Memorial Gift Provides Educational Opportunity

July 28, 2015

Joan and Katie never met and they probably never will. They come from different backgrounds and different parts of New Jersey.

But after Joan’s friend passed, and Katie’s job was reduced to part-time, the Community Foundation of New Jersey was able to align the two women’s unique goals for a common and important purpose.

For Katie, the reduction in hours at her job was a serious blow. She and her daughter had just found stability in their lives after overcoming their homelessness through a transitional housing program. Katie had eliminated her debts and found permanent, affordable housing. She was on her way to achieving her life’s goal of a GED when the work ran out. Without full-time hours, she could no longer save the funds to cover the two short courses standing between her and a diploma.

For Joan, the death of dear friend Jeannette D’Italia affected her deeply. As executive director of WomenRising, a community-based organization for Hudson County women, Jeannette had a passion – which Joan shared – for helping under-served populations get the support they need to realize their dreams. Joan recalls that Jeannette’s devotion to expanding women’s rights was inspiring and impactful.

To honor Jeannette’s life, Joan made a gift to the Community Foundation of New Jersey with a request that the dollars be used to help women students.

Not two months later, Homeless Solutions in Morristown reached out to the Community Foundation regarding Katie’s determination to pursue a GED despite the lack of funds.

The match was meant to be. The Community Foundation granted dollars in line with Joan’s philanthropic intent to the Morris Hills Adult School so that Katie could participate in the fall semester.

It’s not every day that a donor’s wish and a recipient’s request align so serendipitously. But it is why the Community Foundation’s staff work day and night to align fundholders’ philanthropic goals with the most worthy and impact-oriented opportunities.

The first step is giving us a call.

For purposes of confidentiality, Katie is a fictional name.