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Looking Back and Ahead

Looking Back and Ahead

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

I want to look back for a moment and then look ahead, as 2019 shapes up to be a busy and highly productive year for the Council and our members.

The look back is to December 14, when more than 120 of you participated in the Annual Meeting and Holiday Luncheon. This was my first time attending the event, and I was impressed by the remarkable spirit and camaraderie. I get the sense that this is a day that folks look forward to, and we’ll keep working to make sure it gets better all the time. We’re especially grateful that New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy was able to stop by and share remarks about the importance of your work to New Jersey’s wellbeing. You can relive the day here by looking at photos from the event.

Special thanks to everyone who completed the program evaluation. We read them carefully and they will inform this year’s event. One thing that stood out was the positive feeling about the location of the 2018 gathering. Attendees felt it was easy to get to by car or train and found the parking ample. It also was affirming to learn that most respondents said they gained insights into how their foundation’s values align with practices. 

Once more I want to thank our generous sponsors: Novartis – Signature Sponsor, The Prudential Foundation – Sustaining Sponsor, Novo Nordisk – Gift Sponsor, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey – Program Sponsor, and The Provident Bank Foundation – Performance Sponsor; and CNJG’s hardworking staff for making the 2018 Annual Meeting and Holiday Luncheon such a success.

My look ahead focuses on two events that are always important and this year take on even more significance.

The first is the annual Foundations on the Hill event set for March 11-13 in Washington, DC. The gathering is hosted by United Philanthropy Forum in partnership with philanthropy-serving organizations (including CNJG) across the county. It brings foundation leaders to DC to meet with members of Congress and their staffs about issues important to foundations, philanthropy, and nonprofits. Over the years, CNJG members have found this to be very useful interaction. This year, New Jersey has four new members of the House of Representatives: Reps. Andy Kim, Tom Malinowski, Mikie Sherril, and Jeff Van Drew. We look forward to getting to know them and helping to make sure they are well aware of the good work New Jersey philanthropies do in their districts. Click here for more information. 

Secondly, the biennial Spring Conference is taking shape. This year, we’re devoting the entire day to a single topic of huge importance to philanthropy’s work in New Jersey: the 2020 Census. The Census always is a big deal, and this year it’s even more so because of some issues that could threaten the accuracy of the count:

  • For the first time, the majority of Census information will be collected online. This is a sea change from the past, and could affect people with less Internet access, including seniors, rural and economically struggling communities, immigrants, etc.  
  • Concerns about cyber security and threats that could compromise the information gathered are being voiced, given recent security breaches at corporations, government, and social media vehicles. 
  • Community outreach will be severely scaled back, with fewer Census takers hired to conduct canvassing operations and go door to door.
  • The inclusion of a citizenship question is expected to depress the count. An undercount will affect how the federal government distributes funding for services ranging from highway construction to food stamps to Pell Grants.
  • Some officials are working to politicize what should be a nonpartisan activity whose only aim is to collect objective date on all residents of the United States. 

It’s hard to imagine a philanthropy or nonprofit grantee in New Jersey whose work – and effectiveness – isn’t in some way tied to the accuracy of the Census. The speakers we’re inviting and the sessions we’re designing will be aimed at giving you lots of information and ideas you can use to get informed, get involved, and get your grantees engaged. New Jersey can’t afford for anyone to sit out next year’s Census: not residents or the nonprofit community. We’ll let you know the date of the Spring Conference soon and share all the details as they take form.


Jon Shure, Interim President/CEO
Council of New Jersey Grantmakers