As Victoria Foundation approaches the end of a century of giving, we feel the time is right to take a step back and consider how to have the greatest possible impact in light of the needs, challenges, and opportunities Newark faces today.
Much has changed since Victoria trustees decided, in the aftermath of the 1967 rebellion, todirect most of the Foundation’s giving to assist children and families in Newark. In many ways, today’s Newark is a thriving city. Crime and unemployment have declined, and downtown enjoys a real estate boom. But progress is, to say the least, uneven. Most families in Newark struggle daily to make ends meet as they confront the debilitatingly narrow range of choices their economic situation offers.
The persistence of poverty and inequality in Newark, despite decades of dedicated efforts by nonprofits, community leaders, and local funders, is causing Victoria Foundation to reassess how best to use our resources. Like many of you, we are asking ourselves what we can do differently to attack the root causes of intergenerational poverty and community disinvestment. What can be done to shift the dynamics that reproduce them, year after year? History teaches us that these dynamics stem from structural and institutional racism and segregation, and that shifting them will not be easy. Trustees and staff feel the need to tackle these issues more directly and to work towards making Newark a place of broadly-shared prosperity and opportunity for all its residents.
So that we can devote our full attention to this ambitious undertaking, Victoria trustees have decided to make 2020 a year of planning and strategic assessment of the Foundation’spractices. During the 2020 planning year, Victoria will pause all regular grantmaking activities and will not accept proposals for review. With this in mind, Victoria trustees will award two- year grants to most grantees in 2019, approving support for 2020 programming in advance.