Climate Change, Food Insecurity Focus of Community Foundation Week

The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation joins community foundations nationwide to celebrate National Community Foundation Week, November 12-18, 2020. During National Community Foundation Week, the Foundation plans to undertake activities highlighting the leadership of young adults combating climate change and food insecurity, a growing concern in the region.

Climate Action Leaders

Youth Climate Action Leaders throughout the region are having an impact. The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation’s (NNJCF) Climate Action Mobilization Program (CAMP) reached out to activists to design a Youth Climate Action Network.  This network explores why youth climate leadership is needed and how adults can support and elevate youths’ voices.  It also examines activities happening nearby for people to become involved with. The Foundation invites the public to attend Youth Climate Leadership, a free webinar, on Tuesday, November 17 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

“Young people are taking the lead worldwide to fight climate change. The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation reached out to local climate activists to inform our programming. Their passion, insights, and eagerness to work inspired us to work with them. Together, we can build innovative solutions to the challenges of climate change and draw attention to this issue, especially during National Community Foundation Week,” said Mary Blanusa, Executive Director, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation.

Rachel Lee (far right) from Closter will serve as a panelist on climate action.

Rachel Lee (far right) from Closter will serve as a panelist on climate action.

A panel comprised of young adult leaders will present an overview of their work in climate action.  These young leaders include: Rachel Lee from Closter with Zero Hour NYC; Blanca Palomino, a senior at Union County Vocational Technical School, from Linden; Hadar Pepperstone, a member of the Montclair State University PSEG Institute of Sustainability Studies Green Team; Frida Ruiz, a senior at Union County Vocational Technical High School.

Food Insecurity

The NNJCF is also addressing the escalation of food insecurity, defined as limited or uncertain access to nutritional food, in Bergen County. A Bergen County Food Security Task Force’s survey found over 80 emergency providers in the County saw a 50 percent increase in consumers since March 2020 Some even experienced more than a 200 percent increase.  They also found over 20,000 people rely on donated food weekly in Bergen County.

Garfield First Community Development Corporation received a NNJCF COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund grant to address food insecurity,a focus of the Foundation's Community Foundation Week 2020.

Garfield First Community Development Corporation received a NNJCF COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund grant to address food insecurity in the community.

Food pantries are also in dire need of donations to replenish dwindling supplies. The food pantries throughout Bergen County especially welcome monetary donations.   In addition, a list of emergency food providers in Bergen County with their addresses, phone numbers and hours of operation may be accessed online.

The NNJCF and its staff are partnering with Tri-Arc Community Development Corporation to donate turkeys to a giveaway drive for seniors. The pubic may also drop off turkeys at Christ Episcopal Church, 480 Warwick Avenue in Teaneck, on Thursday and Friday, November 19 and 20. Turkey giveaways take place at these locations on Saturday, November 21: the Ideal Lodge, located at 17 Bennett Street in Englewood, and Cornerstone Baptist Church at 145 Central Avenue in Hackensack. For further information about the turkey giveaways at Christ Episcopal Church, contact Reverend Michelle White at 201-833-4502. For details about the turkey giveaways at the Ideal Lodge and Cornerstone Baptist Church, contact Joellen Green at 973-632-4088.

National Community Foundation Week

In 1989, former president George H.W. Bush created National Community Foundation Week.  The week long event raises awareness about the important role philanthropic organizations like the NNJCF play in fostering local collaboration.  The event also examines innovating solutions to address persistent civic and economic challenges such as climate change and food insecurity. Community foundations are independent, public entities.  They also steward philanthropic resources from institutional and individual donors to local nonprofits.  This represents one of the fastest-growing forms of philanthropy.  As community foundations find solutions for communities, their collective work also has a profound impact.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, foundations distributed over $1 billion. The NNJCF also awarded over $500,000 in grants to nonprofits providing services on the frontlines.

            The Foundation responded to the unfolding pandemic. “We acted quickly working with donors and nonprofit service providers at the local level. Following our motto, ‘What can we do together that we can’t alone,’ we aggregated funds from donors of all sizes, ranging from $10 to $200,000. The Foundation also distributed over a half a million dollars to over 100 grassroots non-profits serving our neighbors in a time of need,” explained Blanusa.

Support Future Projects

Individuals and businesses may also support the NNJCF’s work in various areas such as climate change and food insecurity.  Make a tax-deductible donation. Donations may be made online. For contributions sent by check, make them out to ‘The Northern N.J. Community Foundation’ entered in the memo line. 
Send checks to the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, 1 University Plaza, Suite 128, Hackensack, New Jersey 07601. For further information about the NNJCF, call 201-568-5608 or send an e-mail.

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