Executive Director, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation
Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP has been helping enhance communities for more than 30 years as an author, community economic development professional, creative placemaker, educator, journalist and urban planner.
He founded and directed two organizations that helped grow the field of creative placemaking around the United States through innovative convenings and professional development programs: The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking and Creative Placemaking Communities. Together, these organizations engaged more than 8,000 people from the worlds of arts, cultural heritage, public policy and more to explore ways to leverage the power of arts and culture to enhance communities.
Leo has been recognized nationally and in New Jersey for his work in urban planning, creative placemaking and social justice. In 2012, he won the American Planning Association’s National Planning Leadership Award for Advancing Diversity and Social Justice in Honor of Paul Davidoff. He also wrote or contributed to plans that won statewide awards form the APA’s New Jersey Chapter and New Jersey Future.
Leo has won a national award from the American Planning Association (APA) for his work in urban planning and social justice. His work in community engagement and creative placemaking also led to receiving state and national awards from the association.
He is the co-editor of Diálogos: Placemaking in Latino Communities, and author of Leading from the Middle: Strategic Thinking for Urban Planning and Community Development Professionals. He is a co-founder of the Latinos and Planning division of the American Planning Association (APA), and is an advisor to the APA’s Arts and Planning Division.
Born in Argentina and raised on Staten Island, Leo has been a Jersey guy for more than 25 years. He lives in Maplewood.
Associate Director, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation
Danielle has been directing programs and funds at The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation (NNJCF) for over ten years. She is involved in all aspects of the organization and has worked to improve community life in the County by galvanizing and connecting people around various issues such as pediatric obesity, municipal shared services, and revitalizing downtowns via the arts. She also leads ArtsBergen, the NNJCF’s regional arts initiative to strengthen the arts community and connect the community to the arts.
Danielle has an extensive non-profit project administration background. For several years, she worked as a program manager in the field of arts-in-education, serving as the liaison between school personnel and teaching artists to design site-specific residencies for K-12 school children in the visual arts, music, dance, and theater. Danielle also administered an after-school arts program for youth-at-risk and assisted in running a summer artist institute for school teachers.
In 2013, she was certified as a Master Practitioner in Creative Placemaking, successfully completing Rutgers Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy’s year-long intensive program. Her final project was a white paper, Creative Placemaking in Englewood: Strategies Using Arts and Culture to Build a Unified Community and Boost Downtown Economy. She continues to champion creative placemaking – a planning practice that integrates arts and culture in a neighborhood, city block, town or region – as an impactful tool to build community and bolster local economy in Bergen County and the region. Danielle earned a dual BA in Communications and Art History from Fairfield University and completed a one-year post-graduate program in advertising/graphic design at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Administrative Assistant, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation