Climate Action and Food Insecurity to be Highlighted During Northern NJ Community Foundation’s Celebration of National Community Foundation Week

Garfield First Community Development Corp., a Northern New Jersey Community Foundation COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund grant recipient, provided food to community members.

The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation (NNJCF) joins community foundations nationwide to celebrate National Community Foundation Week, November 12-18, 2020.  During this week, the NNJCF, a nonprofit organization based in Hackensack, New Jersey, plans to undertake activities highlighting the leadership of young adults combating climate change and the growing concern of food insecurity in the region.

Climate Action Leaders

Youth Climate Action Leaders throughout the region are having an impact.  The NNJCF’s Climate Action Mobilization Program (CAMP) reached out to activists to design a Youth Climate Action Network exploring why youth climate leadership is needed, how adults can support and elevate youths’ voices, and activities happening nearby for people to become involved with.  The Foundation invites the public to attend Youth Climate Leadership, a free webinar, on Tuesday, November 17 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

A panel comprised of these young adult leaders will present an overview of their work in climate action: Rachel Lee from Closter with Zero Hour NYC; Blanca Palomino, a senior at Union County Vocational Technical School, from Linden; Hadar Pepperstone, a member of the Montclair State University PSEG Institute of Sustainability Studies Green Team; Frida Ruiz, a senior at Union County Vocational Technical High School; and Jules Tezen, a Youth Leader with Groundwork Elizabeth.  Advanced registration is required and may be done at

Climate action panelist Rachel Lee of Closter (far right)  Photo Credit: Courtesy of Rachel Lee

“Young people are taking the lead worldwide to fight climate change.  The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation reached out to local climate activists to inform our programming.  Their passion, insights, and eagerness to work inspired us to work with them.  Together, we can build innovative solutions to the challenges of climate change and draw attention to this issue, especially during Community Foundation Week,” said Mary Blanusa, Executive Director, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation.

Food Insecurity

The NNJCF is also addressing the escalation of food insecurity, defined as limited or uncertain access to nutritional food, in Bergen County.  A Bergen County Food Security Task Force’s survey found over 80 emergency providers in the County saw a 50 percent increase in consumers since March 2020, with some experiencing more than a 200 percent increase.   They also found over 20,000 people rely on donated food weekly in Bergen County.

Food pantries are in dire need of donations to replenish dwindling supplies.  Monetary donations are especially welcome and may be made to over 76 food pantries throughout Bergen County.  A list of emergency food providers in Bergen County with their addresses, phone numbers and hours of operation may be accessed online at

The NNJCF and its staff are partnering with Tri-Arc Community Development Corporation to donate turkeys to their giveaway drive for seniors.  The pubic may drop off turkeys at Christ Episcopal Church, 480 Warwick Avenue in Teaneck, on Thursday and Friday, November 19 and 20.  Turkey giveaways take place at these locations on Saturday, November 21: the Ideal Lodge, located at 17 Bennett Street in Englewood, and Cornerstone Baptist Church at 145 Central Avenue in Hackensack.  For further information about the turkey giveaways at Christ Episcopal Church, contact Reverend Michelle White at 201-833-4502.  For details about the turkey giveaways at the Ideal Lodge and Cornerstone Baptist Church, contact Joellen Green at 973-632-4088.

National Community Foundation Week

National Community Foundation Week was created in 1989 by former president George H.W. Bush to raise awareness about the important role philanthropic organizations like the NNJCF play in fostering local collaboration and innovating solutions to address persistent civic and economic challenges.  Community foundations are independent, public entities that steward philanthropic resources from institutional and individual donors to local nonprofits, representing one of the fastest-growing forms of philanthropy.   As community foundations find solutions for communities, their collective work has a profound impact.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, foundations distributed over $1 billion.  The NNJCF awarded over $500,000 in grants to nonprofits providing services on the frontlines.

The Foundation was well positioned to respond to the unfolding pandemic.  “We acted quickly working with donors and nonprofit service providers at the local level.  Following our motto, ‘What can we do together that we can’t alone,’ we aggregated funds from donors of all sizes, ranging from $10 to $200,000.  The Foundation distributed over a half a million dollars to over 100 grassroots non-profits serving our neighbors in a time of need,” explained Blanusa.

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