Community Foundation Fundholders Give More than $100 Million in 2021

The Community Foundation of New Jersey (CFNJ) today thanked its 1,174 fundholders for making 7,907 philanthropic gifts to worthy causes and communities in 2021 totaling $103 million. The total dollar amount of grants is a record for the Community Foundation, following annual grantmaking of $87.5 million in 2020 and $57.8 million in 2019.

CFNJ currently stewards over $800 million in charitable assets, making grants to nonprofit organizations in line with the advice of active fundholders or the philanthropic goals of those who leave bequests. Seventy-seven new funds were established in 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic was once again a significant driver of the year’s philanthropy, with the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund raising more than $65 million since the pandemic’s start and granting those dollars out throughout the state. The Community Foundation concurrently focused its own discretionary dollars on the increased medical and behavioral health needs that have grown out of the pandemic, particularly for children in abusive settings and public-school nurses.

“The nature and volume of community needs have changed markedly since the start of the pandemic, and we’re grateful that our fundholders and other charitable New Jerseyans have not only pivoted accordingly, but also greatly increased their giving to meet these needs,” said Hans Dekker, the Community Foundation’s president. “Looking ahead, to ensure these communities are better, stronger, and healthier in the long-term, we are going to have to address the pervasive economic exclusion that is holding too many people back. We’re confident charitable New Jerseyans will join us in that effort.”

In 2021, the Community Foundation’s Leadership Committee focused discretionary funding more intentionally towards systems change. Specifically, the Leadership Committee provided broad institutional support to three critical organizations on the frontlines of reform work: the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, New Jersey Policy Perspective, and Advocates for Children of New Jersey.

Highlights of the year’s giving and impact include:

$10 million in grants to 139 dedicated nonprofit organizations doing exemplary pandemic relief work at the state and local level, thanks to the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund
An additional $6 million in direct cash assistance targeting more than 18,000 of our state’s most vulnerable individuals and families, including higher education students, who did not benefit from government stimulus checks, also thanks to the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund
A new endowment to maintain Branch Brook Park in Newark, the nation’s first county park and home to the largest collection of cherry blossom trees in the United States
A new partnership among nonprofits and the State Department of Families and Children – Powerful Families, Powerful Communities NJ – to reduce the number of children in New Jersey’s foster care system and improve the life outcomes for those in the system
Successful advocacy for a statewide, state-funded legal representation program for unaccompanied immigrant children – only the second in the nation – thanks to the efforts of the NJ Consortium for Immigrant Children, a collaborative fund at the Community Foundation
$500,000 to support healthcare programming in Morris and Sussex counties, thanks to the Somerset Hills Community Health Foundation, a fund at the Community Foundation
$70,000 toward the professional development of public school nurses in Morris and Sussex counties, in partnership with the Mental Health Association of New Jersey, as school nurses continue to balance the physical and emotional health of students, families, colleagues, and themselves amidst COVID-19
$25,000 toward the financial empowerment of Paterson residents, through one-on-one financial counseling at the Paterson Financial Empowerment Center, which the Community Foundation helped launch in 2021
$1.48 million in scholarships to help 250 students at 124 different institutions achieve their dreams of a college or vocational education, thanks to more than 125 individual scholarship funds at the Community Foundation
Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities, has previously named the Community Foundation of New Jersey one of the top ten community foundations in the United States and one of the top ten charities in New Jersey, owing to its high scores on financial accountability and transparency metrics.

About the Community Foundation of New Jersey

The Community Foundation of New Jersey creates and scales custom solutions for purpose-driven individuals, families, and businesses. From creative projects that tackle critical societal or policy issues to scholarship funds, corporate philanthropy, legacy funds and donor advised funds, CFNJ manages nearly every kind of giving vehicle and tailors solutions to meet critical needs. CFNJ’s team of specialists understand the unique contours of communities and manage the scope of CFNJ investment and grantmaking capabilities with precision. With $800 million in assets, the Community Foundation grants tens of millions of dollars each year through its more than 1,100 funds. In 2021, CFNJ granted more than $100 million to nonprofits in New Jersey and beyond.

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