Community Foundation Week Celebrated

Community Foundation Week Celebrated

The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation joined more than 780 community foundations nationwide to celebrate Community Foundation Week, November 12 to 18. Created in 1989, the week raised awareness about the vital role foundations spearhead developing local collaboration and innovation to address civic and economic challenges.

Community Foundation Makes a Difference

The NNJCF’s mission is to improve community life through its work in education, public health, civic engagement, the arts, philanthropy, and the environment in the region. Central to its success is fostering collaboration among all community sectors. The Foundation joins with civic partners to answer, “What can we do together that we cannot alone?”.   The NNJCF and it President, Michael Shannon, received the Flat Rock Brook Nature Association’s Trustee Award.

Community foundations are independent, public entities that steward philanthropic resources from institutional and individual donors to local nonprofits.  They are the heart of strong, vibrant communities. “This year, the Foundation continued to partner with municipalities, non-profits, and community members to build stronger communities in Bergen County through creativity and collaboration. NNJCF has worked to use the arts as an economic and community development tool and funded public health and education initiatives to provide solutions to important issues,” said Shannon.

Art Connects Communities

NNJCF’s flagship initiative, ArtsBergen, worked with the Hackensack Main Street Business Alliance and Creative Hackensack to revitalize the downtown business district.  Furthermore, this was done through creative placemaking — the integration of arts and culture into an area to foster collaboration in communities. The NNJCF worked  on the Utility ARTBox project involving eight artists painting murals on eight utility boxes with anti-littering

During Community Foundatin Week, NNJCF highlights a collaborative, creative placemaking project.

Northern New Jersey Community Foundation showcases its collaborative work with the City of Hackensack during Community Foundation Week.

messaging. The Foundation also issued a Call to Artists for and managed the project, providing arts-based work opportunities for eight artists. A second project featured the public art installation, “Art on a Stick: Raccoons”, 40 anthropomorphic raccoons, animating and transforming spaces at the Johnson Public Library.

ArtsBergen presented four Connect the Dots networking and performance events focusing on creative placemaking.  The events attracted artists, municipal leaders, business owners, and others throughout the region. These area arts leaders facilitated the programs: Michael Bias from The Garage Theatre, Dusha Holmes II, Elissa Machlin-Lockwood from the Center for Modern Dance Education, and Leo Vasquez of The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking.

The Foundation advised organizations and municipalities about the benefits of creative placemaking. Staff also served on the Bergen LEADS’ seminar panel on the arts discussing the importance of creative placemaking in communities.

Grant Awards

The NNJCF is an independent, publicly supported philanthropic organization.  The Foundation gave people the opportunity to pursue their philanthropic interests through donor advised funds. This year, the NNJCF’s funds awarded grants from The Andrea Tilbian Halejian Memorial Fund to the Armenian

Andrea Tilbian Halejian

Andrea Tilbian Halejian

General Benevolent Union for Armenian Genocide education and provided a college scholarship from The Class of 1964 Ralph Gregg Memorial Scholarship. As a co-founder of Englewood Idol, the NNJCF awarded a grant to this event.  The program spotlighted the talent of up-and-coming teenage performers in the city to raise funds for the Dr. John Grieco Scholarship Fund. In addition, NNJCF awarded grants to support a creative placemaking conference, and an arts and music festival.  Grants also supported arts advocacy in New Jersey and for environmental purposes.

Civic Engagement

The organization assisted a local civic group to find a solution for the best use of a former school. In observance of Earth Month, NNJCF collected art supplies for the Teaneck Creek Conservancy’s art and science programs for children. In the area of public health, the NNJCF identified oral health as an issue in the county.  Oral care and dental hygiene products were collected for Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative’s underresourced patients.

For further information about the NNJCF, call 201-568-5608 or send an e-mail to  Contributions are welcome.  Make a check payable to NNJCF, located at 1 Grand Avenue, Suite 3, Englewood, NJ 07631. A donation may also be made online. Donations are tax-deductible, as permitted by law.

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