February 11, 2013
A tornado warning may have kept guests inside, but it did not stop the downpour of conversation at the Community Foundation of New Jersey’s (CFNJ) annual meeting last month.
Guests – from Board members and donors to nonprofit organization leaders – buzzed about effective giving, the latest trends in philanthropy, and some of the new and effective nonprofit programs around the State.
The meeting kicked off with a discussion of the tools and services CFNJ makes available to donors along with a fiscal report for the year. The numbers reflect the remarkable generosity of New Jersey’s philanthropic community. Grants to charities from donor advised funds between 2002 and 2012 had reached $215 million, new funds from 2002 to 2012 had reached $676 million, and contributions to the Community Foundation Funds from 2002 to 2010 had totaled $333 million.
Next, guests heard from leaders of several initiatives affiliated with CFNJ about how they are making a difference in the community.
Carole Garibaldi Rogers, whose family has its own donor advised fund at CFNJ, spoke about Impact 100 Garden State. The initiative is true to its name – 100 women (or more) come together every year and donate $1,000 each toward a total grant of $100,000. Every woman who contributes to the fund then votes on which nonprofit organization will receive the single, annual grant. The idea is to have a targeted and meaningful impact on one nonprofit program rather than to spread limited resources across numerous programs. The organization is in its formative stages and has benefited greatly from the available expertise and guidance of CFNJ staff, where the initiative is currently housed.
Next, guests heard from Bryan Morris of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at CUNY and Todd Clear of Rutgers University about Operation Ceasefire. This nationwide program, which has a track record of effectively reducing crime in troubled neighborhoods, is now targeting Newark with the support of CFNJ.
According to the speakers, research shows that crime rates in troubled areas are caused predominantly by an astonishingly small but active number of people locked in the group dynamics of gangs and drug crews. This program helps to eliminate crime by following three core concepts; the first of the concepts is to communicate to the community the call for violence to stop. The second is to communicate the consequences of continued violence; the third concept is a genuine offer to help those who want it. These three concepts, taken together, help strengthen the relationship between the police and the community, and allow the police to go after not only the high profile suspects, but also the associated group members as well.
CFNJ supports Operation Ceasefire with legacy funds that donors have entrusted to the Foundation to address critical community challenges. The strategy is a good fit for those dollars given the focus on improving conditions for Newark families.
Inspired by these and other stories, guests then heard from Hans Dekker, President of CFNJ, who encouraged everyone assembled to continue pursuing innovative solutions to New Jersey’s most pressing needs. CFNJ stands ready to be an active partner with any individual, family or business committed to making a positive difference in the community.