Meet Samantha Giustiniani, Senior Director of Education & Outreach of Count Basie Center for the Arts! Learn about how Samantha navigates the 6 C’s of nonprofit sea change, how she got into the nonprofit world and a fun fact or two!

1. How do you navigate the 6 “C”s of Nonprofit Sea Change? (Capacity, Curiosity, Conversation, Collaboration, Creativity, and Compassion)

I feel like the six “C”s of Nonprofit Sea Change are words that are at the heart of both nonprofit work and the arts. All of these principles apply to artistic work in practice and creation, and the nonprofit world.

Those of us working in nonprofit are here to serve our communities. It is essential we have curiosity in order to move work forward, continue the important and necessary conversations, and collaborate with partners to best address issues and fulfill needs. We need to be creative thinkers to come up with the sometimes out-of-the-box solutions that are needed. These skills we learn and use being in the arts arm us for nonprofit work, and I am so fortunate to work in both.

2. When did you realize you wanted to work in the nonprofit world? Tell us about this journey.

Previous to working in the nonprofit sector, I worked for a corporate environment. During this time I also had the good fortune of becoming a teaching artist at Count Basie Center for the Arts. While during the day I was working in a profit-driven environment and not feeling creative, in the evening I was working with students from different backgrounds, and with an organization who was equally as passionate about bringing the arts to the community. I am forever grateful to have had some incredible teachers and mentors in my life, ones that truly shaped the person I am today, and I realized through my own teaching I was able to give this back, even in my small way. Soon, the opportunity to become a member of the administrative team at the Basie came along.

Now I’m able to work in the nonprofit arts sector and help to equip teachers with tools to bring the arts into the classroom, and work with students directly. The shift to nonprofit changed everything for me and I don’t think I could ever go back!

3. What’s your favorite fun activity to do at the Central Jersey Shore?

Growing up near the beach, I always find it relaxing to be there, especially in the early spring and fall when it’s quiet. There have also been so many new restaurants to open in our area which are always fun to try out!

4. How do you practice self-care/stress relief?

I love to read – it’s a great way to unplug and completely focus on something else. I also recently took an adult acting class that provided such an amazing outlet and learning opportunity. I also love my Headspace app for meditation.

5. Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?

“The greatest moments in life are not concerned with selfish achievements but rather with the things we do for the people we love and esteem, and whose respect we need.” -Walt Disney

Today we highlight Diane Hutton-Rose, Executive Director of 21 Plus, Inc.! Learn about how Diane leads 21 Plus through the 6 C’s of Nonprofit Sea Change, how she got into the nonprofit world and what she likes to do for fun at the Central Jersey Shore!

1. How do you navigate the 6 “C”s of Nonprofit Sea Change? (Capacity, Curiosity, Conversation, Collaboration, Creativity, and Compassion)

The Mission of 21 Plus, Inc. is to enable people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to lead fulfilling lives working in partnership with families and communities. In order to fulfill our mission, we continuously seek to ways to connect with our communities. This can mean collaborating with other non-profits and finding ways to collaborate on grants or symbiotic relationships. One example is working with nonprofits and educational institutions supporting people seeking employment. We are an employer always seeking skilled, motivated employees that we can career path at 21 Plus, Inc. In turn those employees provide quality services to the people we support and allows us to increase our capacity. Building relationships is key! I try to attend as many conferences, trainings, chamber, trade organization and networking events as possible. I have found I always come away with a new connection or possible partnership every time. Through conversation and being curious about what other organizations and individuals are doing, it spurs creative – or perhaps not previously thought of – connections.

2. When did you realize you wanted to work in the nonprofit world? Tell us about this journey.

I grew up in a family that placed a high value on helping others. I knew that is what I wanted to do all along. My mother was very active in her church and was an Ombudsman for the elderly in group homes. She was a role model for me and she helped me to be everything I am.

3. What’s your favorite fun activity to do at the Central Jersey Shore?

That’s easy – reading my Kindle under my umbrella at the beach!

4. How do you practice self-care/stress relief?

I am a huge goofball and love to laugh and dance just about anywhere – a party, in my living room, even my backyard!

5. Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?

Gosh, hard to say, it depends on the day, however what I have been telling my children everyday for 20 years resonates with me – “Have a good day, do good work, make a friend!” With a great mindset to start your day, the rest will follow.

Meet Jodi Grinwald, CEO of Zzak G. Applaud Our Kids Foundation! Jodi is this week’s featured #MondayMorningMeetYourLeader! Learn how Jodi navigates the 6 C’s of nonprofit Sea Change, how she got into the nonprofit world and what she does for fun at the Central Jersey Shore!

How do you navigate the 6 “C”s of Nonprofit Sea Change? (Capacity, Curiosity, Conversation, Collaboration, Creativity, and Compassion)

The Zzak G. Applaud Our Kids Foundation has been building capacity for over the last four years. We know how important it is for us to continue to share the stories and show the faces of those who are positively impacted by our programming. We have found that people are extremely curious when we tell them that we fund children to take ongoing performing arts lessons for up to now 15 years. The model is different, so they are curious to learn more. At the end of the school year, the children from across the region that we have funded for their performing arts lessons come together to showcase what they have learned.

From the beginning we knew the true importance of collaborative work in the non-profit sector, or as I like to call it, the for-impact sector. Early on we had reached out to two non-profit organizations that we knew did not do the work that we did. After further conversations between us, it was clear that we could be an additional resource to their clients, and they could be the same to ours. That work continues as we have found ongoing partnerships in the community to be so vital.

Creativity is an important part of all that we do. We started the Zzak G. AOK Performance Group only a few months after we launched the foundation. This audition only kids helping kids group is a collection of youth volunteers ages 7-22 who showcase their performing arts talents in service of the foundation’s mission. The group is invited to attend and perform at other local non-profit and for-profit events as well throughout the year. In doing so, these performers bring entertainment and inspiration to the community. At Foundation events they perform to raise funds for their peers being funded through our programming. Financial barriers should not limit creative expression.

When did you realize you wanted to work in the nonprofit world? Tell us about this journey.

The non-profit world found me. I was working in the for-profit sector for years in both NYC and NJ and was not feeling fulfilled. I put my resume out on back in 2005. The American Heart Association saw my resume and the rest is history. I was the one staff person with no non-profit experience, but they saw that I had a lot of business development experience and thought it was a good fit for an initial interview. I will always be grateful to the three people who sat in on my third and final interview there and hired me. It is because of them I have been on this journey. It truly goes to show how one decision along your path, can change your entire direction.

What’s your favorite fun activity to do at the Central Jersey Shore?

My favorite fun activity is to watch sunrises on the beach and sunsets at Island Heights. I do not see too many sunrises in a year, but I do get the joy of watching many sunsets.

How do you practice self-care/stress relief?

In regards to self-care, it is newer for me as I spent so many years focusing on family and my career. I am learning about the need for more time for a self-care practice. Some of my favorite stress relief activities include: meditation – which I thought I would never be able to do, to writing, reading, dancing and painting. Just to be clear though, my version of painting is limited to difficult paint by number masterpieces.

Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?

I have many favorite inspirational quotes from many different people. The quotes that stand out to me the most are from my Dad. He always said: “The best gift you can give someone is your time and life is about conversation, a hug, and showing up.” It speaks to the importance of connection.

On Friday, September 17, we hosted the Catapult Institute Workshop – Transcendent Teams…Building Diverse, Dispersed, Digital, Dynamic Teams. Facilitated by Kim L. Mitchell, VP of Program Strategy at NPower, the workshop explored the changing leadership and management practices required in this new era of exponential change. We examined how to build and maintain high performing teams at the intersection of a pandemic/post-pandemic period, discussing new layers of complexity that deserve deep reflection on common practices and dramatic changes in how we behave in the future. We took a deep dive into the characteristics of creating dynamic teams – and how we define and measure productivity, diversity, and team dynamics in this new environment.

Kim led us further into exploring leadership behaviors and attributes we need to add or modify in our toolkit. The workshop also included the focus and attention on racial equity and workplace flexibility, ensuring we were in it for the long haul and not just for the season. And finally, we discussed what business as usual look like in order to attract, retain, and inspire teams going forward.

After much discussion and group activities, Kim led a panel discussion where George Suttles, Keith Timko and Ronna Brown gave examples of leadership and how to create psychological safety in these times.

For a deeper dive into this topic and to access resources, click here.

As part of our Grunin Capacity pillar, we believe that building authentic relationships with our collaborators allows us to create genuine and compassionate partnerships towards shared goals. Our #MondayMorningMeetYourLeaders interview series recognizes exceptional leaders who are advancing innovative solutions and bold strategies for the Central Jersey Shore.

Leaders will share insights on navigating the 6 “C”s of Nonprofit Sea Change: Capacity, Curiosity, Conversation, Collaboration, Creativity, and Compassion. Learn about Tim Zeiss and how he is leading through these 6 C’s of Nonprofit Sea Change….

Tim Zeiss served as Executive Director, Foundation and Alumni Affairs at Brookdale Community College for 20 years. During his tenure, Tim transformed the Brookdale Foundation from a small non-profit organization with net assets of less than $900,000 and awarding $80,000 in scholarships and grants annually to support student success, to a non-profit having assets of $7 million and awarding nearly $850,000 in scholarships and grants in the last fiscal year. Working with a dedicated Board of Trustees and valued donors, they created a culture of “collective impact” built on the pillars of Capacity, Curiosity, Conversation, Collaboration, Creativity, and Compassion.

Wanting to pursue another challenge, Tim left Brookdale in the fall of 2020 and joined Ocean’s Harbor House as Director of Development & Marketing in January 2021. He is utilizing the same pillars to help advance the mission and vision of the organization and help transform the agency from a small emergency shelter into a diverse, multi-service organization that provides shelter, support and services for vulnerable youth in the region. The journey continues.

Here are some fun facts about Tim:

1. When did you realize you wanted to work in the nonprofit world?

I worked for an international public relations firm in New York and then transitioned to become the Corporate Communications Director for New Jersey Press, Inc. (the parent company of the Asbury Park Press). I was downsized when Gannet bought the company in 1997. I knew that my public relations and story-telling experience could translate into fundraising and that I wanted to stay local. Hence, I jumped into the non-profit world so I could help people in the communities we are fortunate to call home.

2. What’s your favorite fun activity to do at the Central Jersey Shore?

I still play competitive soccer, love the beach and body-surfing and hanging/dancing to great music!

3. How do you practice self-care/stress relief? 

I work out, gave up meat more than 40 years ago, love being outdoors and have a daily mantra expressing gratitude. And, play soccer year round!

4. Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?

This is one of many favorites. “We’re all just walking each other home.” ― Ram Das

In this edition of #MondayMorningMeetYourLeaders, you will meet Teresa Staub, Executive Director of Monmouth ArtsCamryn Morrow, our DIAL Intern interviewed Teresa and authored the article.

Teresa got started in the nonprofit field at the American Cancer Society, where she “got the fundraising bug” planning one of their biggest events in New Jersey – the George Washington Challenge bike-a-thon. As she worked her way up from special events and programming, she ultimately found herself as the Executive Director of the Ocean County Unit of the American Cancer Society. After eleven years there, she took some time to raise her two children and started volunteering at a local theatrical production company. Her experience there further emphasized her passion for working in the arts. She got back into the workforce by serving as the Income Development Director at numerous non-profit theaters in Monmouth County, which eventually led her to Monmouth Arts. 

How have the arts played a role in your life outside of work?
“My children are both active in the arts – my daughter went to school for vocal opera performance and my son works as a writer/producer for Marvel in Los Angeles. My love for the arts definitely rubbed off on them, and I am so proud of them both!”  

How do you use the arts to unplug?
“I am very fortunate to be working in this position and to be surrounded by so many arts opportunities and creative people. Monmouth Arts did a program called “Exquisitely Connected” that allowed community members to create art, share it, and connect digitally. You did not have to be an experienced artist, and this allowed me to share my work and have this relaxing creative outlet to draw and connect and create I definitely want to do more drawing in the future.” 

What obstacles have you encountered in the field?
“My biggest challenge has been to bring in funds for arts organizations. It is certainly difficult to raise funds for the arts, which is why we need to be creative. To inspire people to see the value just as much as you do.” 

What advice would you share with your younger self?
“Don’t sweat the small stuff. They always say it, but it’s so true. I always worry that I won’t reach a fundraising goal, but things always work out in the end.” 


We are excited to bring back #MondayMorningMeetYourLeaders and we are reigniting the series with Michele Russo. Michele is the President & CEO of Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania. Camryn Morrow, our DIAL Intern interviewed Michele and authored the article.

Michele never envisioned herself working in the art and culture sector – in fact, she didn’t even know she could do this as a job growing up! Out of college, she worked in corporate jobs but soon found joy working in schools with youth where she enjoyed doing the arts with them… makingcreating, and dreaming 

It was a performer she saw from her current place of leadership, Young Audiences, that sparked her excitement for youth creative arts exposure, ultimately leading her to the organization.   

What is your favorite part of working in arts education?
“I believe so much in the behind-the-scenes work that has to happen for the artist to be in the room with children for those experiences to happen, and the intentionality, planning, and vision behind that, that lets children have those experiences. It gives me tons of joy and satisfaction to be one of the pieces of the puzzle that makes that happen – even if that child never knows that I exist because the artist is the rockstar, the connector, and the primary relationship.”  

Have you faced any obstacles on your road to success?
“As the head of an organization, you need to know about everything. You have a plethora of responsibilities and roles that you play, and there is often gear shifting depending on how conversations go and sometimes even imposter syndrome – and you feel like ‘I don’t know how to do this.”  

How do you combat imposter syndrome?
“I try to practice self-care… meditation, exercise, things to help with my sleep and keep my stress levels down.  

I also try to remember that anything that you are doing now that you don’t think you’re good at, someone else is doing a worse job than you and thinks they’re great at it. So, I have to re-orient my own self-critiques and know that more times than not that it is a self-critique and not a reflection of reality. 

Also, this is silly – but I used to pretend that I was Oprah! What would Oprah do? If Oprah had to walk into a room and do something, she would walk into the room and do it. So, I would pretend for just a little bit like I was Oprah – she wouldn’t doubt what she would say.”  

What role does mentorship play in your life? 
“I am a big sister in Big Brother Big Sisters. I don’t know if she sees me as a mentor or just an adult on her side, and maybe that is the same thing. I started with Raven when she was ten, and she is now 17, so the relationship has changed throughout the years and is just wonderful. I see my role as being another adult on her side to support her and allow her to be the best version of herself that she can be.” 

tor or just an adult on her side, and maybe that is the same thing. I started with Raven when she was ten, and she is now 17, so the relationship has changed throughout the years and is just wonderful. She has just needed another adult on her side to support her and allow her to be the best version of herself that she can be.” 

On Friday, April 30, we hosted the Catapult Institute Workshop: Nurturing Values Throughout Your Organization. Presented by Tomás Alvarez and Don Crocker, this workshop offered frameworks, processes and tactics for nonprofits to build alignment around their values and operationalize those values across their organizations to achieve greater impact.

Our presenters are no strangers to our Grunin Capacity series! Tomás is an award-winning social entrepreneur and nonprofit executive with 15+ years of experience leading social impact initiatives and dynamic teams. He currently serves as Managing Partner and Strategy Lead at Idea2Form. You can read more about Tomás’ impressive background here. Don Crocker is a nationally recognized leader in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. He currently serves as a Senior Fellow for the Support Center and is a Senior Fellow for Strategic Initiatives at Services for the Underserved in New York. Click to learn more about Don.

Core Values

What are core values and why do we need them? Most organizations can recite their mission and vision on cue, but how many know each of their values? And how many have the values listed on their websites? Core values are the beliefs, philosophies, and principles that drive your organization. They direct behavior, establish norms and provide a sense of shared commitment and purpose in the workplace.

Culture and values of an organization are key to ensuring employee satisfaction. According to an iHire survey, over 75 percent of employees consider it “very important” to work for a company with defined core values. And a recent LinkedIn survey that suggests 26 percent of employees would forego a fancy title and 65 percent would accept lower pay before dealing with a poor workplace environment.

There are four key stages to culture transformation through nurturing values. First, an organization must define and discuss their values. This means examining not only what your organization stands for, but what it does NOT stand for. Next is aligning your workforce with these values. Are your values assessed during recruiting not only employees but also board members? Are they taught during orientation? The third stage is around driving/adopting your values. Does your organization provide training of your values? Does it invest in those values? Are they assessed in annual employee reviews? And finally, are the values sustainable? Are they reinforced by your organization? Do your partners reinforce them?

We looked at sample value statements together and talked about how we were excelling on making our own values work and where we might need to enhance nurturing our values. Value statements can be simple, and yet very powerful. One example comes from Lunch Break, who freely provides food, clothing, life skills and fellowship to those in need in Monmouth County and beyond. Their value statement is, “We Serve Everyone With Dignity and Compassion.” Lunch Break leadership and staff live by these seven words each day and it means everything to the people they serve.

If you weren’t able to attend the Nurturing Values Throughout Your Organization Virtual Worship, not to worry! You can access the presentation here and learn more about values and their function in an organization.

Last week, we kicked off our third year of Grunin Capacity (formerly Catapult Your Capacity) with a fun virtual event! While it was certainly different from last year’s celebration, we were able to incorporate some trivia, games, prizes and laughter. We started with some trivia questions that were a mix of nonprofit knowledge and random facts – do you know what a funambulist walks on? (Spoiler alert – it’s a tightrope). We ended with a pretty tough, but fun Rebus puzzle (click to check it out and have some fun of your own!), and talked about the year ahead in between all the friendly competition.

The 2021 Grunin Capacity theme is Knowledge, Possibility…Transcending the Norm.  We have a year planned full of engaging and valuable speakers and topics, including Virtual Lunch Hours. Our first Virtual Lunch Hour was February 10th on the topic of How have you redesigned the employee experience amidst the COVID crisis? Nonprofits discussed with their peers the actions and activities that they have initiated during the pandemic to keep teams and employees safe, secure, connected, and engaged. It was a collaborative and inspiring hour!

Our first Virtual Catapult Institute Workshop is a Fireside Chat with Dan Pallotta is coming up on March 1st. This is just the beginning of an incredible Grunin Capacity Year!

Visit our Grunin Capacity Events Page to learn more about our upcoming Grunin Capacity events for Nonprofits at the Central Jersey Shore!

Attendees of the Virtual Grunin Capacity 2021 Kick Off Celebration