Archive for the ‘New Jersey’ Category

“PALS” Grants Available to Enhance K – 5 Environmental Education in New Jersey

Do you have a creative, viable idea for a partnership between non-formal environmental education providers and K-5 pre-service or practicing teachers? Will your partnership result in authentic learning (“learning by doing”) for students, and increase the sustainability of New Jersey communities?

For the second year in a row, the Alliance for New Jersey Environmental Education (ANJEE), in partnership with the PSEG Foundation, will be providing competitive grants of $5,000-$15,000 to achieve this goal, through the PSEG-ANJEE Learners in Sustainability (PALS) program.

Deadline for online applications is March 15, 2012, and grantees will be announced on or about May 4th. Learn more here.

Categories: New Jersey, RFP

Drumthwacket Foundation Selects Robyn Tromeur Brenner as New Executive Director

September 19, 2011 1 comment

The Support Center’s congratulates the Drumthwacket Foundation—the official residence of the Governor of New Jersey—on the selection of its new Executive Director, Robyn Tromeur Brenner.

In assuming responsibility for the residence, Governor and Mrs. Christie formulated a new vision for Drumthwacket as a means to offer wider outreach and engagement of New Jerseyans.  This new direction provided a remarkable window of opportunity to achieve significant, near term organizational results, but it also required systemic rethinking of Drumthwacket’s current  programming, operations and funding as well as a change in leadership.  Working with the Support Center in its search to find a new executive director has helped Drumthwacket to produce a more engaged board that has a commitment to the mission and vision and a means for achieving its goals.

Brenner most recently served as Executive Director for The Center for Contemporary Art located in Bedminster, NJ.  During her ten-year tenure, she implemented the organization’s first, multi-year strategic plan which led to more than doubling the number of studio course offerings and membership; launching program and fund development initiatives which increased private, corporate and government support; and strengthening community partnerships and outreach.  Prior to that she was Curator of Fabergé & Manuscript Collections for Forbes Inc. in New York City, one of the largest privately held collections of objets d’art by the House of Fabergé.  She curated numerous on- and off-site exhibitions at The Forbes Magazine Galleries and prestigious domestic and international museums.  Brenner is succeeding Francine Lynch who has served as the Interim Executive Director since November 2010.

Support Center Assists Newark Emergency Services for Families with Action Plan

By Gilles Mesrobian, Senior Associate, Support Center

In March 2010, the Support Center began working with Newark Emergency Services for Families (NESF), an agency which provides quality services to individuals and families who need assistance with emergency food, clothing, shelter, utilities, rent, and other basic necessities during times of crisis. Newark Emergency Services for Families

At that time the Board was in the final selection process in its search for a new Executive Director. They were committed to ensuring that a landscape of success was in place for the new ED as well as ongoing support for the staff.

Marge Wood, Board Chair of NESF and CEO of Independence: A Family of Services, stated, “I was very pleased with how quickly the Support Center consultant was able to grasp the agency culture and nuances of the challenges we faced and come up with practical recommendations for solutions.”

After providing an initial organizational assessment, the Support Center worked with the Board, Executive Director and senior staff to develop a customized plan of action to address a range of challenges facing the organization, including a development plan, a board development plan and management tools that ensure the continued progress and success of the agency in its critical work.

According to Damyn Kelly, J.D. NESF’s new Executive Director, “The Support Center’s reports allowed me to immediately address the challenges that the organization faced as opposed to conducting my own assessment… The work of the Support Center has been immensely helpful to me in getting the organization back on track and allowing us to meet the needs of our constituents.”

>>> Executive Search & Transition Management

Board Retreat & Strategic Planning: FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties

FoodBankMonmouthThe FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, founded in 1984, serves over 270 pantries, soup kitchens and other feeding programs with over five million pounds of food annually.

With a new, state of the art warehouse and office complex completed in 2001, the FoodBank has seen an 84% increase in the number of individuals and families served since 2005.

Over 1,000 volunteers complement staff efforts to provide emergency food, skills training, outreach programs and advocacy for individuals and families in need.

Once the incredibly busy holiday season was over, the Executive Director, Susan M. Kelly, and Board Chairman, Robert Brown, engaged the Support Center to facilitate both a board retreat and a strategic planning process.

Marie Zieger

Marie Zieger

Marie Zieger, Senior Affiliated Consultant, and Don Crocker, Chief Executive Officer, are looking forward to working with the FoodBank team over the next six months to draft a blueprint for the future.

>>> Consulting Services

The Nonprofits’ Dilemma: The ‘Private-Public’ Squeeze

By Calvin Thomas
The Times of Trenton Op-Ed

Although the financial earthquake occurred in the fall of 2008, the aftershocks are still being felt by the nonprofit sector.

The Support Center for Nonprofit Management recently conducted a Meet the New Jersey Grantmakers forum July 14 at the PSEG Headquarters in Newark.  The forum was attended by more than 100 nonprofit leaders from all parts of the state who represented a diverse range of services and sizes.

Calvin Thomas

Calvin Thomas Jr.

If I had to pick one clear and bold message from the comments made by the nonprofit leaders who attended, it would be this:

The financial “squeeze” is beginning to really take its toll on our ability to adequately provide services much needed in New Jersey.

The squeeze that is becoming more apparent to the sector is what was referred to as the “private-public” squeeze.

On one side, the private foundations and corporations in New Jersey have significantly reduced their grant dollars to the nonprofit sector due to the negative effect of the financial meltdown on their financial portfolios and income statements.

And on the other side, the state legislators have just passed a FY2011 budget that significantly reduces spending for social services that they relied on from the nonprofit sector through state grants and contracted services.

The question echoed by the nonprofit leaders was:

“Where do we go for financial support to service a rapidly growing population of citizens in dire need of help?   Funds are being significantly reduced or completely cut from both sides.   We are stuck in the middle.”

What makes this “private-public” squeeze a tumultuous time for the nonprofit sector is that the state of New Jersey — that is, the public sector — is depending on the foundations and corporations — that is, the private sector — to assume more of the financial responsibility to support the nonprofits.

However, in this very weak economy, the private sector has yet to recover from the recent economic meltdown.

Foundations are trying to rebuild their portfolios while corporations are trying to protect their bottom lines.

The latest prediction from the federal government is that the recession could last another five or six years before any indication of normal growth to the economy is seen.

I believe that having these Meet the New Jersey Grantmakers forums throughout the state is critical for creating a roadmap to navigate through the present financially challenging times.  It allows for creative and meaningful dialogue between the leaders of both the nonprofit organizations and private grantmakers.

Grace Egan, Executive Director of New Jersey Foundation for Aging (NJFA) and a panelist at the forum, stated that NJFA granting policy prohibits it from granting private funds to nonprofit applicants that are looking to replace public funds that were cut or reduced.

After hearing the concerns of the audience and the impact that this “private-public” squeeze is having on their ability to operate, Egan plans to raise this issue with her foundation’s board to consider changing its policy.

I am certain that there are a number of New Jersey private foundations that operate with that policy.  In these challenging times, I implore any private foundation in New Jersey with such a policy to reconsider its position. It is one step in the right direction that will make a big difference.

The nonprofit sector may not have been responsible for the 2008 financial earthquake.

However, leaders of the sector are responsible for their survival and long-term sustainability.  The leaders must take the opportunity during these trying times to re-examine their organizations’ mission, infrastructure and capacity.

Now is the time for organizations to engage in an independent and thorough:

  • Organizational
  • Financial assessment
  • Board development
  • Staff development and
  • The development of a strategic and fund-raising plan to take them into the future.

The next financial aftershock or earthquake may be just around the corner.

Nonprofit leaders must build their organizations to adapt and endure.

With the current state spending reductions, they may be the only service providers in their communities.  They owe it to their customers.

Calvin B. Thomas Jr. senior associate consultant for the Support Center for Nonprofit Management.