Happy Summer, friends! We hope you have been staying healthy and are enjoying all the Central Jersey Shore has to offer this time of year. Beyond supporting the incredible work of our nonprofit partners through our grantmaking, we’ve been busy at the Grunin Foundation and wanted to share some updates.

Grunin Capacity

Our Grunin Capacity pillar has grown this year, and we are thrilled to be back in person! In addition to our Plenaries, we have added Catapult Institute Workshops. They are organized in four distinct workstreams and each includes four sessions. The areas of focus are Talent Management; Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging; Shared Leadership; and Fundraising & Communications. These 1.5 hour workshops are held at New Jersey City University at Fort Monmouth and will continue through the end of the year.

We’ve also held two half-day Catapult Institute Plenary Sessions. At Putting Purpose First: Applying the Principles of Purpose-Driven Board Leadership in the Board Room, attendees learned about the board’s most essential leadership roles and were invited to begin thinking about how to apply a purpose-driven approach within their board room. More recently, we hosted the Plenary, How Tell Stories That Uphold the Dignity of a Community where attendees explored intentional, responsible approaches to fundraising storytelling. We are looking forward to our final Plenary of 2022 on September 15th, when we will be joined by writer, speaker, vegan and Pisces, Vu Le.

We also continue to hold monthly Virtual Lunch Hours, where we connect with our nonprofit peers and talk about different topics that impact the nonprofit community.

Special thanks to our partners in this work - the Support Center, CadencePace Partners and the NJ Center for Nonprofits. You can learn more details about our Grunin Capacity year including links to register for upcoming events here: https://blog.gruninfoundation.org/capacity-building/announcing-an-exciting-2022-grunin-capacity-year.

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging (EDIB) Working Groups

Our three EDIB Working Groups have been meeting since September 2021. The groups are based on the strategies below, that were inspired by the insight of our nonprofit and community partners:

  1. Empowering Youth Changemakers
  2. Amplifying BIPOC Leadership
  3. Empowering Communities to Center Equity 

We are so grateful for our EDIB Working Group members who have dedicated their time and expertise to develop the strategies and logistics of how to create impact in each of the above areas. At the Grunin Foundation, we know that we don’t have all the answers and that it’s critical we listen and learn from our partners who are on the ground in their communities. The working groups have truly created the path for each of our inaugural projects.

In the Empowering Youth Changemakers space, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County (BGCM) has been selected as the backbone organization to carry out a pilot project over the next three years. This will involve an annual cohort of 20-30 high school youth that will uncover their passions individually and as a group, learn about community needs, and gain the skillset to work together to collaborate on strategies for community improvement and/or growth. We are excited to see how the project unfolds with BGCM and so many of our nonprofit partners.

As part of the Amplifying BIPOC Leadership strategy, the Foundation plans to partner with the Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership over the next three years. At a high-level, the partnership will support capacity programming. In addition, there will be separate peer-to-peer, facilitated sessions for a pilot cohort following each of the capacity sessions. Cohort participants will discuss and debrief what they have learned and gain skills to take learnings back to their own organizations & communities.

The Empowering Communities to Center Equity strategy will focus on advocacy for 2022-23. We have many partners in this work, including BolderAdvocacy, Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, NJ Center for Nonprofits and consultant, Orville Morales. We will be supporting training for both the philanthropic community, as well as the nonprofit and business communities. This work aims to inspire the audience – team members of companies, nonprofits and eventually community members – to develop a new way to think about, discuss, and more importantly, influence social change in the region.

As the EDIB Working Groups move forward with their projects, we will provide updates of the progress on our website.

Grunin Foundation Board

In January of 2022, we welcomed six new members to the Grunin Foundation Board of Trustees. We have held our first few board meetings and our trustees have already jumped right in, providing guidance and support. They’ve had the opportunity to meet some of our nonprofit partners and get a more in-depth view of the initiatives we are supporting. We are grateful to be able to collaborate with our board so we can continue working equitably to improve the quality of life for all at the Central Jersey Shore.

You can meet the new Grunin Foundation Trustees here: https://blog.gruninfoundation.org/grunin-foundation-welcomes-six-new-board-members  

Director of Thriving Communities 

We are excited to announce that our team is growing, and we are hiring a Director of Thriving Communities. This newly created position will manage the capacity training programming, the equity, diversity, inclusion & belonging strategy, and provide overall organizational capacity support to our nonprofit partners. The Director of Thriving Communities will work closely with members of the nonprofit community and strategic partners to co-design and implement programming that advances the goals of the Grunin Foundation’s capacity pillar and EDIB strategic framework and is an integral part of the team. We have begun the interview process and hope to welcome the new Director of Thriving Communities to our team by the end of the summer.

What’s to Come

It’s hard to believe we’re over halfway through the year. We have a lot to accomplish in the second half of 2022, but together with the help of our Board of Trustees and our soon-to-be Director of Thriving Communities, we are ready to take on the challenge!

We are truly grateful for our nonprofit partners. Their tireless dedication is what makes the Central Jersey Shore a wonderful place to live, work and play. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without them and we look forward to continuing working together to improve the quality of life for all in the community.

You can stay up to date with our work by visiting www.gruninfoundation.org.