We are pleased to announce the appointment of Eleanor Horne to the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation’s Board of Trustees to a four-year term.
“I am delighted to join the Dodge Board of Trustees because of its focus on New Jersey, its long-standing commitment to creative, sustainable, and engaged communities, and its focus on equity and inclusion,” Eleanor said.
Eleanor, of Lawrenceville, serves on several boards, including the Princeton Area Community Foundation, The College of New Jersey, D&R Greenway, and the Lawrence Hopewell Trail. She retired from a 41-year career at Educational Testing Service in 2010, when she was vice president of the company’s Social Investment Fund, which provides financial support to charitable activities in communities in which ETS has offices.
“Eleanor is a well-respected and much-admired community volunteer and leader with extensive governance expertise and demonstrated commitment to New Jersey,” said Preston Pinkett III, board chair.
Eleanor has been lauded by the National Urban League, who presented her with its highest honor, the Donald H. McGannon Award, and she received Princeton YWCA’s Tribute to Women in Industry Achievement Award, among others. She graduated from Howard University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and has completed course work for a doctorate in educational anthropology at Rutgers University.
“We are thrilled that Eleanor has joined the Board at this important time in Dodge’s history,” said Tanuja Dehne, Dodge president and CEO. “Each trustee brings new voices, perspectives, and a shared commitment to an equitable New Jersey.”
Every other year since 1986, the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival has often gone off with hardly a discernible hitch. But life, of course, has its twists and turns, and the Festival has prevailed through some really unexpected ones.
Who could forget the Festival in 2004, when a deluge of rain turned the grounds at Duke Farms into a muddy poetry wonderland?
And you might recall that during our last Festival in 2018, an underground transformer fire in downtown Newark caused the entire Festival footprint to lose power on Saturday evening. We cancelled our programming that night, but resumed first thing Sunday morning!
Now, in the 2020 Festival year, we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic that makes large gatherings like our Festival potentially dangerous for the people we care about so much: our audiences, Festival Poets, Dodge personnel, New Jersey Performing Arts Center staff, and Newark residents who support us as volunteers and site crew.
So, how are we
adapting to this unexpected turn of events?
This year, we’re going virtual.
A fully-online 2020 Dodge Poetry Festival will stream into homes around the globe this fall. We’ll share readings and conversations, panel talks, performances, and opportunities for you to interact with Festival Poets and other attendees.
In the name of access and equity, live streaming of the 2020 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival will be offered online at no charge. Performances on-demand will be available to the general public for a nominal subscription fee. Schools and teachers that register in advance will have free full access. We will continue to support diverse poets by also providing relief for COVID-19’s impact on nonprofit organizations that support poets of color, the LGBTQ community, and poets with disabilities.
Representatives from the NJPAC Box Office will be reaching out to current ticket holders in the next few days to issue them a full refund.
Over the years, each time a big curveball has come our way, we’ve watched as Festival Poets and attendees, venue partners, and volunteers have responded with graciousness, good humor, and dedication to making something beautiful out of the change in plans. Without a doubt, the poetry community is remarkably resilient and kind.
We’re sad that we won’t all be together in-person this year, and disappointed that our 10-year anniversary of hosting the Festival in Newark won’t take place physically in Newark.
But we’re also excited to expand the Dodge Poetry Festival community and provide greater access to contemporary poetry and poets. As we design the virtual Festival, we will keep at its core everything that makes the Dodge Poetry Festival so special: poetry, community, connection, and heart.
Thanks for making the Festival so special for over 30 years. We can’t wait to see you online this fall.
Dodge’s board and staff recently celebrated Elizabeth Duffy’s 16 years as a Foundation trustee at its virtual June meeting.
The meeting marked the transition for Liz from trustee to trustee emerita, a four-year term at Dodge in which trustees continue to be engaged in the work of the Foundation.
Liz joined the Board in 2004 and led it in refreshing its governance structures and policies, most notably establishing term limits, and developing a robust board recruitment strategy.
“I am retiring from the board because I feel strongly that we need to model good governance,” said Liz, president of International Schools Services, an international nonprofit specializing in starting schools, teacher recruitment, leadership searches, and school supply. “I’m sorry that I’ve reached my term limit because Dodge is on an exciting path forward with a real commitment to creating an equitable New Jersey. It has been a privilege to serve on Dodge’s Board over the past 16 years and to see the impact it’s had by supporting nonprofits throughout the state and helping to build coalitions and programs committed to arts education, sustainability, creativity and the arts, local media, and poetry.”
A lifelong learner with deep experience in education, Liz for many years chaired Dodge’s Education Committee, focusing the Foundation’s attention and funding on arts education. She recently served on the Board’s strategic planning and equity committees.
“Throughout her tenure, we have benefited from Liz’s insightful, intuitive questions and her ability to bring a breadth of perspective — both global and local—to the conversation, which helped the team find solutions in a complex and changing environment,” said Preston Pinkett III, board chair. “Liz consistently brought a clear sense of how Dodge could leverage its relationships, networks, and financial assets to make life better for the people of New Jersey, challenging us — respectfully and with good humor — to be better philanthropists.”
Wendy Liscow, education and technical assistance
program director, credited Liz with being both a visionary and tactical thinker.
“Liz fulfilled many of the attributes of great board members, such as her commitment to Dodge’s mission and areas of giving, her skill sets including her background in philanthropy, the nonprofit sector, and education; her willingness to allocate her time and talent to the organization, even while running a school or schools across the globe,” Liscow said. “She is a leader and a follower, enjoys learning new things, she is also a great listener and strong mediator of group discussions, which made her a strong consensus builder.”
Tanuja Dehne, Dodge president and CEO, thanked Liz for her sharing her leadership, integrity, humor, and curiosity which helped pave the way for Dodge to continue its equity journey and commitment to becoming actively anti-racist.
“This is a bittersweet moment for us,” Tanuja said. “We are grateful for Liz’s integrity and leadership that helped pave the way for the next phase of Dodge’s equity journey.”
Tanuja Dehne, Dodge president and CEO, thanked Liz for her friendship, humor and curiosity which allowed us to navigate through challenging and courageous conversations.
“This is a bittersweet moment for us,” Tanuja said. “We are grateful for Liz’s integrity and leadership that helped pave the way for the next phase of Dodge’s equity journey and becoming actively anti-racist.”
The Dodge Q&A series is designed to share what Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation staff are learning and thinking about as they engage with social sector leaders from throughout the state. They’ll also reveal a few things about themselves you might not have known.
Today we talk to Sharnita Johnson, Arts program director, about the impact of the pandemic on the arts in New Jersey.
Before we jump into the conversation, how are you navigating the multiple crises we’re experiencing, namely the COVID-19 pandemic and community uprisings demanding justice?
It depends on the day and time. I think we are all experiencing a broad spectrum of emotions these days. As a Black woman, I vacillate between feelings of deep sadness, anger, and sometimes helplessness as I watch my community ravished by COVID19, systemic racism, and oppression. But then I remember I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams, and I get up to do what I can to contribute to the change.
What is your perspective on how the coronavirus is affecting the arts in New Jersey?
The magnitude of financial loss experienced by individual artists and arts organizations continue to grow and are becoming economically unsustainable. The financial devastation is likely to cause irreversible damage to many artists and arts organizations.
A March 2020 survey of New Jersey artists and arts organizations by the New Jersey Council on the Arts (NJSCA) to assess the need for funding support over a 30, 60, 90-day period, revealed individual artists estimated losses of between $2 to $5 million if shutdown lasted 90 days. And arts organizations estimate losses between $12 to $25 million in 90 days. Organizations’ earned income capacity has been devastated with upwards of 50-90 percent of their revenue-generating programming decimated. The pandemic has more than underscored the vulnerabilities of the sector and society. Some organizations will close as a result of the pandemic, and what goes away will not come back.
How are arts organizations you are speaking with through your virtual travels, meetings, conversations adapting?
Despite the challenges, New Jersey arts and culture organizations remain resilient and innovative. Our grantees are moving content online, communicating with constituents and donors differently, getting noticed by people they have never reached before, using technology in new ways and providing education programs for youth and adults.
Many organizations are prioritizing people over institutions by delaying layoffs, paying out contracts, and in some cases, management at the highest-level are taking pay cuts.
What’s important to keep in mind right now?
We need to inspire people’s generosity and community spirit. Even during the devastation of the pandemic, the thousands of lives lost, the majority of whom are Black and Brown people, our creative community serves as the documentarians, witnesses, storytellers, and futurists.
We know people are consuming the arts at an increased rate during stay-at-home orders. If you have binge-watched anything, danced in your living room at one of DJ D-Nice’s Club Quarantine regular dance parties or logged onto your favorite national or local dance, theater or music organization’s website to watch a production on the internet, you will know people are deeply engaged with the arts.
Throughout the state, COVID-19 is requiring arts organizations to get out of their institutions and to become more relevant and accessible to communities. Now is our opportunity to stop thinking about the arts in a narrow frame as we rethink broken systems. This is an opportunity for artists to help us reimagine how we rebuild. They should be at the table to help us engage community, inform how we think about the environment, education and economic recovery.
What are some of the questions you’re asking yourself or talking about with others?
Some of the questions that keep coming up again and again and for which the field continues to grapple:
How can technology be maximized to reach new audiences, and how can organizations monetize its offerings?
How do we support organizations to merge or close gracefully, preserve their legacy, and make their work available to the public?
Where can we turn for additional legal support and consulting?
What innovative solutions or partnerships can we forge, perhaps with colleges and universities or libraries, to digitize and/or archive materials and ephemera, video, etc. for continued engagement and for posterity?
How do we center equity in the sector recovery?
How do we rebuild a system that is better able to support the sector in times of deep crisis and beyond?
What are opportunities are you excited by right now?
Several successful funder convenings by the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers Culture Funders Affinity Group, which I co-chair, resulted in the establishment of the New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund to support artists and arts organizations impacted by COVID-19.
The Fund was developed by a steering committee that includes representatives from the Grunin Foundation, NJSCA, The Prudential Foundation, and Dodge. The Grunin Foundation made a lead gift of $250,000. I am proud the Dodge Foundation is making a $200,000 investment.
We hope the New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund will provide resources to the arts community now and in the future, as we aspire for it to eventually become an enduring fund that will grow over time.
What are you reading right now?
In this episode of Grantmakers in the Arts podcast series Coronavirus Response: Into the Weeds Ruby Lopez Harper, Senior Director, Local Arts Advancement, Americans for the Arts; Brian McGuigan, Program Director, Artist Trust; and Trella Walker, Director, Advisory Services, Head of Social Innovation and Equity Council, Nonprofit Finance Fund, discuss funding practices that center equity and reframe the recovery.
In a conversation Linda Harrison, president of the Newark Museum, hosted for funders in April, she said the museum that closed as a result of the pandemic won’t be the museum that opens after. That resonated with me, the profound realization that arts organizations, particularly large, mainstream institutions will have to change at an even more rapid pace to remain relevant. She is interviewed in this Christie’s Magazine article with three other museum leaders about the future of museums post pandemic.
I was honored to be part of the Grantmakers in the Arts2020 Webinar Series as a panelist on this webinar Coronavirus Response: Building a Future that Reimagines Systems for Justicewith colleagues Randy Engstrom, Director, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Dana Kawaoka-Chen, Executive Director, Justice Funders and Justin Laing, Principal Consultant, Hillombo, LLC. We discussed funders flexibility and trust in response to the pandemic. Funders are more nimble with limited to no requirements for applications, repurposing current grant project awards to general operating support, increasing payouts above the 5% minimum, and centering the experiences of their grantees. This webinar explored what is necessary to re-imagine systems, power and practice as a result of the pandemic and the ongoing crisis of racial inequality.
What can we do as individuals to support the arts and artists?
Buy art. Tune into your favorite arts organization’s website and pay for the offerings you want to view.
If you can, make tax-deductible donations.
Check on your artists friends. Ask them what they are working on, how the pandemic has influenced their work, what do they think they might do differently in their practice? If you know they have lost income, send a gift card to a grocery store or Zelle them some cash if you can.
Don’t stop engaging, the art is to be engaged with in real-time. So much art has resulted from the pandemic and the protests. Take it in, interrogate it, get inspired by it.
Do you have a question for Dodge staff? Leave it in the comments or send us an email at email@example.com.
our President & CEO Tanuja Dehne took to the Dodge Blog to state the
Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation’s commitment to anti-racism and condemnation of white
supremacy. You can read her full remarks here.
In addition, Dodge Poetry is sharing just a few videos from our archive that speak to the impact of centuries of systemic violence against black lives.
The title of today’s blog post comes from Jericho Brown’s poem “I am a Virus.”
We cannot be
silent, and we will not stand on the sidelines.
R. Dodge Foundation stands for racial justice, social change, and equity. We
condemn violence and oppression in all forms, especially racism and white
For more than 400 years, racism has been a pandemic that has infected our systems and institutions with purposefully designed racial inequalities and disparities. At a time when we are already challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, we must continue to bear witness and respond to new attacks and violence against the Black community and call for justice.
who has not been paying attention or taken action, it’s time.
Justice for the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery – and the many other Black people who our society fails to protect the way it cares for others – is necessary but not nearly enough.
Despite the heartbreak, grief, and outrage, I am inspired and motivated to action by my colleagues, Trustees, friends, and family who have engaged in courageous conversations with loved ones about race, supported transformative organizations, and protested in cities and communities across the country and right here in our home state.
At the Dodge Foundation, we are channeling our energy and using our power, influence, and voice to publicly commit to prioritize anti-racism in our organization and in our work. Equity is a core value at Dodge, and we believe an equitable New Jersey is only possible when our systems and institutions are free from oppression and reflective of and invested in our Black, Indigenous, and people of color neighbors regardless of their gender, sexuality, religious, and cultural identities. It is clear we must reimagine and rebuild our systems and institutions to ensure that all people and communities have the resources necessary to live quality lives. The recovery from this pandemic must be equitable.
last four-plus years, we have made a lot of progress centering our work on
equity, increasing our individual and collective intercultural competency,
committing to investing a majority of our resources to support people and
communities of color, developing equity theories of change, and getting to the
point where becoming actively anti-racist is the next logical phase of our
that we have a great deal of work ahead of us – beginning with addressing
anti-racism within ourselves. This is enduring long-term work that we will approach
with commitment, humility, and transparency.
We expect that you will hold us accountable.
We believe New Jersey is resilient and that if we work to build trust in movements invested in and with organizations that have long been committed to undoing racism and that if we continue to negate dominant narratives, everyone in America will benefit.
We call on our philanthropic peers, grantee partners, and
others in the social sector in New Jersey and beyond to use their voice,
influence, and power to actively undo racism and oppression in their organizations,
communities, and the systems in which they operate.
Every journey begins with a single step, and we share below several resources that might help guide you on your own path.
There is broad acknowledgement that we are living through an unprecedented time. It is a time of crisis. For many of us and our organizations, also a time of trauma. When things are so hard, how could this possibly also be a time to focus on diversity, inclusion and equity concerns – particularly for those of us who have not previously prioritized these things?
I would argue that this is precisely the time – because we are in a time of crisis and disruption – to focus our efforts regarding diversity, inclusion, and equity. Here is why…
By definition, crises are different than problems. A problem is a situation in which we can define the issue and then utilize our existing coping strategies and previously developed methodologies to resolve the challenges we are facing. Many of us as organizational leaders are used to solving problems and might have developed robust organizational practices for doing so. However, a crisis is a situation in which our typical coping strategies are outstripped by circumstances and no longer function to help us respond to the magnitude of the situation. When the magnitude of a crisis overwhelms us, we experience trauma. Trauma creates inner fragmentation which creates a higher probability of fragmentation that can impact our organizational culture, systems and services.
A frequently used trope when discussing crisis is to invoke the Chinese word for “crisis” which is composed of the two characters signifying “danger” and “opportunity.”
In the original Chinese, the meaning of the first symbol “wēij”ī is actually best defined as “danger at a point of juncture.”
There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic presents significant dangers to our collective health, our economy, and our community well-being. Stosh Cotler of Bend the Arc likens the pandemic to a tsunami. She reminds us that before a tsunami hits the coastline, all the water recedes. What once was covered, is now exposed – all the muck, the debris and the living things gasping for breath. When this happens, we can see with startling clarity what was previously obscured for those of us who had the privilege not see or to look away.
Our current juncture danger point is whether we, due to our own trauma or perhaps through the privilege we have of being on higher ground during this tsunami, translate the public health necessity for physical distance into a social distance and compassion gap that leads us to ignore the systemic disparities and inequities that the pandemic has exposed.
The data is clear that the Covid-19 pandemic is disproportionately impacting black, brown and poor communities. Decades of disinvestment in public health infrastructure and economic and community development, coupled with the warehousing of black and brown bodies in substandard housing, prisons, immigrant detention centers, and close quarter assembly lines (i.e meat packing plants) has resulted in higher infection and death rates. It should be no surprise, if we allow ourselves to see the muck that has the been exposed, that systemic inequities lead to systemic disparities.
In the face of this, the danger is that we hunker down, await a return to “normal,” and wait for the water to flow back, without attending to the things that are now right in front of us.
Conversely, the opportunity of this moment is also significant. One of the lessons I learned when working as a family psychotherapist was never to waste a crisis because opportunities for systemic change emerge in crises that might never come again. In times of crisis, systems are disrupted enough for real change to happen – for people to see and hear things that were invisible to them before, to experiment with new behaviors and ways to show up for each other, and to shift structural aspects of interactions that significantly heal and alter the system. In short, intentionally utilizing the disruptive aspects of a crisis presents an opportunity to accelerate systemic growth and change.
As organizational leaders we know that making organizational change is hard and typically takes a significant period of time to get our systems and services aligned with a new direction. However, we are not in a typical time. We are in a time of disruption that impacts every part of our organizations – where and how we work, how we interact with our constituents, our funding streams, and all of our operations.
The choice before us is stark. Do we react to this disruption by retrenching in our current organizational culture – in our “just the way we do things around here” way of operating? Or, do we seize the disruptive opportunity this crisis presents to embed our values concerning diversity, inclusion, and equity into our organizational culture and make deep systemic changes that will enable us to respond in more relevant and impactful ways to the pressing needs of our communities?
Here are a few suggested practices that can support you in making organizational shifts:
Intentionally utilize this time to develop your inclusion muscles. Focus on developing new norms for interpersonal interaction that reinforce connection and caring. Our collective health, well-being, and our lives depend on all of us seeing and experiencing how interdependent our futures are with each other.
Practice seeing and naming the disparities embedded in our own policies and practices that contribute to current inequities. We can’t make change until we can expose what was previously unseen.
Practice adapting these policies and practices to more intentionally embed diversity, inclusion, and equity into all that we do.
Below are some guiding questions to consider as you are taking your next implementation steps:
What are the differences that make a difference in our work in the current context?
Of these differences, which of our staff and who among our constituents are currently facing the most disparities and are most marginalized in the midst of this pandemic? How do we hold these staff and constituents at the center of our planning as we move forward?
Given the answers to these questions, what do we keep doing, what do we stop doing, and what do we start doing to take advantage of this crisis to more deeply implement diversity, inclusion, and equity in our organizational culture?
Keep: What has been emerging in the ways we are working now that demonstrate our care, concern, and compassion for each other and our communities? How do we plan for these practices to stick and stay as we move forward?
Stop: What practices are no longer serving us and our mission that we need to sunset during this time?
Start: How can we utilize the disruption to our organizational culture created by the pandemic as an opportunity to reinforce or launch more effective ways to address systemic disparities to achieve more equity for our staff and constituents?
We and our organizations are being challenged to work differently and adapt to urgent needs and new challenges. Let’s not waste the disruption of this crisis. Let us use it to deepen our commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity and address the disparities and systemic inequities that have been exposed by the pandemic. Together we can heal. Together we can make lasting change. For all of us.
Beth Zemsky, a Dodge Technical Assistance faculty member, is Principal at Zemsky & Associates Consulting, LLC, and a qualified administer of the Intercultural Developmental Inventory (IDI).
Eavan Boland was the dream guest for anyone managing a large poetry event. She was gracious and kind with everyone, onstage and backstage, whether signing books, participating in a panel conversation, or being driven to the airport. Whether with Dodge Poetry staff, stage managers, tech crews, students, teachers, poets, caterers, it didn’t matter. She was always the same: considerate, attentive, flexible and unflustered.
Eavan Boland will be remembered on the page as one of the great poets of our time, and remembered by all of us at Dodge Poetry as one of those great-hearted individuals we are sometimes lucky enough to encounter in our lives. We will miss her.
In these unprecedented times, nonprofit organizations are experiencing many challenges, including sudden changes in service delivery, shifting workforce configurations, and potential losses across multiple revenue streams.
Leaders attempting to navigate this new reality are finding their organization’s financial health and sustainability to be at risk. As you take stock of the situation and begin to chart the course forward for your organization, it is critical to stay mission-focused, care for your community, and ensure effective and responsive leadership. Equally important is a focus on financial management. This includes efforts to:
Understand your organization’s current financial
Identify implications to revenue and expenses,
Manage your cash flow.
Understand your organization’s
current financial position
When we say current, we mean at this moment. While having an audit from last year or even financial statements from last quarter is useful, you still need to calculate where you are now.
First understand where you are in terms of net assets, which are resources you’ve accumulated over time that are available for current and future operations. What do you own and how quickly can it be converted to cash? Are your net assets restricted or unrestricted?
The liquid portion of unrestricted net assets, i.e. Liquid Unrestricted Net Assets or “LUNA,” is the most important category to assess. LUNA is the amount of cash, receivables, and liquid investments that an organization has on hand that is not restricted as to timing or donor intent, and the most critical tool available to your organization to weather a crisis. In addition to calculating LUNA, it’s also important to understand funder expectations around restricted net assets. Are you in a position to meet those expectations? If not, is there a possibility the funder may be open to revising the terms of those agreements?
As you assess your financial position, determine the status
of any accounts receivable. Who owes your organization funds? Is it
likely they will pay you or not? Communicate with every partner and funder with
the goal of getting a realistic understanding of whether that money will be
coming in and when to expect it. Accounts payable are also key. To whom
do you owe money? Are your vendors offering extensions or forgiveness on bills
customers may not be able to pay? Communicate with your vendors, keeping in
mind that these may be long-term relationships.
Identify implications to revenue and
Revenue is either earned (e.g., tuition, program fees,
ticket sales) or contributed (e.g., donations or grants). For cultural
institutions that rely on ticket sales and other fees, understand the revenue
implications of a prolonged shutdown. Examine your sources of contributed
revenue as well. Now is the time to turn to relationships with existing donors
and understand if it’s possible for them to release restrictions on grants, or
whether they would consider an emergency grant of unrestricted funds. Think
about whether it makes sense to engage your community in new fundraising
strategies and what that might look like. In addition, various emergency relief
funds—government-funded stimulus packages as well as philanthropic efforts—have
been established. Explore how to access these funds and whether your
Workforce-related expenses, including salaries and
benefits, often comprise up to 80 percent of a nonprofit’s expense budget. Think
through the options for workforce shifts or reductions, keeping in mind any accrued
paid-time-off that may be due employees. As you consider changes to your
workforce, think strategically about retaining capacity for post-crisis and
apply an equity lens to all decisions. For goods and services other than
personnel, understand what costs are fixed over time (e.g., rent and insurance)
and which are variable (e.g., supplies and travel) and will be reduced in the
short-term as activities are curtailed or moved to virtual.
Once you’ve thought through these basic implications, gather
a team of leaders at your organization and create best, moderate and worst case
scenarios based on likely revenue. Compare each scenario to projected expenses.
If you’re not already set up with a scenario planning tool, this simple
Excel template can help you get started.
Manage your cash flow
Now is the time to make sure you’re monitoring your cash
flow as precisely as possible. We know many organizations do not have reserves
to fall back on, but all have money coming in and out. The ebb and flow of cash
projections will tell you when you’ll need to draw on your reserves—if you have
them—or when you need to start planning for contingencies. If you’re not yet projecting
cash flow, here’s a simple
template and video tutorial to get you started.
For organizations without sufficient reserves, accessing a credit
line or other financing tool is another possible route. But understand that
this is debt and you’ll need to have a plan to pay it back. In addition to
bridge loans from philanthropy and low-interest loans from community
development financial institutions, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is
also making loans—some forgivable—available to nonprofits. For information and
support related to applying for the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program, access
this toolbox of resources.
None of us can know what direction this public health crisis
will take or how long it will last. In order to navigate through these
unprecedented times, it is critical for leaders to have a solid understanding
of their organization’s current financial position as well as a range of
scenario plans to put into action when needed.
To say that things are different right now in New Jersey is an understatement. The way we do school, food, work and community has shifted dramatically in just a few weeks.
And our communities are hurting. Many of us have lost jobs or have loved ones who have. Some of us have been struck by the coronavirus. All of us are feeling uncertain about the future.
It’s important that we have the news and information we need to stay safe and healthy. And we know there’s a lot of info coming your way and it may feel helpful, overwhelming or frustrating depending on the day or story.
Join WBGO and Free Press for a digital conversation at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21. Register here.
The focus of the call will be discussing the following three questions:
1. What information do you need to stay safe and healthy in your community?
2. What questions do you need answered to stay safe and healthy?
3. What’s happening in your community right now that shows solutions, resiliency, and creativity?
Feel free to join by video or phone. And please pass this invitation on to others you know.
If you have any questions, email Brit Harley: firstname.lastname@example.org or Mike Rispoli: email@example.com
Until then, take care of yourself. Wash your hands. And find moments of joy and pleasure, either alone, six foot away from other people, or somewhere online.
At their first meeting of the year, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Trustees approved $4 million in grants to support New Jersey’s nonprofit sector, including $1 million in COVID-19 relief and response.
The Board met virtually to approve the first of
the Foundation’s typical three grant cycles on March 30, weeks after the first case
of the coronavirus was announced in New Jersey, a state of emergency was
declared days later, and schools, businesses, and organizations, including
Dodge, rapidly began shuttering offices and canceling events as new social distancing
procedures were enacted to curb the spread of the novel disease.
“With crisis comes risk and opportunity, and since the realities of the
COVID-19 public health crisis have unfolded, Dodge has been focused on opportunity,”
Dodge President & CEO Tanuja Dehne said. “We have the opportunity to act
swiftly and decisively to provide immediate funding for COVID-19-specific
relief, to stabilize the non-profit sectors and systems we helped build, to shape
the recovery and close the widening gap of social disparities that this
pandemic has shined a glaring light on.”
The Board approved more than $3 million in
grants to support nonprofit organizations in Dodge’s arts, education,
environment, informed communities, and other program areas. The grants
include 36 totaling $1,060,000 in Arts, 12 totaling $387,500 in Education, 23
in $1,055,000 in Environment, three in $125,000 in Informed Communities, and nine
totaling $360,000 in other areas.
The majority of grantees were part of Dodge’s
regular March grants cycle, and these also included grants to organizations in
later cycles that primarily work with and serve people and communities of color
and are often at a disadvantage due to historical, institutional, and structural
impediments that may be exacerbated because of COVID-19.
COVID-19 Relief and Response grants
The Board approved an additional $1 million in COVID-19
relief and response using funds from the Foundation’s administrative,
operating, and unallocated grants budgets specifically to address the public
A total of $600,000 was awarded to five pooled funds to support relief efforts aimed at
issues and sectors outside of the Foundation’s program areas of focus, such as medical
supplies and food and housing insecurity. In making these grants, the
Foundation prioritized funds focused on immediate relief, those that have an
equity frame that center the most vulnerable and are explicit about their
definition, and that include trusted partners with expertise and deep
relationships in the geographies and communities they are serving.
pooled funds include:
$300,000 to the New Jersey Pandemic
$100,000 to Newark United Way
$100,000 to the South Jersey Response
Fund at the Community Foundation of South Jersey
$75,000 to support Trenton
initiatives awarded through the Princeton Area Community Foundation
$25,000 to support New Jersey dancers
through the Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund of Dance NYC
Finally, a total of $400,000 in rapid response
and systems impact grants of $5,000 and $10,000, including one $25,000 grant, were
awarded to 56 nonprofit organizations to help stabilize their operations,
adapt their programming, and respond to the needs of their communities. In
making these grants, the Foundation prioritized organizations that are most
vulnerable to economic instability, advancing equity, or stewarding a unique
cultural asset as well as critical intermediaries and membership,
network-support, and advocacy organizations.
Nonprofit organizations that received
rapid response and systems impact grants include:
Art Pride New Jersey Foundation, Artworks,
Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions, Bayshore Center at Bivalve,
Camden City Garden Club, Camden Repertory Theater Community Development Group, Cape
May Stage, Center for Community Arts, Center for Environmental Transformation, Center
for Nonprofits, Chalkbeat Newark, City Green, Clean Water Fund, coLAB Arts, Nourish
NJ, Conservatory of Music and Performing Arts Society, Creative New Jersey, Education
Law Center, Foodshed Alliance, Gallery Aferro, GlassRoots, Greater Newark
Conservancy, Institute of Music for Children, Ironbound Community Corporation, Isles,
Jazz House Kids, Leadership Newark, Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District, Luna
Stage, Movement Alliance Project, Millville Development Corporation, Montclair
State University Center for Cooperative Media, Morristown Neighborhood House, Nai-Ni
Chen Dance Company, Shelterforce, New City Kids, New Jersey Policy Perspective,
New Jersey Theatre Alliance, New Jersey Tree Foundation, Newark Arts Council, Newark
Arts Council for the Newark Arts Education Roundtable, Newark Public Radio, Newark
School of the Arts, Newark Trust for Education, Passage Theatre Company, Paterson
Education Fund, Sharron Miller’s Academy for the Performing Arts, Sister Cities
Girlchoir, Stories of Atlantic City, Sustainable Jersey, Teach for America, Trenton
Children’s Chorus, Trenton Music Makers, Union City Music Project, Urban League
of Essex County, and Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts
a pledge of action related to COVID-19, the Foundation expedited its processes
and made recommendations through its new equity framework designed with the
principle of “Nothing About Us Without Us,” which states that those most
affected by and experienced in working on a problem are the best at creating
solutions. Dodge has long been committed to providing flexible, general
operating support and simplifying its application and reporting requirements. The
Foundation also applies a three-year rolling average of the endowment value to
determine spending each year so funding in one year doesn’t fall off a cliff.
“The goal of this initial phase of our response
is to provide emergency aid to the most vulnerable communities in our state,
including people and communities of color,” Dehne said. “The immediate steps we
share above are just the beginning of our response. Drawing upon the lessons
learned during Superstorm Sandy and best practices in the Disaster Philanthropy
Playbook, we have started to strategize on our second and third phase of
grantmaking to pivot from relief to an equitable long-term recovery.”
At Creative New Jersey, we know the power of keeping networks strong and connected, and we want to help everyone to advance a dialogue around the critical issues facing our communities right now, as well as share timely and accurate information.
There is no more pressing issue in our communities than COVID-19, which in a matter of months has illuminated the many ways that we are all connected and reminds us we still have much work to do to ensure the most marginalized in our communities do not continue to shoulder the brunt of inequities.
That’s why we are supporting each other by connecting virtually and we invite all to join us for Creative NJ Statewide Conversations on Wednesday mornings.
Join these weekly video statewide briefings to connect, support and learn from colleagues in communities around the state: • Schedule: Every Wednesday from 10am to 11am (through April and May) • Registration is necessary: Register for the Wednesday ZOOM calls at 10 am
Topics range from economic stimulus relief for nonprofits and small businesses to education challenges to resources and special concerns for people with disabilities, among other topics.
These are not webinars — these are video conversations with a diverse group of people from all parts of the state. Our featured guest speakers deliver a 10-minute briefing which is then followed by a Q&A with our participants.
On Wednesday, April 15 at 10 a.m., we are joined by Miriam Axel-Lute of Shelterforce, Brit Harley of Newark Public Radio/WBGO, and Stefanie Murray of the Center for Cooperative Media to learn more about local media’s role in informing community, fostering equity, and tips for uncovering local stories in this time of crisis.
We know this is a super busy and stressful time for everyone. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with your ideas on how we can continue to foster a more creative, collaborative and inclusive New Jersey during this time of crisis.
We stand in solidarity with you.
Creative New Jersey fosters collaboration, community inclusion and creative thinking by convening highly-diverse groups of people with varied cross-sector skills, viewpoints, backgrounds, and lived-experiences, in order to advance a community dialogue around critical issues, build and strengthen diverse community networks, encourage cross-sector and multi-cultural partnerships, and foster equitable community-based solutions.
The COVID-19 crisis reminds us that, unfortunately, sometimes warnings from experts about potential disasters come true. It reminds us that making preparations today to ensure our future wellbeing is time well spent. So much of what we do at Sustainable Jersey is working today to invest in the future by taking steps to build our strength and avoid future disasters.
Currently, we are working with municipal and school green teams and elected officials to connect and share resources virtually. In South Jersey, a group of dedicated volunteers have already been working on strengthening their sustainability network. In 2019, the Tri-County Sustainability Alliance (TriCSA) jumpstarted a program to mentor towns in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties that have not achieved Sustainable Jersey certification or have lapsed in their certification.
True to their slogan, “great people implement great ideas,” David Steinberg, a member of the TriCSA, developed the TriCSA Resource Guide that includes a list of what volunteer mentors need to know, common challenges and the local resources available to support sustainability programs. Using the guide, four mentor volunteers from green teams worked with eight muncipalities. The pilot was a success as six muncipalities (Audubon Borough, Chesterfield Township, Gloucester City, Maple Shade Township, Medford Township and Runnemede Borough) were bronze certified in 2019.
Audubon Borough even received the 2019 Sustainable Jersey Rookie of the Year award recognizing their dedication to sustainability efforts. Audubon Mayor John Ward said the borough was pleased for the recognition, and noted, “Special thanks should go to the members of Sustainable Audubon which is a group of dedicated residents pursuing environmental awareness and sustainability within Audubon Borough. Through the hard work of achieving Sustainable Jersey certification, the Borough of Audubon will become a healthy and sustainable community for future generations to enjoy.”
Edward Cohen serves on the Mount Laurel Green Team and is the chair of TriCSA. He explained, “TriCSA is a tremendous group of active community leaders, each of whom are involved in a variety of green efforts. They have always generously shared ideas and resources. It’s a natural extension to help towns new to Sustainable Jersey. When the idea of helping people outside our TriCSA group was presented, many members signed up immediately. Sustainability extends past our town’s borders, or our friend’s town’s borders. Everyone needs to work together to make the needed changes.”
Now with 12 volunteer coaches, whose towns are certified, the TriCSA group is targeting 21 more towns for bronze-level certification, and three municipalities for silver-level certification in their efforts to promote sustainability. In addition to volunteer coaching, TriCSA provides a list of resources to assist local green teams. One list has contact information for the local subject matter experts who are ready to help. The list includes people who specialize in everything from backyard chickens, to urban and community forestry, to energy grid modernization. In addition to individual experts, TriCSA has a comprehensive list of organizations that can assist local green teams in specific areas.
David Steinberg served on Sustainable Haddon Heights and is now working with the Runnemede Green Team. He has a long record of impressive achievements in the sustainability arena; he is a 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee by the International Writers and Artists Association and the recipient of the 2019 Changemaker Award granted by the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. David said, “I reflected on ways that I could make a difference and it was clear that mentoring Sustainable Jersey municipalities was a good place to make an impact.” He added, “As a group, TriCSA decided that we could strengthen sustainability initiatives in our region if we collaborated. When we share resources, we keep costs down and reduce environmental degradation. I look forward to the ripple effect as these new sustainable towns will continue to do innovative work. We can learn from them and partner on future projects.”
David said, “Now that everyone is working remotely, the need for help and resources is amplified. I spoke to an elected official and he was practically jumping through the telephone line he was so excited to get some help. This year our target is 21 towns to achieve bronze-level Sustainable Jersey certification and for two towns to achieve silver-level certification.” In addition to compiling a list of available grants that green teams can apply for while they are working remotely, David is also hoping to add elected officials to his list of volunteers. He said, “My newest idea is the creation of the E-ORB or the Elected Official Resource Bank. This would include a list of elected officials who are available to reach out to their peers to provide background and encouragement for the towns considering sustainability programs.”
TriCSA is one of ten regional Sustainable Jersey Hubs. Regional Hubs have formed across New Jersey and are comprised of municipal and school green team and environmental commission members, municipal and county representatives and business, community and nonprofit leaders.
If you are interested in getting involved, reach out to one of the active Sustainable Jersey Regional Hubs:
We know it is difficult to figure out where to turn for answers to questions during a crisis, especially one with unprecedented challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic. The Dodge Foundation would like to invite all of our grantees to take advantage of free access to our Just In Time consulting with our pool of nonprofit experts to address urgent strategic and organizational practice needs.
Just In Time consulting is designed to provide free, timely guidance about a specific question or issue that can be reasonably addressed in an one-hour conversation with an assigned consultant from our Dodge Board Leaderships series faculty or our partners.
The types of consulting needed might include questions around human resources, financial/operations management, fundraising, sustainability, crisis management, communications, organizational change, navigating CARE Act opportunities, staff or board care, etc.
Please note the Just In Time consulting resources are limited so we will give preference to those organizations with less access to professional consultants. Please know, however, we are actively working on lining up additional consulting services from our nonprofit and grantee partners.
If you have project needs or issues that require a greater time commitment, please consider the following resources:
Free Loan Clinics and resources from Fiscal Management Associates (FMA)
1) Private clinics for Dodge grantees: We offered two financial clinics for Dodge grantees the week of April 6. In the clinics, a team of FMA staff provides any updates from the previous 24 hours and orients attendees to the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program by attending to key aspects of the application process. FMA will then open the floor to a Q&A, with their consultants answering questions in written form and verbally as needed. Recordings from the first session on 4/7 and the second session on 4/9 will be shared with participants. Stay tuned for future opportunities.
2) Tools and resources: This will include helping grantees address any additional needs they will have upon successful application under the PPP program, assessing whether to accept the funds, planning for what to do with them, and preparing for the forgiveness process. See their current tools at https://fmaonline.net/ppptoolbox.
3) Access and delivery of FMA public clinics through April 15, which are also open to grantees on a first-come, first-served basis.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to reach out to us.
Wendy Liscow, Education Program Director
Judy Ha Kim, Technical Assistance Manager
Nonprofit organizations have been included in the CARE Act federal stimulus package. We know many of you have questions about the Paycheck Protection Program, your eligibility, and how to complete the application. Nobody is certain how long funds will be available for allocation to applicants to the program.
We know time is of the essence, so we have partnered with Fiscal Management Associates (FMA) to provide free access for you to attend a private virtual clinic on Tuesday, April 7 at 3 p.m. EST and Thursday, April 9th at 2 p.m. EST in which a team of experts will answer questions and offer guidance as you move through the application process. These clinics are limited to Dodge Foundation grantees.
We believe the loans offered by the Paycheck Protection Program offer an efficient and substantive way to invest in the nonprofit workforce and cover operational costs in the short term. We also believe most 501(c)(3) nonprofits with 500 or fewer employees will be eligible – with the possibility of in part or whole loan forgiveness.
If you have not learned about this program yet, we urge you to review FMA’s PPP Toolbox immediately and in advance of attending any clinics so you can come ready with questions.
Space is limited, register now for your preferred date and time. Please pick one or the other: