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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on July 19, 2000. All rights
That First Million: How to Give It Away
Once you’ve made your first several million dollars,
and going to work every day is beginning to seem redundant, you sell
your company, set aside money to live on, and put the remainder into
a family-run foundation, where it can stay free of taxes and be given
out to good causes. You get to choose the causes.
That scenario may sound like a dream to most of us, but more than
one family in the Princeton area has gone this route. A special
foundation (Princeton Area Community Foundation, 609-688-0300) was
established to take care of the paperwork for some of these would-be
philanthropists. Still, some small foundations rent office spaces
and employ directors.
One of these, the Infinity Foundation, has a half-time director, Susan
Vik. When Vik’s landlord vacated the office she subleased at
Park, she found new quarters on Alexander Road in the Daily Plan It,
the shared office space operated by the nonprofit Community Options.
In between unpacking boxes, she answered some questions and declined
to answer others. After all, the philanthropist she works for is
to remain anonymous. And no, he is not that high profile but anonymous
benefactor of unusual causes in Princeton, the Chocolate Cat.
Vik was an office manager at one of the businesses owned by the
of the foundation. "I’m learning as I going along," she says.
A Massachusetts native, she is a 1977 graduate of Our Lady of Elms,
just outside of Boston in Chicopee, Massachusetts. Her other half-time
job is in the private client technology human resources department
for Merrill Lynch, and her office is now in Somerset. Married to James
Vik, who works for Princeton Nurseries in Allentown, she does regular
volunteer services for some elderly people in Kingston and for the
ladies auxiliary of the Kingston Fire Company.
How much money do Princeton’s philanthropists have? Less than J.
Johnson Jr. but more than the average Joe. The granting budget for
the six-year-old Infinity Foundation has been as high as $300,000
per year, and Vik gives out grants of from $1,000 to $60,000. She
declines to specify the foundation’s total assets. "We do
no fundraising and all of our funding is private funding from the
trustees, all from Princeton," says Vik.
The New Jersey Grants Guide, published by Grant Guides Plus ($149,
www.grantseeker.com), lists several Princeton area foundations:
has $4.2 million in assets and gave a total of $120,000 in grants
ranging from $1,500 to $20,000.
44 Nassau Street) has $2.1 million and gave grants in the $1,000 to
gives grants to Mercer and Monmouth county organizations totaling
$328,000 a year, with an average grant at $8,000.
away about $120,000 per year, ranging from $100 to $50,000.
the New Jersey Grants Guide provides all that information, but the
Infinity Foundation has a particularly easy process. If you represent
a nonprofit, just send a letter. Your group might not get funding
if you submit an application, but you won’t get funded if you don’t.
Past grants have gone to non-profits all over the world plus to
HomeFront, Trenton Soup Kitchen, Mercer Street Friends, Trenton
Rescue Mission, Isles, and the now defunct Holistic Health
"We’re very mindful of organizations in our neighborhood,"
To decide who gets what money, she and other board members do site
visits to see the physical spaces and meet the executive directors
of the different organizations. "We’re great believers in
says Vik. Grants have gone to the University of Santa Barbara,
Columbia University, and the University of Hawaii. "A good way
to describe us is that we give for educational and spiritual
body, mind and spirit grants, and caring and sharing grants."
"Cornell University is sponsoring a big event that has to do with
harmony with religion that definitely intrigues our board," she
says. The foundation is also supporting an event staged by Rutgers’
Why the name Infinity? Because, says Vik, "hopefully it stays
on forever and ever."
2 Suite 208, Princeton 08540. Susan Vik, director. 609-419-1664; fax,
609-419-1665. Home page: www.infinityfoundation.com.
September 15 is the deadline for nonprofit organizations
to request grants from the Princeton Area Community Foundation’s
endowment funds. Call Joan Burkholtz at 609-688-0300 for guidelines
and submission materials. Decisions will be announced in early
PACF did research on how to better serve local agencies and has
three categories. Try to propose something in one of the three.
develop existing and potential strengths and encourage leadership
in the region. Priority will be given to Trenton projects as well
as to those that enhance regional partnerships across municipal
of at-risk populations. Priority will be given to programs that can
make a permanent difference in people’s lives by improving health,
economic stability, living conditions, and learning opportunities.
and heighten productivity. Support for staff and volunteer training,
strategic planning, fundraising, improved use of technology,
issues of diversity, and measuring outcomes will be provided to
with a documented track record of successful and effective
PACF administers 76 individual funds valued at more than $11 million.
To contribute to PACF’s community endowment, call Nancy Kieling,
executive director, or send tax-deductible gifts to PACF, 188 Tamarack
Circle, Skillman 08558. Last year PACF granted more than $834,000
in areas ranging from education to the environment.
Mercedes-Benz of Princeton and its owner, Robert
Greces, donated the $46,000 Mercedes-Benz SLK car for the June
Fete raffle conducted by the Auxiliary of the Medical Center at
The winner was Lawrence Levy, a New York resident who bought
the ticket in Lambertville, says Betty Greber, raffle chair.
Proceeds will benefit cancer programs at the Medical Center. For
on programs and volunteer opportunities at the Medical Center, call
sports equipment to the Trenton Area YMCA, one of 20 organizations
worldwide to participate in the UPS Olympic Sports Legacy Program.
Sal Triolo , a UPS driver and a member of the Y, was instrumental
in obtaining the donation. The tennis, badminton, canoeing,
hockey, boxing, and other equipment will benefit 300 youngsters in
summer camps (such as Camp Meta), after school programs, and other
activities. The YMCA is on Pennington Avenue.
part of its proceeds to Canine Companions for Independence (CCI).
Set for Friday through Sunday, July 28 to 30, at Solberg Airport in
Readington, the festival features 125 balloons, ascending twice daily,
plus twice-daily air shows, fireworks on Friday and the Beach Boys
on Saturday night.
Tickets are available at a discounted rate through CCI, the nonprofit
organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by
providing highly trained assistance dogs at no cost to the receiving
child or adult. Ticket payment should be sent to CCI NJ Chapter,
NJFOB Tkts, 33 Sleepy Hollow Road, Andover NJ 07821-3326. Tickets
are $12 for adults and $5 for children plus $3 per order for postage
and handling. Tickets will be mailed requiring a signature. For
to help find a cure to Parkinson’s Disease. It is donating the profits
from online sale of its gift items, such as the buttermilk pancake
mix and maple syrup, to finance scientific research
Items include a gift basket with syrup, mix, kitchen towel, whisk,
apron, spatula, oven mitt, and biscotti, for $39.95. Many of these
items are also on sale at the restaurant. P.J.s is owned by the Martin
Tuchmans; he is CEO of Interpool, the publicly traded company on
books for the Children’s Home Society, Martin House, and Mt. Carmel
Guild. "The lawyers of Mercer County are continuously developing
projects to improve the quality of life to those fortunate," says
Francine Kowalczyk , executive director of the association. The
goal was 600 books. For information call 609-585-6200.
Participating members of the committee included those from the firms
of Stark & Stark, Fox Rothschild et al, Sterns & Weinroth, Pellettieri
Rabstein & Altman, Drinker, Biddle & Shanley, Hill Wallack, Rothenberg
& Rubinstein, Courter Kobert Laufer & Cohen, Teich Groh Frost &
Staub & Sumners, Lenox Socey et al, Kessler Tutek et al, Legal Aid
Society of Mercer County, and Sovereign Bank
Individual participants included Ryan H. Lilienthal, Ivy Minely,
Joseph Bocchini, Maria Rocco, Joseph Eustace, Elaine D. Dietrich,
Leilani Malamug-Holgado, and D.G. Sarsfield.
service announcements and print materials to promote computer literacy
in communities of color. The project involves cable companies,
networks, and high tech companies. Through September 30 announcements
worth more than $2.5 million will air in 10 markets, including
and will raise awareness of the benefits of computer literacy. In
the second phase, Comcast will work with the Digital Bridge Alliance
to make computer technology available at a community center in
to assist in the development of the Park Place West Intercept Parking
project in Cranbury under the New Jersey Department of
Local Aid for Centers of Places Program. This program grants awards
to non-traditional transportation, and provides towns with the money
and assistance to create biking and walking paths, restore historic
structures or begin downtown beautification projects.
The Local Aid for Centers program is administered through the NJDOT’s
Local Aide Program and supported by the New Jersey Transportation
The more exotic your location for the company picnic,
the riskier it is, says Regina Spratt, risk control strategies
practice leader of Marsh, a Morristown-based risk advisor and
broker. Hold the outing during non-work hours, make attendance
and take precautions.
amusement parks, water parks, or other theme of public parks, to be
sure they are safe for families of employees.
walk through to check for level playing surfaces and well-maintained
equipment. Ask about safety history and, if renting equipment, do
a background check on the provider.
a "two free-drink ticket" policy.
boating or paint ball games.
caterer or, if employees are handling food preparation, be sure food
is properly cooked and refrigerated.
of the site and ensuring child supervision, remember to brief
on the potential for sexual harassment, discrimination, or violence
at the event and remind them how to deal with potential problems.
"A company picnic gone awry could do more harm than good,"
says Spratt. "However, an appropriate amount of planning can make
sure these activities go a long way to build employee morale and
If your company is among the 2,000 companies in the
state to export goods or services, you can have a free online listing
at www.njexport.com. The state commerce and economic growth commission
is funding this site, and the Regional Business Partnership
(a Newark-based membership group is organizing it. IBS Interactive
is designing the site, and Business News New Jersey will collect and
update the data.
Listings will include types of exports, contact names, and locations,
particularly for small and mid-size companies. Last year the six top
importers (Canada, Japan, United Kingdom, Mexico, the Netherlands,
and Israel) bought more than $1 billion in products and services from
New Jersey firms, and the state’s overall exports totaled $22.7
making it the ninth largest exporter in the nation. For questions
about the project, call Barbara E. Kauffman of the Regional
Business Partnership at 973-242-4219.
Thanks to a $1 surcharge on every motor vehicle and
traffic fine or penalty, more than $3.5 million is available to buy
protective vests for law enforcement officers. Attorney General John
J. Farmer Jr. and Kathryn Flicker
justice division, announced that this program could equip 20 percent
of each department’s eligible officers with new protective vests.
About 580 agencies, with about 37,000 officers, can submit
by September 15. Each agency that applies before this deadline is
guaranteed to receive a minimum of $500. But the agency must apply.
For help, call 609-292-1492.
Public Service Electric & Gas has an award program for
new construction that recognizes commitment to energy efficiency.
Din Attarwala is being recognized for a home, currently under
construction in Princeton Greens, and Michael A. Giori for a
home on Dublin Road in Hopewell.
EEH 5 Star homes can include such upgrades as extra levels of
high efficiency HVAC systems, insulated or storm windows and doors,
sealed and insulated ductwork, and energy-efficient controls. Buyers
of these homes may be eligible for special mortgage programs with
stretched qualifying ratios, reduced interest rates, or reduced
closing fees. For information on this program call 800-220-8090.
August 31 is the new deadline for victims of Tropical
Storm Floyd to apply for assistance under the state’s disaster relief
program. "I want to be sure every victim has the time they need
to request assistance," says Governor Christie Whitman.
The program offers grants of up to $15,000 to storm victims whose
needs are not covered by assistance from federal government or
Funds can also help reduce the payoff amounts of disaster assistance
loans from the Small Business Administration. Loan balances can be
reduced by 20 percent, to a maximum of $15,000. For SBA information
call 800-659-2955, and for the Disaster Relief Program call
Grant recipients must certify losses.
The summer, 2000, edition of the NJBA New Jersey
Directory is available. Published by Thomson Financial Publishing,
the directory includes the latest alphabetical listings, addresses,
and phone numbers and 1999 year-end financials of all New Jersey
institutions, correspondents, and holding companies. Banks and
are listed by town, along with the town’s population and the name
of the county and Federal Reserve District in which they are located.
The NJBA is offering directories for as little as $27, depending on
the quantity ordered.
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