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Reflections on the Past 8 Months

Reflections on the Past 8 Months

Friday, October 9, 2020

Like many of you, the CNJG team experienced a myriad of changes to our business model during the past 8 months that gave us pause, as well as a sense of humility, as we pressed on to continue meeting the needs of our members. As we reflect on the work accomplished during this time, I’m confident we’ve met the challenges and elevated our arsenal of skills with working virtually to convene, inform and connect members as you - in turn - focused on the needs of your partners and the community at large. What we realize going into the fall, is that things will never go back to the way things were before the pandemic, and in some ways that is not a bad thing.
 
This crisis exposed the disparities in our communities that can no longer be ignored or hidden in the shadows. The philanthropic community must re-examine its long-established traditions as we recover from this crisis and invest in populations and communities that have been under-resourced for decades.
 
Subsequently, we are pleased CNJG’s Board of Trustees has endorsed the creation of a Racial Equity Taskforce to design an equity framework that supports the work of philanthropy in the new normal. We look forward to defining our purpose in the social justice arena, creating mentorship opportunities, and facilitating growth internally and externally for the members.
 
And there’s much more to come over the remaining months of this year.
 
Registration just opened for our first-ever virtual Annual Meeting & Holiday Gathering. We’ll hold the event over two days, December 7 and 8. Our central theme couldn’t be more timely, and will focus on the many ways philanthropy can use data for social impact and turn evidence into action. Thank you to our sponsors to date: Signature Sponsors Novartis and PSEG, Sustaining Sponsors Prudential and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Gift Sponsor Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Performance Sponsor The Provident Bank Foundation. Please reach out to me if you would like to sponsor this very special event.
 
We’ve also embarked upon Series II of the COVID-19 Funder Briefings. We heard from Sally Ray, Center for Disaster Philanthropy and Keith Adams, NJVOAD during our September 14 webinar. Earlier this week, Ryan Haygood, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and Pat Eng, AAPIP led us through a discussion focused on fighting for racial justice during a pandemic. Our next briefing on 10/13 looks at the vital role of NJ local news in midst of COVID. Later in the year, the series will examine how the coronavirus has impacted people with disabilities, immigrants, and the role philanthropy can play to address justice issues. 
 
Clearly there’s a lot happening at the Council…
 
Autumn has roared in, much as the entire year has been roaring through. And roaring through describes how we are all coping. Please take care. I look forward to connecting with you virtually.
 
Sincerely,

Maria Vizcarrondo, President and CEO
Council of New Jersey Grantmakers