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This article was prepared for the
December 19, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights
New Jersey & Giving: Perfect Together?
By one measure, New Jersey is a very giving state, but
by another, it lags badly in charitable giving. According to a study
by the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, an organization with
on West State Street in Trenton, state residents donate 13 percent
more to charity than the national average. So far, so good. Yet, New
Jerseyans earn 27 more than the national average, putting their
giving behind that of their countrymen.
No matter what the yardstick, the Grantmakers’ study shows that the
amounts are impressive. New Jersey residents gave $5.8 billion in
1999, or an average of $1,500 each. Individuals donated 76 percent
of the total contributions charities received.
The rest came from foundations (10 percent), corporations (six
and bequests (8 percent). Corporations directly donate $40.5 million
to New Jersey charities. In 1999, New Jersey’s 1,600 foundations
$913 million, 38 percent of it to New Jersey charities.
Top-ranked areas of funding in New Jersey are education (24 percent),
public/societal benefit (22 percent), human services (15 percent),
health-related (14 percent), arts and culture (11 percent), and other
charities (14 percent).
Like it or not, we are all a part of history now,
to events that will change the world in ways we can not yet even
Along with the grief comes a perspective. September 11 was a dividing
line, but also a connection point. We are joined to other
events behind us, and to a future that is less clear than it was just
a few months ago.
This could turn out to be a fortuitous time for Legacy New Jersey
to make its debut. A statewide campaign to encourage charitable giving
from beyond the grave, the new group’s core message is "you can
make a difference in the lives that follow."
While most New Jersey residents — 70 percent — give to
during their lives, only 8 percent include charities in their wills.
Legacy New Jersey was formed to sell the living on the benefits of
living on through posthumous gifts.
Ron Brown, director of the Office of Planned Giving at Princeton
University, is chair of the group, which is funded by charities,
advisors, trust officers, foundations and corporations.
Twelve years in formation, Leave a Legacy New Jersey has enlisted
the support of 130 New Jersey charities and some two dozen
advisors. One sponsor, Lynn Malzone Ierardi, president of the
Gift Planning Council of New Jersey, sums up the organization’s
"Maybe it’s a chance to give back to an organization that helped
you, or helped your family. Maybe it’s a way to express your personal
values. Leaving a legacy is so much more than money. It’s passing
on a bit of yourself for future generations."
But, of course, it is all about money — the vital fuel that keeps
everything from the smallest food bank to the mightiest university
running. Adjusted for inflation, bequests remained flat throughout
the booming 1990s. Legacy New Jersey hopes change that by reminding
state residents that by writing a charity into their wills they are
securing a place in history.
The trustees of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, with
headquarters in Morristown, have given $1 million to support
making, or planning to make, extraordinary responses to the events
of September 11, and the ongoing crisis in the country.
Organizations were invited to apply for funds to support programs
in line with their missions and strengths. Of the 170 proposals
45 have been awarded grants. The Dodge Foundation supports the arts,
education, Morris County, critical issues, and the welfare of animals.
A number of non-profits in Mercer and Middlesex County, including
many arts organizations, have received the grants. Among them:
of Marc Wolf to develop a theater piece that will give voice to the
American experience following September 11, specifically for residency
work with three New Jersey school districts.
received $15,000 to support "A Time to Heal," a multi-media
program offering students, teachers, families, and communities the
opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings through art.
for a similar program. Its project is called "Voices of Children:
A Community Confronts the Unexplainable." It will involve a
that includes clergy, police, and municipal and school personnel to
help children express their responses to events on September 11.
to develop an online resource room to include "Connections,"
an online gallery to showcase creative expressions in response to
the events of the past three months.
which it is using to support the work of five collaborating artists
to create a multi-media performance piece utilizing dance, text,
and music developed from the artists’ personal experiences of
11 and subsequently.
the George Street Playhouse has raised approximately $6,500
for the Beverly Crawford Fund, which provides food, transportation,
shelter, rent, and other transition support for survivors of domestic
violence. The money was collected by soliciting donations from the
stage during the first production of its 2001-2002 season, "Lady
Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill."
this year’s Eden Dreams fundraiser, Dreams of Tir na Nog, a dinner
dance to be held on Saturday, January 19. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres
were served to a gathering of 100 in the company’s warehouse, which
was decorated as an enchanted forest.
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