2020-2021 REVIEW

A Year Like No Other

In forty years of service to charitable individuals and families, the Community Foundation of New Jersey has never had a year like 2020. More donations were made on behalf of more fundholders to more communities than ever before.

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic dominated much of the past year’s philanthropy. We are proud of the Community Foundation’s leadership role in hosting the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund, which has committed more than $61 million to more than 500 organizations. These grants are transforming communities and empowering neighborhoods to overcome the social, economic, and health-related impacts of COVID-19.

While fundholders at the Community Foundation were a key driver behind this pandemic-focused philanthropy, it was hardly their only focus. In fact, the range of our fundholders’ philanthropic pursuits inspire us every day – from the coat drive in Toms River to the treatment of clubfoot in Tanzania. It remains our privilege to steward this critical giving.

We are pleased to share some highlights of our collective work over the past year, through the lens of how we adapt to the varying needs of those we serve. The Community Foundation of New Jersey is many different things to many different people. Here we highlight a few.

Facilitator | Statewide Grantmaker | Thought Leader | Home for Civic Investment

Reflection of our Communities | Social Justice Advocate | Incubator

Partner | Steward of Legacies | Convener | Host | Changemaker

Hans Dekker, President                                 Tamara Linde, Chair

Giving Tops $87.5 Million in 2020

Community Foundation as facilitator of philanthropy

We are truly fortunate to live in such a charitable and generous state. When many of our neighbors were struggling, our community stepped up. We thank and congratulate the 1,141 fundholders at the Community Foundation of New Jersey who collectively achieved a record in New Jersey philanthropic giving.

The Community Foundation of New Jersey celebrates the leadership of Dennis Wilson as Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 2018 through 2020.

Welcoming our new Board Chair, Tamara Linde

The Community Foundation of New Jersey is pleased to welcome Tamara Linde, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PSEG) and its subsidiaries, as the new Chair of our Board of Trustees.

Philanthropy in our communities has never been more critical, and Tammy knows it will take a focused, results-driven lens to ensure our fundholders’ dollars are delivering the greatest possible impact in these challenging times. Tammy has the ideal experience and knowledge to not only continue our Board’s strong leadership, but also help the Foundation serve as a catalyst for stronger, more resilient communities.

New Jersey Pandemic Relief

Community Foundation as statewide grantmaker

The COVID-19 pandemic was a significant driver of the past year’s philanthropy, particularly after New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy and other civic leaders came to the Community Foundation to create and host the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund.

The Fund raised more than $65 million from thousands of donors, including as part of the popular ‘Jersey 4 Jersey’ broadcast featuring Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, and many other New Jersey celebrities. The Community Foundation has committed more than $61 million from the fund to more than 500 worthy nonprofit organizations providing critical support services through the pandemic.

NJPRF and Overdeck Family Foundation Partner with TCNJ to Launch Summer Tutoring Corps Program to Tackle COVID-Related Learning Loss

To accelerate student learninand address COVID-related learning loss, the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund, in conjunction with Overdeck Family Foundation, partnered with The College of New Jersey’s (TCNJ) School of Education to launch the NJ Summer Tutoring Corps Program. The program will provide tutorinthis summer for thousands of K–5 students who have experienced pandemic-related learning loss.  

TCNJ designed the NJ Summer Tutoring Corps Program based on best practices from other statewide initiatives and research that has consistently demonstrated the power of small-group tutoring to address students’ academic and social-emotional needs and the potential of summer to offer extended learning time.  

“NJPRF is proud to collaborate with Overdeck Family Foundation and TCNJ to help New Jersey’s students bridge the learning gap created by the COVID pandemic,” said New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy, Founding Chair of the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund. “TCNJ’s incredible history in training the next generation of New Jersey educators makes them the perfect partner and facilitator for this crucial program.”  

Tapping Philanthropy’s Spike for Long-Term Priorities

Community Foundation as thought leader

The year 2020 was, in a word, volatile. The back and forth among political partisans on foundational issues such as equity, expression, and race marked a volatile year in our civic squares.

The ups and downs in the market, interest rates, and unemployment marked an historically volatile year for the American economy.

Volatility transcended our social norms, our cultural appetites, our media consumption, and even our charitable giving.

While municipalities have had to endure this volatility and deliver consistent service on behalf of residents, there is an opportunity to leverage at least one aspect of this volatility – charitable giving from residents – in ways that lead to maximum, long-term benefit.

Click here for our op-ed in Municipalities magazine.

Leveraging Private Sector Philanthropy for Community Benefit

Community Foundation as home for civic investment

New in 2020, the Community Foundation emphasized its unique position as a home for private philanthropic investment in New Jersey and its communities. Working together with the public sector, foundations, corporations, and philanthropic individuals, CFNJ offers a turnkey solution for implementing civic efforts.

As the leading philanthropic fiduciary focused on all New Jersey communities, CFNJ is uniquely positioned to address our state’s emerging challenges, support innovative solutions, and administer philanthropy in a targeted, results-driven, and cost-effective way.

Princeton Property Tax Relief Fund

As part of a settlement of litigation between several Princeton taxpayers and Princeton University regarding the latter’s property tax exemptions, the University agreed to provide additional property tax relief aid to qualifying homeowners. The University needed a fiduciary to process the large number of payments and turned to CFNJ to administer all aspects of the program, including disbursing all payments to homeowners.

Newark Tech Fund

In partnership with the Victoria Foundation, CFNJ corralled support among interested fundholders to expand access to education-related technology in targeted Newark communities. Tens of thousands of Newark children and families ultimately benefited from new Chromebooks and better at-home WiFi connections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Newark Guaranteed Income

CFNJ serves as the fiscal sponsor for the Newark Movement for Economic Equity, a two-year research study that will give a guaranteed income, or unconditional cash payments, to Newark residents. The city will start with an initial cohort of 30 residents before scaling to 400 residents in Fall 2021. In the past twenty years, Newark’s median income has declined by 10% and it is significantly lower than the national rate.

State Commissions & Studies

Private sector funding for the New Jersey Pension and Health Benefit Study Commission was hosted at CFNJ to support the Commission’s recommendations for how New Jersey can create a sustainable retirement and health benefits system. CFNJ hosted McKinsey & Company in their work in support of Governor-elect Phil Murphy’s Transition Committee. McKinsey analyzed all aspects of government services for the incoming administration.

Financial Empowerment Center Opens in Paterson

In January, the City of Paterson launched a Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) through which residents will receive one-on-one financial counseling. The FEC’s focus is on helping residents not only navigate complicated personal finance choices, but also avoid financial scams. The program is funded by a grant from the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, which the Community Foundation of New Jersey will steward and augment with private donations.

Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh hopes to reach 100 residents per month through the FEC, with trainings facilitated by the United Way of Passaic County.

Welcome our New Trustees

Community Foundation as reflection of our communities

Rhonda Crichlow

As Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer for Charter Communications, Rhonda Crichlow is responsible for the development and management of Charter’s diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategy, including the company’s D&I Center of Excellence.  She also leads the company’s Community Impact function, focused on strategic philanthropic investments and programs within the company’s 41-state footprint.

Prior to joining Charter, Rhonda led Diversity & Inclusion at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.  As a tax attorney specializing in federal litigation and business planning matters for more than a decade, Rhonda advised leading corporations and institutions on complex tax matters.  She began her career as a federal judicial law clerk for the Honorable Ronald L. Buckwalter in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Marc Adee

Marc Adee is CEO of Crum & Forster (C&F), a leading national property and casualty company. Founded in 1822, C&F is one of the country’s oldest insurance companies, and today has 2,300 employees in nearly 50 locations conducting business through a network of independent agents, brokers and wholesalers.

Marc is a member of the American Academy of Actuaries and a fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society. He serves on the boards of several organizations, including the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, the Foundation for Morristown Medical Center, the Tri-County Scholarship Fund, and Maurice R. Greenberg School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science.

Chartering a new path: Racial equity

Community Foundation as social justice advocate

The clarion call for racial equity in all aspects of civic life, including philanthropy, has been increasing in intensity over the last few years. We have witnessed example after example of the great disparities facing people of African descent and other ethnic minorities in education, economic advancement, social justice, health outcomes, and access to housing. When the news of George Floyd’s murder erupted, following a difficult three months of pandemic, quarantine and economic dislocation, the Community Foundation of New Jersey responded to the moment at hand with a statement of concern and outrage, and a promise for commitment to racial equity.

The Leadership Committee met in June 2020, and took up the issues raised in our statement to think about how we as an organization and civic community leader could address structural racism in our state and effect lasting change that leads to racial equity.  Following an earnest conversation among members and staff, the group came to consensus around a few principles of how to inform our work:

  • Conversations around race, and being anti-racist, are uncomfortable but necessary
  • Words are not enough; we have to support those words with concrete actions
  • Remove bias from the grant selection process
  • Get at root causes, rather than applying Band-Aids, recognizing there will be urgent needs that require attention
  • Without advocacy and policy that affects systems change, direct services support alone is futile
  • Solutions to these difficult challenges will not be swift or easily tackled, but
  • Chipping away at the problem is important; focusing on the magnitude of the problem causes inaction
  • We have to start internally with a self-assessment.

The Community Foundation of New Jersey is committed to three critical actions: educate ourselves, use a racial equity lens to reflect on the Foundation’s processes and underpinnings, and educate and inform our current fundholders.

Start here, go anywhere: Miraclefeet

Community Foundation as incubator for great ideas

Great ideas come in all shapes and sizes, though they almost all need a little structure or organizing before becoming reality. At the Community Foundation of New Jersey, we have incubated great ideas that have morphed into impact-driven funds or even nonprofit organizations of their own.

MiracleFeet is one of them. This international nonprofit organization – which started as a fund at the Community Foundation of New Jersey – is on a mission to eliminate the leading cause of physical disability worldwide: clubfoot. We couldn’t be more proud of this now-international nonprofit organization that is changing countless lives on four continents.

“I wish that skeptics of humanitarian aid could have seen the baby get care from MiracleFeet and emerge with feet as good as anyone else’s. Now she’ll be able to walk and run, go to school and hold a job, support herself and her country. And the total cost? Less than $500 for transforming a life.” – Nicholas Kristoff

3,200 New Winter Coats Distributed to Kids through the South Jersey Funder Collaborative’s “Operation Warm Up Jersey Shore”

Community Foundation as local partner

This past winter saw a lot of snow in New Jersey, but that was all the more fun for 3,200 children in Monmouth and Ocean Counties who received new, warm winter coats. As part of the South Jersey Funder Collaborative’s “Operation Warm Up Jersey Shore,” the coats were purchased and distributed by partners including Fulfill, Operation Warm, Better Education for Kids, and the Community Foundation of South Jersey. The effort was, in fact, made possible by a grant from the South Jersey COVID-19 Response Fund, spearheaded by the Community Foundation of South Jersey, an affiliate of CFNJ.

Over two picture-perfect November days, hundreds of families attended drive-through events at Fulfill in Neptune and the Church of Grace and Peace in Toms River. Fulfill also provided each household with a meal kit including holiday favorites cookies and hot chocolate. Community volunteers and staff affiliated with the funding partners, Fulfill, and the Church of Grace and Peace did the heavy lifting loading the meal kits and coats into participants vehicles.

How it Works: Planned Giving

Community Foundation as steward of family legacies

Families who contribute to or establish Legacy Funds enable the Community Foundation to respond quickly and nimbly to ever-changing community needs. Because of the contemporaneous and local stewardship of these funds, they are often timeless in terms of impact.

Gathering of Givers: Reshaping our Communities and our World

Community Foundation as convener

As we begin to imagine our lives after the pandemic, we know that women’s needs and choices will be critical to how the world evolves. Will the millions of women who left the workforce last year rejoin it? How will workplaces be transformed? What conversations will women lead in the public square, and how will our art chronicle this moment? How will our philanthropy reshape our communities? How can women move the country toward greater social justice?

The third annual Gathering of Givers explored these pivotal questions and more on May 8th – International Women’s Day – through a virtual meet-up that brought together leaders from the worlds of philanthropy, art, activism, and business. The Community Foundation of New Jersey is proud to present the Gathering of Givers in partnership with Women@NJPAC and Impact100 Essex.

Impact 100 Giving Circles Reach $4 Million in Grants

Community Foundation as host

Collective giving has become a critical element of New Jersey’s philanthropy, especially during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The four Impact 100 collective giving groups hosted at the Community Foundation of New Jersey – Impact 100 Garden State, Impact100 Essex, Impact 100 Jersey Coast, and Impact 100 South Jersey – have so far brought together more than 1,100 New Jersey women to make $4 million in grants to nonprofit organizations. Most grants were for more than $100,000, with some smaller awards to additional finalists.

Leadership Work: Immigrant Families

Community Foundation as Changemaker

In late 2018, the Community Foundation of New Jersey, The Fund for New Jersey, and the Victoria Foundation banded together to form the Funder Collaborative for Immigrant Families supporting nonprofits working to make life better for immigrant families in New Jersey. Together with the Prudential Foundation, which provided critical initial support, and additional matching support from several national funders through Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, the Funder Collaborative first convened nonprofit leaders to identify key areas of focus and then worked closely with them to seed new initiatives.

The work continues in 2021 as we work to improve the social and economic wellbeing of the more than 500,000 undocumented New Jersey residents, including more than 50,000 DACA eligible youth.

Distinctive Donor Advised Funds

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.

Current funds.

Legacy Funds

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.

Current funds.

Scholarship Funds

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.

Current funds.

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.

Current funds.

Special Projects

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.

Current funds.

Agency Endowment

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.

Current funds.

Thank you for your continued generosity!

For information on how to establish a fund:
Hans Dekker, President

Jordan Glatt, Director of Strategic Partnerships

For general information on the Foundation:
Faith Krueger, Chief Operating Officer

For information on grants and programming:
Margarethe Laurenzi, Chief Philanthropic Officer

For information on business advised funds and services:
Madeline Rivera, Program Officer

For information on scholarships:
Colleen Smith, Scholarship Program Officer

For information on investment and financial matters:
Carolyn Lange, Chief Financial Officer

For information on strategic partnerships:
Jordan Glatt, Director of Strategic Partnerships

To make a grant from a donor advised fund:
Viridiana Solis Roman, Donor Services

CFNJ’s Board

CFNJ’s Financials

Mailing Address:

Post Office Box 338

Morristown, NJ 07963-0338

Shipping Address:

35 Knox Hill Road

Morristown, NJ 07960

Phone: 973.267.5533

Fax: 973.267.2903