Executive Director Named to Northern NJ Community Foundation
The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation (NNJCF) announces the appointment of Mary Blanusa as the organization’s Executive Director. Blanusa, a resident of Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, comes to NNJCF with 20 years’ experience in nonprofit and philanthropic leadership focused on education, community development, community organizing and advocacy.
“Ms. Blanusa brings to the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation an extensive background in the nonprofit sector to meet the needs of a rapidly expanding foundation,” said Michael Shannon, President of the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation. “Upon joining the foundation, she was confronted with the coronavirus pandemic and responded immediately to the community’s escalating needs by establishing our COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund. We look forward to her bringing this same resourcefulness and creative energy to the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation’s post COVID regional economic recovery and job creation initiatives.”
Executive Director Brings Nonprofit Experience
Blanusa worked in a range of positions in the nonprofit field. As a Program Officer at The Helmsley Charitable Trust, she led policy, advocacy and communications grantmaking. She also served in several programmatic and leadership roles at the Council for Economic Education, most recently as Vice President of Government Relations and Partnerships. Furthermore, Blanusa led community engagement efforts on environmental restoration projects in New York City and the New Jersey Meadowlands. Beginning her career as a Peace Corps volunteer, she taught English and environmental education to middle school students in Hungary.
She holds a Master’s degree from the Heller School of Public Policy at Brandeis University and also a Bachelor’s degree from American University. As part of her master’s degree in sustainable development, she worked on community development projects in Serbia. Upon her return to New Jersey, Blanusa worked on environmental restoration projects in New York City. In addition, she contributed to the initial Environmental Impact Assessment that eventually became American Dream in the Meadowlands.
She has lived in northern New Jersey for most of her life. Blanusa is an active member of the community in Hasbrouck Heights. Among her activities, she is also the Municipal Vice-Chair of Bergen County Democratic Committee. Other activities include volunteering with the Hasbrouck Heights Green Team. Previously, she served as past president of the Hasbrouck Heights Junior Woman’s Club. Blanusa also maintains a national presence. Furthermore, she serves on the advisory board of the English Learners Success Forum and Seek Common Ground.