M&T Charitable Foundation Awards Northern NJ Community Foundation a First-Time Grant for $20,000

(Hackensack, New Jersey; May 3, 2024) – The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation (NNJCF) announces a grant award of $20,000 from M&T Charitable Foundation.  This grant supports key programs and projects the NNJCF is undertaking: Green Infrastructure for Environmental Justice, Beyond the Wall, and Hackensack River Nation.

“We thank M&T Charitable Foundation for their generous support of the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation and our work in the northern region of the state.  As a first-time recipient from M&T Charitable Foundation, this grant supports three critical areas: green infrastructure for environmental justice, the expansion of ‘The Black Women’s Mural’ with the development of a website and interactive digital content, and the launch and cultivation of Hackensack River Nation – an alliance working to protect the river’s watershed and ecosystems,” said Executive Director Leonardo Vazquez of the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation.

Green Infrastructure for Environmental Justice

The Green Infrastructure for Environmental Justice and Flood Mitigation program addresses flooding issues in the City of Hackensack.  In the city, extensive stormwater flooding coupled with climate change increased environmental and health risks particularly to Latinx, Black and other communities of color.  The program complements the combined sewer separation work underway by the City of Hackensack.  This helps especially areas in Hackensack the most prone to flooding during significant rainfalls.  These areas have greater concentrations of Black, Latino and low- and moderate-income residents.  The program also works to create a coalition of community residents from these areas striving to be stronger advocates for strategies to protect their neighborhoods from future flooding.  Learn more about this program on the NNJCF’s website, http://tinyurl.com/GreenInfrastructureJustice.

Beyond the Wall

              The NNJCF’s ArtsBergen initiative is developing an educational, inspirational website expounding on the meaning, significance and process of the creation of ‘The Black Women’s Mural: Celebrating Black Suffragists and Black Women in Englewood’.  This public artwork, painted by artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, appears on the exterior wall of the Women's Rights Information Center's building in the City of Englewood, New Jersey. 

‘Beyond the Wall’ expands upon the installation of ‘The Black Women’s Mural’ with the development of a website and interactive digital content.  Details about the histories, stories, and biographies of each of the six historic and living Black women represented in the mural will be created.  The website will serve as an educational archive and resource for viewers of the mural.  For further information about the launch of this innovative website, visit https://www.nnjcf.org/beyond-the-wall/ .

Hackensack River Nation

The NNJCF is building a regional alliance – Hackensack River Nation – comprised of municipalities, nonprofits, environmental-oriented businesses and other organizations.  Through this program, representatives from these organizations and agencies work together and identify strategies for better land use regulations and environmental policies, while also promoting economic development supporting the natural environment.  This will also inspire more people in the area to get involved and protect the river and its watershed.  Ultimately, this collaboration will reduce flooding, make the Hackensack River cleaner, and enhance the area’s local economies.  Learn more about this alliance, tinyurl.com/HackensackRNationLaunches.

For further information about the NNJCF, visit the organization’s website at www.nnjcf.org, contact 201-568-5608 or send an e-mail to nnjcf@nnjcf.org.

About Northern New Jersey Community Foundation
            Founded in 1998, The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 organization based in Hackensack, New Jersey, celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2023.  The NNJCF works with local governments, school districts, businesses, non-profit organizations, and citizen groups to improve community life.  Through collaborative partnerships, regional problems are identified and resolved.  Opportunities are discovered and explored by talking and learning from each other and sharing ideas, best practices, services, and resources.  The Foundation's primary areas of work are the environment, arts and culture, public health, education, civic engagement, and philanthropy.  For more information, visit the organization’s website, www.nnjcf.org, send an email to nnjcf@nnjcf.org, or call 201-568-5608.

Photo Caption: The M&T Charitable Foundation presented the grant award in a check presentation to the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation on April 17, 2024.  Shown from left to right are: Alle Ries, Vice President, Community Reinvestment Group | New Jersey CRA Officer, M&T Bank; Danielle DeLaurentis, Associate Director, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation; Leonardo Vazquez, Executive Director, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, Michael Shannon, President, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation; Brendon Feliciano, Assistant Vice President, M&T Bank; and Kathleen Carrasco, Senior Business Relationship Manager, M&T Bank. 

Photo Credit: Sam Lee

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