Over the past three months, as President and CEO of the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, I have had the absolute pleasure of reconnecting with former colleagues, as well as connecting with new ones that are engaged in the field of philanthropy.
I’ve had the pleasure of traveling to the nation’s capital with CNJG members to meet with our representatives, and articulate the issues that are important to NJ’s social sector. I‘ve participated in funder’s briefings, and heard firsthand the opinions and experiences of our members regarding challenges or promising practices for contemporary funding. And finally, I have had the opportunity to meet one on one with some of our members and their staff, and listened to their aspirations for the Council as we move forward under new leadership.
The common denominator in all these scenarios has been the desire to affect change through collective action, which is recognizing the power of collaboration. And that the social sector, both grantmakers and stakeholders, have the greatest impact when they work together.
While there are still many visits to be completed on my docket, that is my greatest takeaway.
That is why I am very excited at the direction taken for this year’s Spring Conference by focusing on the importance of the upcoming 2020 Census.
In an unprecedented move, the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers is dedicating the entire theme of our annual spring gathering to a single issue: the importance of the Census as a civic engagement process whose outcomes affect all sectors of the state and its residents.
National and regional experts will share information and tools to meet the many challenges communities across the state will face to be counted, including access to the Census, hard-to-count people, and funding cuts and changes in the process that could hamper participation.
Most importantly, this year’s Conference invokes a call to action to the CNJG membership to direct attention and energy at some level of engagement towards a complete count in their communities.
The Council will keep a high profile on this subject throughout the year and into next year, to support its members in every way possible to achieve this goal.
Please join us on June 11th at The Palace in Somerset, NJ and be counted! I look forward to seeing you.
Maria Vizcarrondo, President and CEO
Council of New Jersey Grantmakers