New Jersey Social Sector’s Shared Road Ahead

May 8, 2013

In a few weeks, New Jersey’s social sector — funders and nonprofits – will have the opportunity to come together for a day of learning and perspective when the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers hosts Our Shared Road Ahead – Sandy and Beyond. This day-long conference will offer grantmakers and the charities they support the chance to hear from national colleagues about the challenges our state will face over the next 2, 4, 6 even 8 years as we recover and rebuild after Superstorm Sandy.

The day has been designed to inform and engage not just those working in directly impacted communities but those working day in and day out throughout the state to raise the quality of life and improve outcomes.  In truth, New Jersey’s entire social sector will feel the impact of this disaster for many years to come regardless of whether they were in the direct line of the storm.  This is why we have enlisted speakers and designed sessions that will provide us with a roadmap of sorts on what to expect.  Our guests will bring insights from 9/11 and Katrina, to the BP Oil Spill and the Alabama Tornedoes.  Some of the sessions include:

Peering Through the Crystal Ball: Lessons for the Next Phase
Featuring John Grady Davies (Baton Rouge Area Foundation), Edie Lutnick (The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund), and Sherry P. Magill (Jessie Ball duPont Fund), along with Roland Anglin (Cornwall Center of Rutgers University) this session will offer perspectives as far as 7 to 10 years post-disaster, and shed light on what will be needed in the social sector trenches.

Out of the Spotlight: Helping Non-Tourist Communities
Building on the opening session John Davies will continue to share his experience and insights specific to those communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina that were out of the tourist town spotlight.

Patient Capital: Banking on Long-Term Results
Also known as “long-term capital,” patient capital has become an integral part of the toolkit for grantmakers and has been applauded on an international scale as a thriving model for advancing philanthropic investments. Using a case study, the session will address how grantmakers and nonprofits can tackle the concept of patient capital with board and staff, how it can be included in their budgets, where and when this type of support is most appropriate, and how and when grantmakers should pull out.

Working Effectively with Government
This isn’t always easy, however in post-Sandy New Jersey it is absolutely a necessity for the social sector and for government. We truly do have a shared road. Join us as we explore strategies and successful examples of where government is working with the philanthropic and nonprofit communities in a meaningful way.

Speaking Up: Getting Your Story Told
Storytelling is an integral part of the social sector’s work to foster real and lasting change. Yet, how do grantmakers and nonprofits keep the media attention alive in a state that is so media-challenged? Hear from the renowned firm Spitfire Strategies and New Jersey News Commons as they provide an overview of the current state of New Jersey’s media environment and speak about various communications strategies and tools that can have a profound impact, given our unique and challenging environment.

Beyond Money: How Philanthropy Can Leverage More
Philanthropy has many tools it can use to address the causes and issues about which it cares. Some are tried and true. Others are quite innovative and entrepreneurial. Join two foundation leaders whose organizations successfully illustrate how foundation assets – both real and unrealized– can be put to use and be a catalyst for social change, especially when considering the challenges ahead.

Funders and their nonprofit grantees are by nature collaborators together in making our world a better place.  Though our social sector is not wholly unprepared to meet the challenges we now face, we are none-the-less forced now to navigate some new and uncharted waters. The Conference promises to be an extraordinary day of shared learning and a platform for action for our entire sector.   With so much at stake, we need to ensure that we are all traveling this shared road together.

Nina Stack is President of the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, the statewide association of more than 120 funding organizations working in New Jersey. She also serves as Chair of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, a 34-member network serving more than 4,000 foundations, corporations and other donors across the country.