With 2011 coming to a close, we pause to reflect on another busy and rewarding year.
We are inspired every day by the creative and dedicated non-profit sector here in New Jersey, which has endured and even thrived in the face of tough economic challenges. This year, Dodge made 233 grants, totaling $10.5 million, to Arts, Education, Environment and Media organizations in every corner of the state. Twenty-two of those were to new grantees.
We continued to host our comprehensive capacity building workshops (“Technical Assistance”), which offer practical advice and information to non-profits on much-requested topics, like Board Leadership Training and Communications. We stepped up efforts to collaborate with our philanthropic colleagues, most notably on education initiatives in Newark, and look forward to even more joint projects in 2012. We also were proud to help launch the Creative NJ effort with a “Call to Collaboration” two-day event in June, and we hope you will look to attend one of the place-based follow-up events that will occur throughout 2012.
At Dodge, we welcomed three new staff members: Kathleen Hofmann, who is my Executive Assistant, Michele Russo, our Poetry Coordinator, and Margaret Waldock, our Environment Program Director. We also said a fond farewell to Michelle Knapik, who joined the Surdna Foundation in New York, and to Khalil Murrell, who is now with the Community-Word Project, also in New York.
Looking ahead to 2012, we intend to explore some new major initiatives for the Foundation, including Arts advocacy, innovative teacher and school leadership training programs, protecting our water supply (both the quality and quantity), and New Jersey-focused news and information, among others.
We are already knee-deep in planning for the next Poetry Festival, which we’re excited to bring back to Newark in the autumn of 2012 with our partners at NJPAC and the City of Newark, and with the support of the Downtown Arts District. We will be sharing many more details about the Festival, including which poets will be joining us, in the coming months, so please stay tuned.
As a reminder, throughout the year on the Dodge blog, you can read our latest thinking and meet many of our grantees and learn about their work in their own words. We also invite you to join our conversations on Facebook and Twitter. In early 2012, we will launch a completely overhauled website, and we hope you will join our community there too.
Warm wishes for the holidays and a Happy New Year from the Trustees and staff of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation,
President and CEO
Image by Bill Lynch