Perpetual Giving: Is Now the Time?

Responding To Tragedy Through Art

Corporate Angels

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This article was prepared for the

December 19, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights

reserved.

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

headquarters

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

salary-adjusted

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

percent),

and bequests (8 percent). Corporations directly donate $40.5 million

to New Jersey charities. In 1999, New Jersey’s 1,600 foundations

donated

$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).

Top Of Page
Perpetual Giving: Is Now the Time?

Like it or not, we are all a part of history now,

witnesses

to events that will change the world in ways we can not yet even

guess.

Along with the grief comes a perspective. September 11 was a dividing

line, but also a connection point. We are joined to other

history-altering

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

charities

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,

financial

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

professional

advisors. One sponsor, Lynn Malzone Ierardi, president of the

Gift Planning Council of New Jersey, sums up the organization’s

approach:

"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.

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Responding To Tragedy Through Art

The trustees of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, with

headquarters in Morristown, have given $1 million to support

organizations

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

received,

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:

McCarter Theater received $30,000 to support the

commissioning

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.

The Institute for Arts & Humanities Education in New

Brunswick

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.

The South Brunswick Board of Education received $15,000

for a similar program. Its project is called "Voices of Children:

A Community Confronts the Unexplainable." It will involve a

partnership

that includes clergy, police, and municipal and school personnel to

help children express their responses to events on September 11.

ArtPride New Jersey, a Trenton group, received $15,000

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.

Randy James Dance Works in Highland Park received $20,000,

which it is using to support the work of five collaborating artists

to create a multi-media performance piece utilizing dance, text,

photographs

and music developed from the artists’ personal experiences of

September

11 and subsequently.

Top Of Page
Corporate Angels

In partnership with the New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women,

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."

Bohren’s United Van Lines hosted a reception previewing

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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