Our History

Our History

Victoria Foundation is one of the oldest private foundations in America. Hendon Chubb created the Foundation in 1924 in order to improve the lives of those less fortunate than himself. Named for his mother, Victoria, the Foundation provided assistance to needy individuals through the 1950s. In the 1960s, the Foundation began focusing more on Newark and especially on access to education, enrichment, and job opportunities as well as social justice issues such as civil rights and poverty.


In the 1970s, based on feedback from community leaders in Newark, the Foundation expanded its efforts to include neighborhood revitalization and strengthening community networks.  This included helping start and grow community development organizations such as New Community Corporation, La Casa de Don Pedro, Ironbound Community Corporation, and Unified Vailsburg Services Organization.  Victoria also became known for providing annual general operating support and for focusing on youth development as well as education.  During this time, trustees expanded Victoria’s mission to include open space preservation, both buying land directly and supporting conservation nonprofits.

Throughout its almost 100 year history, the Foundation has been committed to supporting community leaders and residents in addressing their own needs and shaping their own lives and neighborhoods. This commitment remains in place today and will guide the Foundation into the future.

We invite you to learn more about Victoria Foundation's history, via the link below:

Our Timeline


The Beginning

  • 1924 - Hendon Chubb creates Victoria Foundation as an independent grantmaking institution, which he names in honor of his mother, Victoria Eddis Chubb.
  • 1939 - When the Foundation realizes that many young children with rheumatic heart problems do not have access to quality convalescent care, it opens the Children’s Heart Unit (CHU) in Morris Plains, New Jersey.
  • 1955 - Victoria Foundation closes the CHU following the eradication of rheumatic fever, pivoting its focus to institutional giving.




A New President, Educational Pilots, and a Specific Focus on Newark

  • 1960 - Percy Chubb II assumes the role of president of Victoria Foundation. During his tenure, the Foundation developed its new direction in funding priorities and operations.
  • 1964 - One of the first educational pilots for pre-kindergarten and elementary grades within the United States launches in 1964 at Cleveland Elementary School in Newark, supported by Victoria Foundation.
  • 1967 - Victoria Foundation shifts the majority of its grantmaking focus to Newark, New Jersey, in response to the Newark Rebellion in July of 1967.
  • 1968 - The Foundation names its first executive officer, Howard E. Quirk, whose first task is to explore the needs of Newark's Central Ward and recommend a course of action for the Foundation. 
  • 1969 - Quirk hires Catherine McFarland Harvey to join Victoria Foundation as a part-time secretary. She became the Foundation’s second executive officer in 1989 upon Quirk’s retirement.


Funding Local Communities, Education, and Environmental Causes

  • 1971 - Matthew Carter is the first African American elected to Victoria Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
  • 1973 - Percy Chubb III and Margaret Parker join the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
  • Victoria Foundation begins funding local community development corporations, such as Tri-Cities Peoples Corp., New Community Corp., La Casa de Don Pedro, Unified Vailsburg Services Organization, and Ironbound Community Corp.
  • The Foundation expands its education funding portfolio to include independent and religious schools, such as The Chad School/Black Youth Organization, St. Benedict’s Preparatory School, Saint Vincent Academy, Queen of Angels School, Link Community Charter School, and many others across the city.
  • 1976 - The Foundation begins to support environment-related causes, including land conservation. Victoria Foundation becomes the first philanthropic organization to make substantial grants toward conserving the New Jersey Pinelands.



A New Program-Related Investment Initiative, and NJPAC Grants

  • 1982 - Percy Chubb III becomes Victoria Foundation’s board chair. Under his leadership, the Foundation develops a comprehensive approach to neighborhood revitalization, establishes the Foundation’s Program-Related Investment initiative, deepens Victoria Foundation’s commitment to education and the environment, and develops strong partnerships with Newark Mayors Cory Booker and Ras Baraka.
  • 1988 - Victoria awards the New Jersey Performing Arts Center a small planning grant, and later two grants of $2.5 million each in 1991 and 1999. (In 2001, Victoria Foundation awards a $5 million endowment gift to ensure the organization's long-term viability.)


Growth, Change in Public Schools, and Grants for Land Purchases

  • In the mid-1990s, when Foundation assets grew, the trustees establish a fund that began to contribute to the purchase of specific pieces of land, chiefly in the water-rich Highlands at the top of Newark's Passaic River watershed.
  • 1995 - The New Jersey State Department of Education takes over Newark's public schools with the promise of radical change.
  • 1996 - The Foundation's trustees commit a total of $5 million over five years to Newark public school reform, hoping to leverage the state's commitment with additional small, but strategic, projects focused on important reform issues.



Preserving Open Spaces, a New Executive Officer

  • 2002 - Victoria Foundation makes significant investments to help preserve open space and drinking water quality in New Jersey with The Nature Conservancy ($1.5 million) and the New Jersey Conservation Foundation ($1.125 million).
  • 2006 - After 37 years of service to the Newark community by leading Victoria Foundation, Catherine McFarland Harvey retires. Irene Cooper-Basch becomes the new executive officer of Victoria Foundation.


Thriving Neighborhood Initiative and a New Strategic Planning Process

  • 2012 - Victoria Foundation moves its offices to Newark, New Jersey.
  • 2014 - Victoria Foundation executive officer Irene Cooper-Basch completes a dissertation about the evolution of Victoria Foundation from 1924 to 2003, with a special focus on the Newark years as part of pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in urban systems at Rutgers University-Newark.
  • 2015 - Dr. Frank Alvarez is named board president and becomes the first person of color to serve in this role.
  • 2016 - The Foundation launches the Thriving Neighborhood Initiative in Newark’s Upper Clinton Hill and Fairmount neighborhoods and makes a significant investment in program evaluation.
  • 2019 - Victoria Foundation begins its first-ever strategic planning journey.



A New Mission, COVID Response, Celebrating Our 100 Year Anniversary

  • 2020 - Newark faces two concurrent crises: the COVID-19 pandemic and systemic racial injustice, leading to a racial reckoning following the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. Victoria Foundation awards $1 million in program-related investment for the development of 100 affordable housing units, $1 million for Mayor Baraka’s Guaranteed Income Pilot, $500,000 for the Community COVID Fund, and $500,000 to Community Foundation of New Jersey to support family and nonprofit technology needs.
  • 2021 - Victoria adopts its new mission, vision, values, and strategic framework to strengthen community power, foster economic justice, promote youth self-determination, and shares it with stakeholders.
  • 2021 - Victoria Foundation awards $1 million to help support eviction prevention in Newark.
  • 2022 - After 20 years of service to the Newark community by leading Victoria Foundation, Irene Cooper-Basch retires. Craig Drinkard becomes the new executive officer and the first person of color to lead Victoria Foundation.
  • 2024 - Victoria Foundation celebrates its 100th anniversary and the awarding of more than $380 million in grants since 1924.
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Victoria Foundation
550 Broad St
Suite 1402
Newark, NJ 07102


Ph. 973-792-9200
e-mail info@victoriafoundation.org