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Become a Member

Become a Member

Who We Are

The Council of New Jersey Grantmakers was created on the principle that philanthropy is more effective when grantmakers have the opportunity for communication, information exchange, and continuing education. CNJG became a unified project under the Community Foundation of New Jersey in 1990 and was established as an independent 501(c)3 organization in 1997.

Today, CNJG exists to strengthen and promote effective philanthropy throughout New Jersey. The leading resource for networking and information for New Jersey's philanthropic community, CNJG provides representatives of all types of grantmaking organizations with access to valuable services and meaningful activities to advance their work.

How to Join

“The Council provides a network where I can tap into colleagues who may have valuable experience with an issue, grantee or vendor.  In addition, Council research can prove extremely useful for any number of decisions, large or small.”
-Etta Denk, Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, Bank of America

Joining CNJG is easy. Just fill out and submit the appropriate application for your organization:
Grantmaking member application
Associate member application for CDFIs
Associate member application for philanthropic advisors

Soon after you submit the completed application, CNJG review the application, and will email you an invoice from which you can use to submit your membership payment by check, credit card (CNJG adds a 3% fee for credit card membership payments), or EFT.

Though subject to the board’s approval, we are typically able to activate a membership within 2-3 working days. In no time, you’ll be a member with full access to the unique value CNJG provides. See all of the benefits of CNJG membership under our Member Benefits page.

The membership period begins January 1st and runs through December 31. Grantmakers joining after July 1 will have their first year dues prorated. Dues are based on a donor or organization’s total annual grantmaking. Organizations may calculate their membership dues by using an average of their annual grantmaking over the past three years. Some members choose to make all or a portion of their dues in the form of a grant. For tax purposes, all dues in excess of $690 may be reasonably reported as a grant.

CNJG reserves the right to determine an organization’s eligibility for membership.


Membership Criteria

All members must meet the following membership criteria:

  1. A prospective member’s core interest in joining CNJG is a desire to improve the quality of its own grantmaking and to work with other members to improve the field of grantmaking and support the people, communities and nonprofits of New Jersey.
  2. The primary function of a prospective member is making charitable grants. Exceptions to this policy include, federated funds and public foundations.
  3. It is expected that the substantial amount of the organization’s activities should be centered on grantmaking. For corporate giving programs, the term “organization” refers to the corporate giving unit, not the entire corporation. Exceptions to this standard, noted above, include public foundations, private operating foundations, Federated Funds, individual members, and Associate members.
  4. The prospective member’s grant distributions are made primarily on a discretionary basis to multiple (two or more) nonprofit organizations that are not subsidiary or otherwise directly related to the prospective member. No more than 60% of the grants given should be directed to one organization (including subsidiaries).
  5. Organizations applying for membership must complete and submit a copy of the Member Profile form.
  6. Each member adheres to our non-solicitation policy (below).

Membership Policies

  1. The annual membership period is from January 1 to December 31. We appreciate pledges or payments by March 31. After July, we pro-rate new memberships for the remainder of the year.
  2. Grantmaking member dues for 2021 are based on an organization’s total annual grantmaking. Please calculate your dues using either option:
    Your 2019 giving (pre-COVID), or
    An average of the past three years of giving (2018, 2019, and 2020)
  3. Organizations headquartered or based within New Jersey base their dues on the organization’s total giving.
  4. Organizations located outside of New Jersey base their dues on their giving in New Jersey only.
  5. Dues for government agencies are based on a percentage (0.2%) of the Agency/Division administrative allocation/budget. If the agency does not have an administrative budget, dues will be based on the level of grants made each year (see standard dues structure).
  6. For foundations that are sunsetting, dues are based on 5% of the assets, rather than the annual grantmaking. Board minutes confirming the decision to sunset are required when joining.
  7. For United Way organizations that give grants, please base dues on your discretionary grantmaking only. Do not include your pass-through dollars.
  8. For Community Foundations, please base dues on all your grantmaking, including donor advised funds. Your DAF holders are most welcome to attend our programs as members. Please do not, however, include any nonprofit endowment funds that you might manage.
  9. Memberships are considered lapsed if, by July 1 of the membership year, CNJG has not received payment or a pledge to pay.
  10. If a non-member grantmaker attends three events/meetings, CNJG expects them to join the organization.
  11. CNJG’s Board of Directors’ retains final discretion on all matters concerning membership. If you are unsure of your organization’s eligibility, please contact CNJG.

Membership Categories

Grantmaking organizations eligible for CNJG membership include:

  • Community Foundations: A community foundation is a tax-exempt, nonprofit, autonomous, publicly supported, philanthropic institution composed primarily of permanent funds established by many separate donors for the long-term diverse, charitable benefit of the residents of a defined geographic area. Community foundations provide an array of services to donors who wish to establish endowed and non-endowed funds without incurring the administrative and legal costs of starting independent foundations.
  • Corporate Foundations: A corporate (company-sponsored) foundation is a private foundation that derives its grantmaking funds primarily from the contributions of a profit-making business. The company-sponsored foundation often maintains close ties with the donor company, but it is a separate, legal organization, sometimes with its own endowment, and is subject to the same rules and regulations as other private foundations.
  • Corporate Giving Programs: A corporate giving (direct giving) program is a grantmaking program established and administered within a profit-making company. Gifts or grants go directly to charitable organizations from the corporation. Corporate foundations/giving programs do not have a separate endowment; their expense is planned as part of the company's annual budgeting process and usually is funded with pre-tax income.
  • Donor Advised Funds: A fund may be classified as donor advised if it has at least three characteristics: (1) a donor or person appointed or designated by the donor has, or reasonably expects to have, advisory privileges with respect to the fund’s distributions or investments, (2) the fund is separately identified by reference to contributions of the donor(s), and (3) the fund is owned and controlled by a sponsoring organization, such as a community foundation. A fund possessing these characteristics may be exempt from the donor advised fund classification if it grants to one single public charity or government unit or if the fund meets certain requirements applicable to scholarship funds. Donor Advised Fund members are reminded that CNJG membership cannot be paid from the DAF, and must come from a different account, according to IRS regulations.
  • Family Foundations: A foundation whose funds are derived from members of a single family. At least one family member must continue to serve as an officer or board member of the foundation and they or their relatives play a significant role in governing and/or managing the foundation throughout its life. Most family foundations concentrate their giving locally, in their communities. “Family Foundation,” however, is not a legal term.
  • Federated Funds: A centralized campaign whereby an organization raises money for its member agencies. These annual workplace giving campaigns raise millions of dollars for distribution to local, state, and national nonprofit organizations.
  • Giving Circles: A collaborative philanthropy in which individual donors pool their money and other resources, and decide together how and where to give them away.
  • Government Grantmakers: A government agency that provides grants to 501(c)(3) organizations. Note: dues for Government Grantmakers are calculated differently: dues are based on a percentage (0.2%) of the Agency/Division administrative allocation/budget. If the agency does not have an administrative budget, dues will be based on the level of grants made each year (see standard dues structure on the membership application).
  • Independent Foundations: An individual usually founds these private foundations, sometimes by bequest. Sometimes individuals or groups of people, such as family members, form a foundation while the donors are still living. Many large independent foundations are no longer governed by members of the original donor's family, but are run by boards made up of community, business and academic leaders. They are occasionally termed “nonoperating” because they do not run their own programs.
  • Public Foundations: Also known as public grantmaking charities. Public foundations, along with community foundations, are recognized as public charities by the IRS. Although they may provide direct charitable services to the public and receive donations from the public as other nonprofits do, their primary focus is on grantmaking. To qualify for CNJG membership, a public foundation must spend the substantial amount of time and effort on grantmaking and no more than 60% of its grants should be directed to one organization.
  • Family Offices with Philanthropic Advisors: Not a formally-created foundation, but an office that should do, at least, half of the following:
    1. Help the principals to develop their grantmaking priorities
    2. Develop strategies for specific grantmaking program areas
    3. Craft or manage grant application procedures
    4. Research and/or forge relationships with prospective grantees
    5. Manage relationships with existing grantees
    6. Coordinate the grant evaluation process, including the creation of proposal dockets for board review
    7. Manage the disbursement of funds to grantees
    8. Develop and coordinate evaluation of grant outcomes
  • Philanthropic Individuals committed to sustained, strategic philanthropy and who are giving more than $20,000 annually to a variety of nonprofit organizations.

Non-grantmaking entities that support grantmaking can join as Associate Members of CNJG. The following are eligible for CNJG Associate Membership:

  • Philanthropic Advisors: Consultants engaged to advise individuals or companies on their grantmaking, and who are not working on an on-going basis for a specific foundation or family office, can join as a single individual. If a firm is interested in joining, thereby paying for all advisors to join, please contact CNJG to discuss. Philanthropic Advisors must conform to CNJG’s non-solicitation policy.
  • Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs): Private financial institutions that are fully dedicated to delivering responsible, affordable lending to help low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged people and communities join the economic mainstream. CDFIs that have any size of grantmaking portfolio should join as a Grantmaker member as a public Grantmaker. CDFIs that do not have a grantmaking portfolio, but are giving low-interest loans or making an impact through such vehicles can join as an Associate member.

Organizations that are typically not eligible for membership are:

  • Supporting Foundations: A supporting organization is a section 501(c)(3) organization that qualifies as a public charity (and not a private foundation) because it has a close relationship with another publicly supported section 501(c)(3) organization. Most often, these are hospital or university foundations. A supporting foundation acting as the fundraising arm for the hospital or university, is not eligible for membership because it does not meet the Council’s membership criteria to provide charitable support to two or more unrelated external organizations on an annual basis.
  • Private Operating Foundations: Private operating foundations must derive their annual budget from an endowment or from a sole donor or some other reliable source of income for which the foundation does not need to fundraise or solicit. Similar to supporting foundations, if a private operating foundation primary function is to be a fundraising arm for a nonprofit, and does not support two or more unrelated external organizations, it is not eligible for membership with CNJG.

Non-Solicitation Policy

CNJG strives to create a community of practice characterized by mutual respect and trust for philanthropy of all shapes and sizes to connect with each other thereby improving grantmaking in New Jersey.

In order to foster a safe, brave, and collegial place where members can share best practices and lessons learned, no fundraising is allowed at CNJG events. Collaborative grantmaking, however, is encouraged.

By joining CNJG, members agree to the following non-solicitation policy:

  • Soliciting funds, contracts, and consulting clients is strictly prohibited at all CNJG events (with the exception of sponsors and exhibitors for our signature events) and on our digital listservs and platforms.
  • For organizations that both raise funds and make grants, your participation in CNJG activities is as a grantmaker only. Staff whose functions are primarily fundraising (e.g., development staff) within institutions that are both grantseeking and grantmaking are not eligible for participation in CNJG activities, with the exception of our Spring Conference/Colloquium for the Social Sector.
  • Contact information on CNJG’s Member Directory and other lists is for networking purposes only. Please do not add contact information to your mailing list without an individual’s explicit permission. Please do not use email addresses, phone numbers, or other contact information for soliciting funds, business, or contracts. Please do not forward other members' contact information to grantseekers without their permission.
  • CNJG reserves the right to restrict the participation of individuals or organizations whose behavior contravenes the letter or spirit of our non-solicitation policy.

Membership Dues

Membership dues for grantmaking members follow the schedule below. Please refer to the Membership Policies section for additional specific guidelines for dues calculations.

Annual Giving Level 2021 CNJG Dues
$ 0 to $ 100,000 $ 690
$ 100,001 to $ 250,000 $ 825
$ 250,001 to $ 500,000 $ 1,275
$ 500,001 to $ 750,000 $ 1,640
$ 750,001 to $ 1 million $ 2,280
$ 1 million to $ 2 million $ 3,180
$ 2 million to $ 3 million $ 5,095
$ 3 million to $ 5 million $ 7,325
$ 5 million to $7.5 million $ 9,230
$ 7.5 million to $10 million $ 9,550
$ 10 million to $15 million $11,460
$ 15 million to $20 million $14,010
$ 20 million to $30 million $20,370
$ 30 million to $50 million $22,915
$ 50 million to $75 million $31,830
$ 75 million and above $37,130

Membership dues for Associate Members:
Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI’s) without grantmaking portfolios dues are $1,500 for the organization. A CDFI that has a grantmaking portfolio should base dues on that grantmaking portfolio according to the dues schedule above. As with our grantmaking members that are both grant seekers and grantmakers, please do not include any fundraising staff as part of the membership. For clarifications, please contact CNJG.

Dues for an individual philanthropic advisor are $1,500. If a firm is interested in joining to have more than one advisor on staff join, please contact CNJG to discuss.

To learn more about CNJG membership, contact Craig Weinrich.