or trade schools.
What motivates so many Community Foundation fundholders to provide scholarships is the ability to make education a reality for someone or many people in need. Our scholarship team handles all aspects of the scholarship, from criteria to applications to awards. We remove the administrative burden so that New Jersey philanthropists can focus on what matters most to them: making a real difference.
Extending Philanthropy’s Impact in Morris and Somerset Counties
The Visiting Nurse Association of Somerset Hills (VNASH), a provider of home and community-based healthcare services, last year established the Somerset Hills Community Health Foundation (SHCHF), a donor advised fund at CFNJ. The creation of this foundation coincides with the announcement that VNASH joined the Atlantic Health System family to form Atlantic Visiting Nurse.
“We are honored to support the Somerset Hills Community Health Foundation as a catalyst for change in our communities,” said Dennis Wilson, Chair of CFNJ. “Building on VNASH’s decades of good works, we will bring the best of our investment expertise together with our community insights to help SHCHF make the greatest impact on pressing health concerns across the counties they have served.”
From Paterson to Panama
Fundholder Opens a World of Opportunity
Back in 2010, this fundholder – who likes to remain anonymous – told us that he wanted to turn this passion into effective philanthropy.
We got to work – researching what goes into a successful summer job program, getting a handle on the available programs in the area he cared about, speaking with employers and employees, conducting site visits, and ultimately recommending a series of options based on our research and benchmarking.
Every summer since, the fundholder has supported summer job programs at a half dozen organizations such as City Green in Clifton.
Hundreds of young people have held summer jobs as a result of this fundholder’s generosity.
Impact 100 Giving Circles Near $3.5 Million in Gifts to Date
Collective giving continues its rapid growth, with CFNJ’s four Impact 100 groups – Impact 100 Garden State, Impact100 Essex, Impact 100 Jersey Coast, and Impact 100 South Jersey – having brought together more than 1,100 New Jersey women to make $3,488,500 in grants to nonprofit organizations. Most grants were for more than $100,000, with some smaller awards to additional finalists.
“This abundant philanthropy is a testament to New Jersey’s rich civic life and the fundamental concern and compassion New Jerseyans have for each other,” said First Lady Tammy Snyder Murphy. “It is also the story of the ‘changing face’ of philanthropy, with more women than ever before actively participating in impact-driven philanthropy.”
New to the Workplace: A Proven and Popular Philanthropic Option
If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.
This African proverb perfectly encapsulates why thousands of community-minded Americans are coming together in giving circles, whether through an Impact 100 group (as above) or their employer or neighborhood. It is, perhaps, not a coincidence that the increased popularity of giving circles coincides with sky-high consumer and employee expectations of corporate citizenship. These trends are leading many companies to re-evaluate the ways in which they engage both stakeholder groups in their giving.
Giving circles are a quintessential “employee engagement” with numerous added benefits for employees and employers alike.
‘Affiliated Funds’ Offer a New Way for Private Foundations to Leverage CFNJ Support
Through this new partnership, The Ruth Gottscho Kidney Foundation will utilize the grantmaking and administrative support services of CFNJ, thus obviating the need for its own staff and enabling the Foundation to focus on what it does best: to make the dream of summer camp a reality for children with kidney disorders.
For Judy Gottscho Eichinger, chair of the Ruth Gottscho Kidney Foundation and sister to the late Ruth Gottscho, the decision to partner with CFNJ was a natural one, given CFNJ’s reputation and fiduciary duty of stewarding philanthropic programs such that they become philanthropic legacies that are faithful to a donor’s original intent, yet reflective of evolving needs.
The Ruth Gottscho Kidney Foundation’s board will remain in place and will determine its grants now and into the future.
Transform South Jersey
In the summer of 2019, the Community Foundation of South Jersey launched Transform South Jersey, a new initiative to strengthen the social, cultural, and economic vibrancy of South Jersey communities by activating residents to influence community development and shape the future based on what matters most to them.
Residents, business owners, civic groups, nonprofit organizations, representatives of local government, and other civic leaders were invited to nominate their South Jersey towns to become a Transform South Jersey Heart & Soul Community.
More than 30 towns applied and in so doing, mobilized their residents, held a series of community events, completed learning & readiness activities, and built momentum to push their towns forward. All involved put forth a tremendous amount of effort. After a whirlwind of an application process, the Community Foundation of South Jersey announced the inaugural cohort of Transform South Jersey Heart & Soul Communities:
- Atlantic County – Town of Hammonton
- Burlington County – Willingboro Township
- Camden County – Winslow Township
- Cumberland County – Downe Township
- Salem County – City of Salem
CFNJ Commits $100,000 to Census 2020 Efforts
In March, CFNJ announced an $80,000 contribution toward a pooled fund focused on ensuring an accurate and complete census count in New Jersey in 2020. This followed a $20,000 grant to the Paterson Alliance in 2019 to help in creating an effective task force to ensure all Paterson residents are counted in the 2020 Census.
The pooled fund, housed at the Princeton Area Community Foundation, includes funds from the Nicholson Foundation and the Geraldi
ne R. Dodge Foundation. The purpose of the pooled fund is to more effectively collect and deploy resources in support of a complete census count in New Jersey.
Stewardship for Today and Tomorrow
To ensure every donor family that its philanthropic legacy will be permanent, continuous, and relevant through time, our Board of Trustees has always been comprised of accomplished leaders in civic circles and the business world. The stewardship of our mission and funds is currently entrusted to the following members.
Dawn M. Lauer
Barbara L. Lawrence
Tamara L. Linde
Kimberly Banks MacKay
Helen M-S Mazarakis
Frederick K. Schoenbrodt, II
Dennis Wilson, Chair