You are here

A New Year

A New Year

Friday, January 8, 2021

The beginning of a new year brings excitement, fresh energy and renewed resolve to move forward issues of consequence. It is also a time to reflect on the previous year’s accomplishments, reassess unfinished work, and redefine priorities. This “look forward – look back” dynamic is both exhilarating and daunting.

To say that 2020 was a challenging year is an understatement. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic tested the mettle of the social sector in our community and country to unprecedented proportions.

I am proud that in our most difficult moments, the philanthropic community pivoted quickly and effectively to provide the support required to assist stakeholders on the front lines of this disaster.

In support of this work, the CNJG team offered our members opportunities to convene and deliberate on best approaches to support their agency partners, learn from national experts of disaster philanthropy and collect data to target underrepresented communities. In partnership with the Center for Non-Profits, CNJG conducted regular surveys to update funders on the needs of stakeholders throughout the year.

While engaged in this work, CNJG acknowledged the institutional racism that compounded the effects of the pandemic on our most vulnerable populations. This resulted in the CNJG leadership publicly denouncing racism and exploring ways to assist its membership to address the issue as a movement.

As a result, the CNJG Board established a Racial Equity Taskforce that will be spending time and resources working with the help of its members to develop an anti-racist mission and vision for our organization.

While our major in-person events were cancelled in 2020, working virtually became the mainstay of CNJG, and as a result we were able to conduct most of our programming, including our Annual Meeting and Holiday Gathering, in that manner. All of our events for the first half of 2021 will be conducted virtually until further notice. This will include March’s Foundations on the Hill in partnership with United Philanthropy Forum.

We enter 2021, thanking William Engel for his service as Board Chair during these challenging times and welcoming Jeffrey Vega, President and CEO of the Princeton Area Community Foundation as his successor. We look forward to working with Jeff as we continue to unpack our “new normal“ work recognizing that the pandemic is still very much part of our reality.

Despite our collective sadness witnessing fellow Americans storming the Capitol Building on January 6, we are hopeful that 2021 will be a year of opportunity and growth for all of us in our work and in our personal lives. CNJG wishes all of our members a happy new year.

Maria Vizcarrondo, President and CEO
Council of New Jersey Grantmakers