Northern NJ Community Foundation: 2017 Accomplishments

What can we do together that we cannot do alone? By collaborating with organizations in the region and with community members’ help, the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation (NNJCF) achieved several accomplishments this year in our priority areas of the arts, civic engagement, education, the environment, philanthropy, and public health.

Foundation Honored

The Foundation and its President, Michael Shannon, were honored with the Flat Rock Brook Nature Association’s Trustee Award. This accolade recognized the NNJCF’s contributions and vital support of the nature center’s work in the community.  The NNJCF was also lauded for seeking solutions to resolve complicated regional problems.


• worked with the Hackensack Main Street Business Alliance and Creative Hackensack to continue to revitalize the downtown business through creative placemaking and the arts in the city

• issued a Call to Artists for and managed the Utility ArtBox project in Hackensack that transformed eight utility boxes with colorful anti-littering murals, and provided arts-based work opportunities for eight artists

Connect the Dots

• produced four Northern NJ Community Foundation/ArtsBergen’s Connect the Dots networking and performance events focusing on creative placemaking that attracted artists, municipal leaders, business owners, and others.  The programs:

  1. featured Michael Bias from The Garage Theatre leading a stimulating “get-to-know you” exercise for “Connect, Collaborate and Create”;
  2. presented producer/media consultant Dusha Holmes II facilitating “Lights, Camera..Network”;
  3.  highlighted Elyssa Machlin-Lockwood, Director from the Center for Modern Dance Education, giving an energizing music and movement jam session for “Outdoor Summer Art Jam” in Overpeck County Park. The program was co-hosted with the Bergen County Department of Parks, Division of Cultural & Historic Affairs.; and
  4. spotlighted New Jersey Creative Placemakers (NJCP) from The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking.  The organization explored how art transforms an area in the Hackensack Strategy Lab. This last Connect the Dots program of 2017 was co-produced with the City of Hackensack, the Main Street Business Alliance and its Hackensack Creative Arts Team
The foundation worked with the library to present "Art on a Stick".

The foundation worked with the Johnson Public Library to present “Art on a Stick”.

• worked with the Johnson Public Library to present Art on a Stick: Raccoons, 40 individual works of art of lively anthropomorphic raccoons

• sponsored the Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit at the New Jersey Institute of Technology

• provided a grant to the Tri-Arc Community Development Corporation’s Bergen County Music Festival in Overpeck Park to celebrate arts and music

• awarded a grant to ArtPride NJ to support advocacy for the arts in the state

• presented in the 2017 class of Bergen LEADS’ seminar focusing on the arts

• joined and worked with New Jersey Creative Placemakers.  This state-wide group hosts events and  conducts training sessions.  They also provide resources to grow and support the field of creative placemaking.

• advised organizations and municipalities about the benefits of creative placemaking

Civic Engagement

• carried out our mission to build communities through collaboration. The NNJCF worked with a local civic group to find a solution for the best use of Englewood’s Russell C. Major Liberty School.


• provided a scholarship from The Class of 1964 Ralph Gregg Memorial Scholarship donor advised fund

• awarded a grant from The Andrea Tilbian Halejian Memorial Fund to the Armenian General Benevolent Union for Armenian Genocide education

• contributed, and as a co-founder of, Englewood Idol, awarded a grant to spotlight the talent of up-and-coming teenage performers in the city.  The grant supported the Dr. John Grieco Scholarship Fund 


• sponsored the Flat Rock Brook’s 5 K Run and a presentation on climate change

• observed Earth Month and collected art supplies for the Teaneck Creek Conservancy’s art and science programs for children


• managed donor advised funds to meet community members’ designated charitable goals

Public Health

• led a community engagement project to collect dental supplies for Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative’s underresourced residents

Contact us at (201) 568-5608 or nnjcf[at] to discuss how we can work with you or your organization to identify and address regional issues.

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