Last month, the Council crossed an important milestone. We “launched” the Newark Philanthropic Liaison 3.0. What does this mean? It means we announced the appointment of Kevin Callaghan to lead the Office of the Newark Philanthropic Liaison along with the new goals and aspirations for this important partnership between Mayor Ras Baraka’s administration and the philanthropic community.
Kevin, who is known to many of you, follows Jeremy Johnson in this role, who so ably served as the Newark Philanthropic Liaison from its inception under then-Mayor Cory Booker, and through the election, transition and start of Mayor Ras Baraka’s term up until this past March. Today Jeremy is the Executive Director at the Newark Arts Council.
Kevin, who started in this role on September 1st, will leverage his experience over the last five years as the Program Officer at the Foundation for Newark’s Future, the local arm of national philanthropic funding donated to the City of Newark to improve education opportunities for youth. He most recently served as Project Lead on the City’s Summer Youth Employment Program. Kevin brings a passion for Newark and a real understanding of the value the Office brings to advancing the City.
Though it’s been nine years, it seems like only yesterday that far-sighted funders, the City of Newark and the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers came together to create the Philanthropic Liaison. Our objective was to increase and maximize contributions philanthropy had long made in helping improve the lives of the residents and institutions in New Jersey’s largest urban center by creating a deliberate process and relationship with the Mayor and the City’s Administration. The idea was simple but not easy -- convene, connect and leverage local, regional, and national philanthropic resources. Only the second formal partnership between a city and the philanthropic sector in the country, the Office continues to stand as a nationally acclaimed model for public-private alliances. We are all looking forward to working closely with Kevin as he hits the ground running this month serving as our new Newark Philanthropic Liaison. You can reach Kevin at [email protected].
My highlight of the past month is one I’ve been sharing with anyone who would listen – the Trenton Circus Squad. I was invited by Zoe Brooks, the organization’s Director to come see the final summer performance a few weeks ago. It was the best Friday afternoon I’ve had in months! Watching 20+ teenagers and “tweeners” juggle, walk on stilts, dance on unicycles, clown around, and even fly through the air on a trapeze was such joy. Based in the old Roebling Steel Factory in Trenton, the Squad works with young people (deliberately half Trenton/half suburbs) in 12-week cycles. Here is a video that will give you a taste.
Juggling on here in Trenton…
Nina Stack, President
Council of New Jersey Grantmakers