Planning Year 2020

A Year of Planning And Strategic Assessment

2020 Planning Webinar

Letter to Victoria Foundation Grantees

pdfDownload original letter as a pdf

June 4, 2019

Dear Victoria Foundation Grantee:

As Victoria Foundation approaches the end of a century of giving, we feel the time is right to take a step back and consider how to have the greatest possible impact in light of the needs, challenges, and opportunities Newark faces today.

Much has changed since Victoria trustees decided, in the aftermath of the 1967 rebellion, to direct most of the Foundation’s giving to assist children and families in Newark. In many ways, today’s Newark is a thriving city. Crime and unemployment have declined, and downtown enjoys a real estate boom. But progress is, to say the least, uneven. Most families in Newark struggle daily to make ends meet as they confront the debilitatingly narrow range of choices their economic situation offers.

The persistence of poverty and inequality in Newark, despite decades of dedicated efforts by nonprofits, community leaders, and local funders, is causing Victoria Foundation to reassess how best to use our resources.Like many of you, we are asking ourselves what we can do differently to attack the root causes of intergenerational poverty and community disinvestment. What can be done to shift the dynamics that reproduce them, year after year? History teaches us that these dynamics stem from structural and institutional racism and segregation, and that shifting them will not be easy.Trustees and staff feel the  need to tackle these issues more directly and to work towards making Newark a place of broadly-shared prosperity and opportunity for all its residents.

So that we can devote our full attention to this ambitious undertaking, Victoria trustees have decided to make 2020 a year of planning and strategic assessment of the Foundation’s practices.During the 2020 planning year, Victoria will pause all regular grant making activities and will not accept proposals for review. With this in mind, Victoria trustees will award two-year grants to most grantees in 2019, approving support for 2020 programming in advance.

We intend to use the time away from our regular grant cycle in 2020 to engage with Newark grantees, residents, civic and community leaders, other foundations, and subject-matter experts. We also will consult with our statewide environmental grantees and assess our priorities in that area. The result will be a well-thought-out plan to guide our future work.

Rest assured, in no way is our planning process aimed at diminishing the Foundation’s commitment to its mission. Rather, we believe that we will be able to fulfill that mission more powerfully, as a better, stronger partner to everyone involved in the mission of helping our city and its people reach their full potential.

Change is unsettling, especially where funding is concerned. Trustees and staff recognize that all Victoria Foundation grantees are engaged in important, time-sensitive work, and we appreciate that there will be questions and concerns about our decision to take 2020 as a planning year. Please know that we will seek to make this pause in our grant cycle minimally disruptive and to schedule ample opportunities to speak with our grantees directly.

Since 1924, Victoria Foundation has awarded over $300 million to benefit Newark and about $30 million to protect the environment statewide. We are truly excited for the opportunity to reflect, and, in conversation with you, develop strategies that have the potential to strengthen the odds of success for Newark’s children and to support a healthier, more equitable environment in New Jersey.

We look forward to engaging with you in the coming months and would like to thank you in advance for your input and support on this exciting journey.

Warmest regards,

Irene Cooper-Basch                        Frank Alvarez
Executive Officer                               Board President

Frequently Asked Questions

pdfDownload FAQ as a pdf

Why does the Victoria Foundation think it needs to reassess its grantmaking at this time?

As Victoria Foundation approaches the end of a century of giving, we feel the time is right to take a step back and consider how to have the greatest possible impact in light of the needs, challenges, and opportunities Newark faces today. 

Most families in Newark struggle daily to make ends meet as they confront the debilitatingly narrow range of choices their economic situation offers. The persistence of poverty and inequality in Newark, despite decades of dedicated efforts by nonprofits, community leaders, and local funders, is causing Victoria Foundation to reassess how best to use our resources. Like many of you, we are asking ourselves what we can do differently to attack the root causes of intergenerational poverty and community disinvestment. What can be done to shift the dynamics that reproduce them, year after year? History teaches us that these dynamics stem from structural and institutional racism and segregation, and that shifting them will not be easy. Trustees and staff feel the need to take stock of the possibilities for ending entrenched economic scarcity and find the strategies needed to make Newark a place of broadly-shared prosperity and opportunity for all its residents.

How will you minimize disruption for your grantees during this planning period?

Rest assured, in no way is our planning process aimed at diminishing the Foundation’s commitment to its mission. Rather, we believe that we will be able to fulfill that mission more powerfully, as a better, stronger partner to everyone involved in the mission of helping our city and its people reach their full potential. Though we will temporarily suspend Victoria’s grantmaking activities after the Fall 2019 grant cycle, most grants made in 2019 will be awarded over a two-year timeframe. 

Trustees and staff recognize that all Victoria Foundation grantees are engaged in important, time-sensitive work, and we appreciate that there will be questions and concerns about our decision to take 2020 as a planning year. Please know that we will seek to make this pause in our grant cycle minimally disruptive and to schedule ample opportunities to speak with our grantees directly. 

Will everyone who has funding now receive a two-year grant? 

Most grant awards made in 2019 will be for a two-year period. Each grantee award letter will explain the details specific to those grants.

When will we find out if we are getting a two-year grant?

Grantee letters will be sent at the usual times: shortly after the June and December Victoria Foundation trustees meetings.

Should fall-cycle grantees submit a two-year proposal request?

No, they should submit the usual one-year request and Victoria trustees will determine the length of the grant award.

When will you announce your new strategic direction?

We anticipate sharing the results of our planning in 2021.  

Do you anticipate an increase or decrease in funding for Newark organizations?

Newark is – and will continue to be -- at the heart of Victoria Foundation’s mission. Beyond that, we don’t know what the results of our strategic discussions will be.

Do you anticipate funding more or fewer organizations? 

The goal of this reflection and planning year is to ascertain whether the Foundation can achieve greater impact with its resources. At this early stage, it is not possible to know the effect this might have on the number of grantees.

Will you continue to fund environment efforts outside of Newark?

As we are doing with the Newark-focused grantmaking, trustees will reflect on and review our environment grant making during the 2020 planning year.

Will you solicit input from your grantees and other external groups during this planning process?

Yes. It’s very important to us that the voices of Victoria Foundation grantees be heard. As plans for our strategic discussions are formulated, we will inform grantees of opportunities to provide input.

Will this process involve staff changes at Victoria?

We have no plans at this time to make changes in our staff.

Will program officers be accessible during this planning process?

Yes, we want our grantees to have the same level of contact with program staff as always.

What will be the criteria for deciding whether a grantee is funded after 2020?

Developing such criteria will be part of our strategic planning process in 2020.

What is your plan for grantees who won’t be renewed?

As part of the planning process in 2020, we will determine how to provide transition assistance to many of those grantees whose work no longer aligns with Victoria Foundation’s strategy. It is too early to say what particular kinds of assistance will be provided. 

What are the Fall 2019 grant cycle dates?

All dates are subject to change.  Please check www.victoriafoundation.org for current information.  

PROSPECTIVE APPLICANTS

  • Letter of Intent (Stage 1) Deadline -  June 21, 2019
  • Full Proposal (Stage 2) Invite Emailed - July 8, 2019
  • Full Proposal Deadline - August 1, 2019

RETURNING GRANTEES

  • Application Link Emailed - June 18, 2019
  • Application Deadline - July 18, 2019

SUMMER PROGRAMS/CAMPS

  • Application Link Emailed - August 15, 2019
  • Application Deadline - September 15, 2019

Fall 2019 Applicants notified of Results - December 2019

I have a question that isn’t covered here. What should I do? 

Please reach out to Victoria’s Grants Manager or your Program Officer.

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Location

Victoria Foundation
31 Mulberry Street, 5th Floor
Newark, NJ 07102

Contact

Ph. 973-792-9200
Fax 973-792-1300
e-mail info@victoriafoundation.org

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