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Longtime Grantmaker Will Help Strengthen NJ Philanthropies’ Pandemic Response

Longtime Grantmaker Will Help Strengthen NJ Philanthropies’ Pandemic Response

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Council of New Jersey Grantmakers is pleased to announce the appointment of one of the state’s most experienced philanthropic veterans to assist New Jersey’s giving sector in coordinating support for relief and long-term recovery efforts in response to the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lois W. Greco, who played strategic roles in the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation and other philanthropic organizations for more than 20 years, will serve as senior project advisor helping to create a Learning Community among New Jersey funders, to develop and share best practices for responding to the unprecedented health and economic crisis emerging from the COVID 19 Pandemic.

The NJ COVID-19 Fund Learning Community is a group of New Jersey-based philanthropic funds that have come together to:

  • Get timely updates on what is happening in New Jersey during the pandemic
  • Share information about what services and help are needed most -- and where
  • Explore potential strategies to make more effective grantmaking investments in response to identified needs

Initial members will be philanthropic organizations and funds specifically established to help local communities, residents, nonprofits, and businesses throughout New Jersey respond to this crisis. These “pooled funds,” accept contributions of any amount of money from individuals, businesses, companies, and others. The host organization then distributes the collected funds as specified by the donor.

“We’re pleased that Lois is willing and able to help us with this ambitious project,” said CNJG President and CEO Maria Vizcarrondo. “New Jersey’s philanthropic sector has come together again, just as it did in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, to partner on meeting monumental needs. We hope this collaborative learning and systems-change approach will become a model for our philanthropic sector in addressing other issues that plague our most vulnerable people and communities.”

The Council of New Jersey Grantmakers is a nonprofit organization that exists to strengthen and promote effective philanthropy throughout the state. It supports independent, corporate, family and community foundations, as well as public grantmakers, in addressing society’s most difficult problems and providing leadership on statewide issues. Greco, a Williamstown resident, said, “I’m excited to be helping my longtime philanthropic partners and colleagues work collaboratively to build the resiliency of New Jersey’s communities.”

The Learning Community, which launched with a grant from New Jersey Health Initiatives, is built around the Center for Disaster Philanthropy's key principles of grantmaking:

  • Resilience, to improve communities holistically and make them stronger than before a disaster.
  • Equity, to take historical injustices into account and inform investments.
  • Sustainability, to take into account a long-term view and factor in uncertainty.
  • Civic participation that equips and empowers those often left out to influence what happens in their communities.

To support this Learning Community, participants will provide CNJG with their grants-award information so CNJG can track grantmaking against needs to identify potential gaps. As a result, philanthropies can more effectively partner with each other and engage other public and private funders to direct near-term resources to fill gaps in need; explore root causes of disproportionate need over the midterm:, and, over the long term, advocate for policies and fund new programs to help correct systemic problems that prevent communities from thriving.