It’s been about four months since we shared our 2024-2026 strategic plan with the community. Each quarter, we will provide updates from our three strategic priorities: Funding, Capacity Building, and Coalition Building. 

As a quick background, we began our strategic planning process in early 2023, guided by Odelia Younge and Vina Vo, co-founders of the Novalia Collective.  You can read more about that here.

As a result, the Grunin Foundation will actively work on the following strategic priorities over the next three years: 

FUNDING: Fund and support organizations, partnerships, coalitions, and other structures whose work aligns with the Foundation’s prioritized outcomes and who have a strong connection to the community.  
CAPACITY BUILDING: Invest in the capacity building of organizations and individuals to enhance their impact, effectiveness, and sustainability.  
COALITION BUILDING: Engage in coalition building and advocacy at the regional and state levels to impact systemic issues.  

Here’s what’s been happening around each of these strategic priorities. 


One of the major goals of this strategic priority (and our strategic plan as a whole), aside from the funding itself, is to identify and build relationships with grassroots and community-centered nonprofit organizations. It’s incredibly important to us to learn about nonprofit organizations at the Central Jersey Shore. Even if there isn't alignment for funding, our role as a funder is to be in community - listening and learning.  We can also help to make connections, support with capacity building opportunities, or be a sounding board.  Since February, we’ve talked with over 80 organizations, learning about their missions, their challenges and community needs, the people they support and uplift, and the amazing work they are doing.   

In keeping with our commitment to transparency, we will be updating our website to include a searchable grants directory so you can learn about the organizations we fund and how they are positively impacting the community. This will take some time, but we will let you know when it’s ready!  

Capacity Building 

It’s been a busy year so far with Grunin Capacity and we have so much more to offer in the upcoming months. You can find out about the different opportunities we have here. You can also learn about Custom Capacity Building and Consultancies here.  

Nonprofit Board Retreat 

Along with the one-day programs, webinars, custom trainings, and cohorts, we have what is becoming one of our signature events, the bi-annual nonprofit board retreat.  

If you’ve never been to or heard of our nonprofit board retreat, hosted with our friends at Support Center,, here’s a quick rundown. This two-day event is for new, experienced, and prospective nonprofit board members in Monmouth and Ocean Counties. There are two tracks to choose from depending on your experience level as a board member and you can pick a different track for each individual seminar throughout the day. You can come for day one only, day two only or both days. It’s two days full of learning, networking, relationship-building, and JOY! We try to incorporate moments of joy into everything that we do. From décor to snacks to prizes, you’ll find lots of food, fun, and happiness at the nonprofit board retreat.  

The inaugural board retreat was the Summer Board Retreat in June of 2023. Since then, we had our Winter 2024 Board Retreat (March 2024) and are now planning the “Local Summer” 2024 Board Retreat. Our second board retreat, the Winter 2024 Board Retreat, was held at Two River Theater in Red Bank. It was an awesome venue, and the Two River Theater team was incredibly supportive and played a major role in the event being a huge success. Two River Theater has a great education space that allowed for smooth transitions between tracks and sessions, close to coffee, food, and quiet rooms. We also had some surprise guests – Trenton Circus Squad and a barber shop quartet from the Red Bank Area Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society – who both added some magic to the days with their outstanding performances!  

You can check out photos from the Winter Board Retreat here, taken by photographer Joshua Reed

This time, we will be hosting our Local Summer 2024 Nonprofit Board Retreat at the Days Hotel in Toms River on Thursday, September 12 and Friday, September 13, and we are confident it will be another successful event full of good vibes, learning, and fun. You can learn more and register here.  

If you want to walk through what one of our Nonprofit Board Retreats is like, watch a video from our Nonprofit Board Retreat info session, or answer any questions you might have about the retreat, check out our latest blog post, Local Summer Nonprofit Board Retreat Toolkit.

And, we have some handy (and fun!) downloadables you can share with your board members and nonprofit friends: 

Download a 4x5 Board Retreat Info Card 

Download Local Summer Board Retreat Affirmation Cards

Coalition Building 

Our third strategic priority is to engage in coalition building and advocacy at the regional and state levels to impact systemic issues. Here’s how we’ve been operationalizing this strategic priority in our work. 

Pragmatic Activism Cohort 

This fall, we will host the 4th Pragmatic Activism Cohort, facilitated by Orville Morales of Morales and Associates. Pragmatic Activism is a strategic approach to social change that allows for intentional and reasonable action that is sustainable over time. This program, offered to nonprofit and business professionals who live, work, worship, or serve in Ocean and Monmouth Counties, teaches the importance of advocacy and how to get involved.  

In this cohort, participants start by exploring where they stand, their beliefs, the types of actions they have taken towards social good in the past, and the actions they are willing to take in the future to move forward. Orville then provides a deep analysis of the various levels of government depending on the region and prevailing priorities of the participants. The Cohort moves through the phases of learning from understanding participants’ individual beliefs, to learning about their local policymakers and timing of influence, to planning, executing, and troubleshooting public engagement. 

We’ve had feedback from several participants that they’ve made meaningful connections and continued collaborations outside of the Cohort. We’ve also heard from participants who were able to take their advocacy to the next level and effectuate change in their communities.  

Our next Pragmatic Activism Cohort will be offered in the Fall of 2024. The 5-session series will be held in a hybrid format (both in person and online) from 3pm - 7:30pm (dinner provided): 
Monday, Sept. 9 
Monday, Oct. 7 and 28 
Monday, Nov. 18 
Monday, Dec. 9 

If you are interested in applying, you can fill out this quick form. When the application process opens, we will send an email and post to social and our blog. 

For more information in the meantime, visit:  

Pragmatic Activism: Power of Three Minutes Workshop 

On May 16, we hosted the Power of Three Minutes Workshop at New Jersey Natural Gas in Wall Township (with a hybrid virtual option), facilitated by Orville Morales.  

Participants learned to enhance both their own and their team's advocacy efficiency through interactive role-playing and practical tips, instilling the confidence needed to conduct impactful legislative advocacy. The group learned practical turnkey strategies for collaboration with team members and fellow advocates, how to amplify advocacy influence to drive progressive policy reform, and gained insights into where and how to utilize those crucial three minutes for maximum effectiveness. 


The Monmouth & Ocean Roundtable of Funders (MORF), led by the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers in partnership with the Grunin Foundation, meets regularly to increase collective impact around funding efforts. 

On July 23, MORF is hosting a PEEP at the Jersey Shore BlueClaws. PEEP (Party to Enhance Equity in Philanthropy, started by Vu Le, writer of the blog, Nonprofit AF) - is a nationally celebrated movement to bring together nonprofit and philanthropic leaders to help break down the pervasive power dynamics in our work and a small tool to help us see each other in our full humanity. As Vu Le says, PEEP events are “casual, no-agenda settings just to chat and see one another as human beings.” 

This event is a time for connection and relationship building with people we don't always get a chance to see in the philanthropic and nonprofit world. Most importantly, this is for ALL levels of nonprofit (and philanthropy) organizations, including those doing direct service and operations, and board members. If you are a nonprofit or philanthropic professional in Monmouth or Ocean County, you can learn more about this event and get tickets here.

What’s to Come 

We look forward to carrying out our strategic plan for the next three years (2024-2026) with the promise of continued listening and learning from community to remain nimble, relevant, and impactful. This also includes transparency, and we will keep you updated as we move ahead.

Enjoy the summer and stay tuned!