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Difficult Times

Difficult Times

Friday, May 8, 2020

I want to begin by expressing my hope that you and your families are safe and well. I also want to extend my deepest sorrow over any losses this pandemic has created in your lives.

People that can, are working remotely, including the CNJG team and many of our members. The category of “essential workers” has been broadly expanded, and we are grateful to all of them for keeping us going and being there for us through it all. Unfortunately, many people who face inequity in their lives lack the luxury of working from home or practicing social distancing. As noted in the recent joint statement that CNJG put out with the Center for Non-Profits, marginalized people all too often bear the brunt not only of severe economic difficulties but also of bias and scapegoating. 

As I reach the first anniversary milestone of my tenure as your President and CEO, I can’t help feeling how completely different our world is now compared to then -- as the 2019 CNJG President’s Report shows. 

Last year at this time, we were days away from our spring conference. Today, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, large gatherings are being postponed, cancelled or reimagined as virtual events.

Regularly scheduled programs are taking a back seat as organizations adapt to meet the new needs of clients, constituents, and members.

CNJG is among the many organizations redefining their work to address the coronavirus pandemic. 

We were pleased to open up the COVID-19 Funders listserve and the Monday afternoon funders briefing webinars to nonmember grantmakers to help inform their decision-making in response to the crisis.

Our final COVID-19 Funders Briefing for Series I is scheduled for Monday, May 18. Memorial Day is the following Monday, on May 25 which will give us a natural break to consider parameters for a Series II. We will return to our structure of offering briefings to nonmember grantmakers for a nominal fee.

CNJG is a membership organization, and while it was critical to open Series I webinars to any funder, we rely on membership dues to underwrite the costs of this and all our programs and services for the philanthropic community.

And in looking ahead and following best and long-term recovery practices as outlined in the Disaster Philanthropy Playbook, we are convening leaders from the various NJ COVID-19 response funds to help them better coordinate their giving and make sure to use an equity lens to guide their grantmaking processes.

Thank you for everything you are doing to support CNJG and your other nonprofit partners during this difficult time. 


Maria Vizcarrondo, President and CEO
Council of New Jersey Grantmakers