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Engage & Learn

Engage & Learn

Developed by and for grantmakers, CNJG events provide collaborative opportunities to enhance key skills and examine critical issues facing the state. Each year, CNJG provides grantmakers with practical, educational opportunities through dozens of funder briefings, affinity and interest groups, skill-building workshops and webinars, Conversations with the Cabinet, and signature events throughout the year for members to:

  • Share best practices in grantmaking, governance, administration, and other key areas
  • Explore the potential for strategic alliances and leveraging resources
  • Exchange successful strategies and details about past and upcoming projects
  • Engage in critical dialogues with policy and thought leaders 

Funders’ Briefings

“The programs and seminars that CNJG produces are always substantive.  From a professional development point of view Council membership is extremely cost effective.“
–Marion O’Neill, Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability, PSEG

Throughout the year, CNJG funder briefings provide a forum to exchange knowledge and insights relating to pressing societal issues that affect our day-to-day work. These events may include panel discussions, teleconferences and webinars. 


Corporate Skill-Building Curriculum

Maximizing Corporate Community Investments (MCCI) is a comprehensive and cutting-edge 6-part module curriculum on corporate giving designed for small to medium-sized corporate giving programs. The high-powered program - for both new and veteran corporate foundation and giving professionals - addresses the basic skills needed to build a strategic corporate giving program and the advanced skills to take an existing program to the next level. Part I focuses on uncovering the key business benefits of corporate philanthropy and understanding the many strategic variables to consider when establishing a corporate giving program. Part II discusses employee giving programs, in-kind giving, and how to effectively communicate giving programs to build brand awareness. Part III helps attendees develop the skills to measure the internal and external impact of their corporate giving, and readily communicate their organization’s corporate and community impact both internally and externally. With sponsorship support from TD Bank, this first-time series sold out in 2012. CNJG hopes to reprise this curriculum series every other year for corporate grantmakers.


Grantmaker Skill Building

As the social sector’s challenges and opportunities continue to grow in complexity and variety, it has never been more important for grantmakers to have the knowledge and tools they need to succeed. CNJG is an excellent source of timely skill-building programming for our members with a focus on due diligence, best practices, and the core techniques that assure proficiency in grantmaking and related work.

Whether you are a family, independent, or corporate foundation, CNJG offers professional development for all members. For example, our program “Due Diligence for Small Foundations” has helped participants understand the fiscal health of current and prospective grantees. Likewise, “How to Do a Site Visit” has given small foundations a working checklist of management and governance best practices to use when observing a non-profit in advance of funding.

Corporate grantmakers have also enthusiastically embraced our new six-part curriculum, “Maximizing Corporate Community Investments”, geared to the professional development needs of both new and veteran corporate funders, described in greater detail above. Two of CNJG’s most popular and fundamental professional development programs, “How to Read an Audit & Form 990” and “Due Diligence 2.0,” are open to all members and offered on annual basis.

CNJG strives to assist funders continually improve and achieve excellence in their work. We regularly develop skill-building topics with the input of our members and actively publicize our offerings through multiple media channels


Conversations With The Cabinet

Since 2006, CNJG has hosted a series of highly successful gatherings entitled Conversations with the Cabinet. These programs provide representatives of New jersey’s philanthropic community with the opportunity to learn first-hand the priorities, activities and goals of various departments of the current Governor’s administration. At each gathering, attendees discussed initiatives of mutual interest to government and the philanthropic community and opportunities for partnership to support the goals and missions of each.


Family Philanthropy Online

“Access to the Family Foundation teleconferences has been helpful. What we have listened to has been good, engaged  discussion germane to family foundations, in particular issues around multi-generational family philanthropy and the dynamics on such Boards.”
- Dillard Kirby, President & Director, F.M. Kirby Foundation

Each month, CNJG members have the opportunity to participate interactive teleconferences featuring presentations and Q&A sessions with nationally recognized experts in different areas of family philanthropy. Presented in partnership with the National Center for Family Philanthropy, these teleconferences take place on the second Thursday of each month and focus on a wide range of topics, including raising charitable children, effective family governance and new trends in family philanthropy.


Leadership Luncheons

Leadership Luncheons are held periodically, and are targeted to the senior leaders of staffed foundations making investments in New Jersey.


Signature Events

Each year, CNJG hosts a series of statewide signature events for New Jersey's philanthropic community. Our signature events bring funders and grantees together for shared learning and valuable Interaction.


Spring Event for the Social Sector

Each Spring, CNJG convenes a major gathering for the entire social sector -- funders and charities. Alternating between a half day Colloquium on the even years and a full day Conference on the odd years, CNJG's annual Spring gathering is the only event that is open to the public.

CNJG's Conference for Grantmakers

CNJG's Conference for Grantmakers brings together staff and trustees of all types and sizes of foundations for a day of networking and focused sessions dealing with key aspects of grantmaking, leadership, and management and operations.

CNJG's Spring Colloquium

Held for the first time in 2008, CNJG's Spring Colloquium focuses on critical trends and issues affecting foundations and the people and communities they serve. Past discussions have featured Governor Tom Kean with US Editor for the Economist Matthew Bishop, writer David Borestein and philosopher Anthony Appiah, and Idealist.org founder Ami Dar with Cindy Rizzo of the Arcus Foundation.


Investment Forum for Foundations and Endowments

Sustainable philanthropy thrives on careful stewardship of the corpus. With that in mind, CNJG created its biennial signature event, the Investment Forum for Foundations and Endowments, inaugurated in 2014 and held again in 2016 and 2018.

The Investment Forum offers a rare opportunity for leaders of private foundations and endowed charities in the Tri-State region to come face to face with leading professional advisors and investment experts to engage in discussion focused on successful endowment management. 2014’s inaugural event attracted more than 170 executives from foundations, endowed charities and other institutional investors for a day of education, insight and networking.

The discussion will continue at future Investment Forum events with key topics such as asset allocation strategy, factor-based portfolio construction, alternative investments, active vs. passive investing, opportunities in fixed income, corpus governance, changing and managing investment advisors, among others in a range of keynote speeches and interactive workshops.


Annual Meeting & Holiday Luncheon

Held each December, CNJG's Annual Meeting & Holiday Luncheon convenes representatives of foundations across the state for an afternoon of informal networking and reflection on challenges facing the field. Past Annual Meeting speakers have included Genius Grant winner Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, Author Peter Frumkin, Bridgespan Founder Tom Tierney and former NJ Attorney General Ann Milgram.