It’s hard to believe the summer has come and gone and we are in the final quarter of 2021. In many ways, this year has been more challenging than the last, but we continue to see the strength and resiliency of the amazing Central Jersey Shore community.

One of the challenges we are all still experiencing is the inability to efficiently plan around the Delta variant. We know that so many nonprofits had to “pivot” (we’ll never say that word again after this year) and find new ways to operate and fundraise over the last 19 months. There have been many creative solutions born from the pandemic – some were learning experiences and some will stick around for years to come.

We’re happy to share with you what we’ve been doing this summer and give you a glimpse into what’s to come for the Grunin Foundation.

Upcoming Events for 2021

We have decided to put any further Foundation-hosted indoor events and seminars on hold until the spring of next year. After surveying our nonprofit partners to assess their comfort level, we made the call to keep our September Catapult Institute as an in-person event at the Sheraton in Eatontown. We maintained distance and provided masks and sanitizer. However, this will be our final in-person event of the year and we will be moving some things around to start planning for 2022. We will continue hosting small in-person meetings and working groups as scheduled. You can also still sign up for our Catapult Institute Virtual Lunch Hours which are happening monthly.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Working Groups

In July, we formally announced our Commitment to Equity and unveiled our EDI Framework, including changes to our website and the introduction of our EDI Working Groups. We began holding the EDI Working Group Meetings in September. Each group coincides with one of our three EDI strategies: Empowering Youth Changemakers, Amplifying BIPOC Leadership and Empowering Communities that Center Equity. You can read more about our EDI Working Groups here, and we will be providing updates on the work being done via blog posts on the EDI Working Group webpage.  

Grunin Foundation Board and Governance

As we strive to become a better funder, to help improve the quality of life for ALL residents of the Central Jersey Shore and to champion a more just and equitable society, we have been looking internally at our own board and governance process. In early 2022, we will be announcing new Grunin Foundation board members who will provide governance to help us ensure our grantmaking practices are equitable and in line with our mission, values, funding pillars and EDI framework. We are excited for the new additions to our board and will be sharing more information with you soon.

A Look Into 2022

We truly look forward to bringing our nonprofit partners and friends together next spring for a great Catapult Institute year and fun Foundation events where we can enjoy the celebration of just being present together. On behalf of our entire team, we are grateful for the trust, support and feedback our nonprofit community provides us. We wouldn’t be here without you.

We’re excited to bring you along for the next chapter of the Grunin Foundation’s journey and can’t wait to share more news with you soon. Stay healthy and we hope you have a rejuvenating autumn season.


Jay Grunin Jeremy Grunin

As we dive deeper into our equity, diversity and inclusion journey at the Central Jersey Shore, we will be creating three working groups, one for each of the strategies below, inspired by the insight of our nonprofit and community partners:

  1. Empowering Youth Changemakers
  2. Amplifying Diverse Leadership
  3. Empowering Communities that Center Equity

We plan to hold monthly meetings from September to December to determine priorities, metrics and near-term goals. Each working group will meet once per month from September through December 2021.  

The goals for each of the working groups for this year will be: 

  • Map projects/activities already being done across the Central Jersey Shore.
  • Gap analysis of the projects & activities.
  • Source ideas for future implementation (e.g., Are there opportunities for enhanced support of existing work? Creation of new program partnerships?)
  • Review opportunities for program measurement.
  • Make recommendations for 2022 activity.

We pledge to remain transparent throughout this journey and share the outcomes of the working groups on our website as we move along.  We also know there will be many opportunities for community involvement moving forward.

Learn more about what we are doing to help break down barriers, uplift marginalized voices, celebrate diversity, and champion a more just and equitable society.

We are so happy to introduce you to our DIAL Intern, Camryn Morrow! Camryn came to us through the Diversity in Arts Leadership Internship program and will be with us until early August. Administered by Americans for the Arts and national partners, DIAL matches undergraduate students from backgrounds underrepresented in arts leadership with dynamic communities, energetic host arts organizations, and mentors to guide students’ personal and professional growth throughout the summer. While we are sad we only get to work with Camryn for ten weeks, we are grateful to have been paired with her and built a relationship that will last long beyond her internship! Learn a little more about Camryn and all of the incredible things she has accomplished and planned for the future.  

Camryn is a fourth-year Human Development and Community Engagement major at the University of Cincinnati. A Cincinnati native, Camryn was surrounded by the arts and artists her entire life, which played a significant role in her passion for the arts and the community.   

Camryn’s education was also fully immersed in the arts. Her elementary school was a magnet school and exposed her to the arts from the very beginning. She also attended a creative and performing arts middle and high school. These experiences had so many positive impacts on her life. It made learning exciting and kept her engaged. She was also exposed to philanthropy and nonprofits in the arts. This is what really made her excited about future opportunities. Camryn said, “I realized that this is something I could do. This is in the cards for me.”   

Committed to following in the steps of people she met through service programs, Camryn was excited to give back and make a difference. As a high school graduate, her passions remained in education and the arts, and with a background in service and creative writing, she didn’t know how to blend it all to translate into a career. 

Camryn began working with Breakthrough Cincinnati, a transformative experience that came at just the right time in her life as she was contemplating her future and searching for community. Breakthrough Cincinnati pairs college students with middle school students to help put them on a path for success. Through this program, Camryn helped kids stay engaged in their coursework and build relationships. Some of the kids had to deal with challenges in their home life, but Breakthrough Cincinnati was a place full of love and support for all – students, leaders, and peers. Camryn has always loved working with kids, and this allowed her to not only help others but to create lifelong relationships.

At the University of Cincinnati, Camryn started as a Sociology major, and while she loved it, she knew it wasn’t for her. Ultimately, she found her footing with a major in Human Development and Community Engagement. In addition to her coursework, Camryn has interned for several arts organizations and has also gone back to Breakthrough Cincinnati as an intern.  

During her time in the DIAL Internship program, Camryn is working with the Grunin Foundation and the New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund (NJACRF). She is working on the NJACRF Impact Report project. She has had the opportunity to interview individual artists and arts organizations to help tell their stories of strength and resilience throughout the global pandemic. Camryn has used her knowledge and creativity to help us put procedures into place and assist in the structure of the NJACRF Impact Report. She is an incredible asset to both the Grunin Foundation and NJACRF!  

When Camryn has free time, she spends it with her friends, who empower her and allow her to be her best self. She loves reading and journaling and even started a book club at her University. Camryn also enjoys touring her city. Although she was born and raised there, she always finds something new, whether at a museum, cultural center, festival, or anywhere within the vibrant city of Cincinnati.  

Camryn plans to use her love of the arts, education, creativity, and passion for social justice to empower students and address inequities in education. We love working with her, and we know she will be highly successful in all she does! 

2020 was a challenging year, but we are grateful for our partners and community who really stepped up, worked together and helped those in need. Check out some of our incredible partner highlights from last year as well as words from our Chairman and President on what’s to come.

Click the image below to download the Grunin Foundation 2020 Year in Review.

Thank you to Jeanne Wall and Community Magazine for publishing this article, Jeremy Grunin’s Rising Tide: Using Philanthropy to Drive Economic Excellence. Learn some fun facts about Jeremy and his career path, as well as the evolution of the Grunin Foundation.

Click to read the opinion article by Jeremy Grunin and Sharnita Johnson, published by

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on every single aspect of life as we knew it. The impacts to health, lives, jobs and businesses are obvious and devastating.

COVID-19 has also impacted other areas of life that may not be quite as obvious, such as the arts. While we know theaters have temporarily closed and many have lost their jobs, we may not realize that if we lost the arts, cultural and historical sector entirely, this will devastate our communities, educational systems, mental health and economy. 

The New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund was created to help ensure the survival of the state’s arts, cultural and historical sector during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Co-Chaired by Jeremy Grunin, President of the Grunin Foundation, and Sharnita Johnson, Arts Program Director of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the fund is growing and will provide grants directly to nonprofit organizations and, indirectly through an intermediary partner(s), to artists and sector workers negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Click to read the more on the fund and how Jeremy’s and Sharnita’s lives were impacted by the arts, leading them to help with creating the NJACRF.

It’s hard to believe we are in the month of November. Time is flying while we continue to try navigating our way through 2020. As we approach Thanksgiving, we are extra focused on gratitude this year. We could not do any of our work without our nonprofit partners, healthcare systems, business leaders and community members.

To our nonprofit partners

YOU are doing the work to create lasting, positive impact for everyone in our community. In spite of the pandemic, you have not missed a beat and even increased your services to ensure those who need them most have access. You have been on the front lines to keep the vulnerable safe, provide meals to those who are food insecure, help the isolated feel connected, give children a safe place to learn and so much more.

To our partners in the healthcare systems

You have worked around the clock, tirelessly to keep our community safe. You have helped so many COVID-19 patients face and overcome their battle. Not only were you there to take care of them medically, you were there FOR them when family members could not visit due to restrictions. You kept the hospitals safe for other patients and your staff. We can’t thank you enough for all of the sacrifices you have made and continue to make to keep our community’s health a top priority.

To our friends in the business community

2020 has been filled with uncertainty. The balance between staying safe and continuing to operate normally has been a challenge to say the least. You have remained positive, creative and continued to help others while trying to make the best of the changing business landscape.

To our Central Jersey Shore Community

You are the reason the Grunin Foundation exists. It is our mission to improve the quality of life for all members of our community by using philanthropy to drive economic excellence at the Central Jersey Shore. We are grateful for your ideas, hard work in our community and for your support.

Each and every one of you is helping our vision come alive – a Central Jersey Shore where people come to visit and stay to live…where businesses and nonprofits work together in a thriving community where everyone has access to an abundance of exemplary arts, culture, education, healthcare and economic opportunities.

Thank you for all you do. We are grateful to work, live and play in such a collaborative, supportive and amazing community.

Wishing you good health, happiness and prosperity as we move into the holiday season and close out 2020. May 2021 be a year of brightness, peace and love.

Jay Grunin Jeremy Grunin

The Grunin Foundation is proud to be a part of a coalition of funders that has established the New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund (NJACRF) to help ensure the survival of the state’s cultural sector that has faced economic devastation from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fund has so far raised more than $1.6 million, including a lead matching gift of $1 million from the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund (NJPRF) to help kick start NJACRF, and quickly get support to arts and culture groups around the state.  “New Jersey has a celebrated and vibrant arts and cultural sector that has suffered tremendously as a result of the pandemic,” said Josh Weinreich, CEO of the NJPRF.  “We are proud to support NJACRF so they can give much needed aid to this community.”

NJACRF will provide grants to the cultural community to offset expenses incurred due to pandemic cancelations, reopening adaptations, and support for artists and sector professionals.

Arts and culture are an essential component of the state and local economies. Nonprofit arts organizations generate more than $660 million in economic activity in New Jersey, employ nearly 22,000 workers, and engage more than 8.3 million people who stay in hotels, and eat and shop locally.

“Investing in arts and culture today will increase the chances of long-term, sustainable success, with broad-reaching results that impact employment, real estate values, crime and safety, tourism, health and wellness, education, and overall quality of life in New Jersey,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy, the founding chair of the NJPRF.

Half of the NJPRF gift was made possible through a matching grant from Joan Rechnitz, a philanthropist who founded the Two River Theater in Red Bank with her late husband, Robert.

“I am delighted to help kick off this incredibly important fund,” Rechnitz said. “The arts and culture are the heart and soul of our communities and vital to the work we do to rebuild from the devastating impacts of the pandemic.”

The Grunin Foundation, based in Toms River, provided the initial gift of $250,000 to establish the fund.

“We are proud to support the New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund,” said Jeremy Grunin, Co-Chair of the NJACRF and President of the Grunin Foundation. “The impact of the global pandemic on this sector has been felt by everyone. Arts and culture are important to our emotional and social wellbeing while also serving as an important gear in our economic engine. This fund will help ensure the sector’s survival in the short term and growth in the longer term.”

NJPRF has pledged to match new contributions to the fund dollar for dollar, up to $1 million. To double the impact of your dollars, and help sustain NJ arts and culture donate now by clicking here.

While business as it was before COVID-19 has come to a screeching halt, many cultural groups and artists have not stopped working, most without pay, to offer relief and hope for residents of all ages, including many of our most vulnerable populations.

Some of these nonprofits have been serving communities for decades, but due to event cancelations, refunds, layoffs, and complete closure, they have exhausted reserves and increased debt. The economic fallout is expected to have a ripple effect statewide

The NJACRF is hosted by the Princeton Area Community Foundation. In addition to Grunin, the NJACRF’s Steering Committee includes representatives from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Prudential Foundation, Stone Foundation of NJ, and E. J. Grassmann Trust, all contributors to the fund, as well as the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and New Jersey Historical Commission.

“As the sector at large braces for worst-case scenarios, including permanent closure, New Jersey and its residents risk losing a necessary component of a complete recovery,” said Sharnita C. Johnson, Arts Program Director at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and NJACRF Co-Chair. “With help, the sector will continue to support healing, resilience, and relief, and move forward on a path for safe reopening.”

NJACRF grants and application information will be announced in the coming weeks.

To learn more about the fund, visit, or contact Michael Nuno at [email protected]

We know this is a difficult time for everybody and in the midst of fear and uncertainty, we’ve seen collaboration, kindness and service to others. We are so grateful and proud of the work of our nonprofit community.  
Transparency is one of our core values and we felt it was important to keep everyone apprised of what we are doing to support during this time. We previously announced we would be proactively making contributions to local nonprofits that are providing direct services which support basic human needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been in continuous conversations with our nonprofit partners and philanthropic organizations to gauge the needs of the community. We have released over $100,000 in funding to local nonprofits that we have identified, who are on the frontlines during this health crisis.  Additionally, we have committed over half a million dollars to the three healthcare systems that support the Central Jersey Shore. The funds have been directed to support the urgent needs of local Monmouth & Ocean County hospitals within these systems. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and be as responsive as possible to support our local community. 
While organizations are trying to stay mobile, we want to ensure they are able to be in touch with their employees, board members and clients to continue doing their incredible work. We are providing Central Jersey Shore nonprofits with access to paid Zoom accounts free of charge for the next three months. We’ve had many nonprofits take advantage of Zoom and any nonprofit who still needs this service can visit: to fill out a very quick intake form.
We could not get through this without those who are working tirelessly to keep services running to help the most vulnerable in our community. We are staying in touch daily with our nonprofit partners to ensure they have what they need to continue making an impact. Whether by funding, technology, fostering collaboration between organizations or just lending an ear, we are working hard to be there for our community during this time. 
Thank you for all you do for our community in times of crisis and every day.

Your partners at the Grunin Foundation