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Eligibility & Policies

Who We Are

The Council of New Jersey Grantmakers was created based on the principle that philanthropy is more effective when grantmakers have the opportunity for communication, information exchange, and continuing education. CNJG became a unified project under the Community Foundation of New Jersey in 1990 and was established as an independent 501(c)3 organization in 1997. CNJG serves those philanthropies whose primary mission is to actively fund the work of New Jersey’s nonprofit sector on an annual basis. CNJG reserves the sole right to determine an organization’s eligibility for membership.


Membership Policies

  1. The annual membership period is from January 1 to December 31.
  2. Dues are based on an organization’s total annual grantmaking.
    • Organizations headquartered or based within New Jersey base their dues on the organization’s total giving.
    • Organizations located outside of New Jersey base their dues on their giving in New Jersey.
    • Dues for government agencies are based on a percentage (0.2%) of the Agency/Division administrative allocation/budget. If the agency does not have an administrative budget, dues will be based on the level of grants made each year (see standard dues structure).
  3. Memberships are considered lapsed if, by December 31st of the membership year, CNJG has not received payment or a pledge to pay.
  4. If a non-member grantmaker attends three events/meetings, CNJG expects them to join the organization.
  5. CNJG’s Board of Directors’ retains final discretion on all matters concerning membership. If you are unsure of your organization’s eligibility, please contact CNJG.

Membership Criteria

All members must meet the following membership criteria:

  1. A prospective member’s core interest in joining CNJG is a desire to improve the quality of its own grantmaking and to work with other members to improve the field of grantmaking and support the people, communities and nonprofits of New Jersey.
  2. The primary function of a prospective member is making charitable grants. Exceptions to this policy include, federated funds, and public foundations.
  3. It is expected that the substantial amount of the organization’s activities should be centered on grantmaking. For corporate giving programs, the term “organization” refers to the corporate giving unit, not the entire corporation. Exceptions to this standard, noted above, include public foundations, private operating foundations, Federated Funds, and individual members.
  4. The prospective member’s grant distributions are made primarily on a discretionary basis to multiple (two or more) nonprofit organizations that are not subsidiary or otherwise directly related to the prospective member. No more than 60% of the grants given should be directed to one organization (including subsidiaries).
  5. Organizations applying for membership must complete and submit a copy of the Member Profile form.

Membership Categories

Organizations eligible for CNJG membership, as defined by the Council on Foundations and the Forum for Regional Associations of Grantmakers, include:

  • Community Foundations: A community foundation is a tax-exempt, nonprofit, autonomous, publicly supported, philanthropic institution composed primarily of permanent funds established by many separate donors for the long-term diverse, charitable benefit of the residents of a defined geographic area. Community foundations provide an array of services to donors who wish to establish endowed and non-endowed funds without incurring the administrative and legal costs of starting independent foundations.
  • Corporate Foundations: A corporate (company-sponsored) foundation is a private foundation that derives its grantmaking funds primarily from the contributions of a profit-making business. The company-sponsored foundation often maintains close ties with the donor company, but it is a separate, legal organization, sometimes with its own endowment, and is subject to the same rules and regulations as other private foundations.
  • Corporate Giving Programs: A corporate giving (direct giving) program is a grantmaking program established and administered within a profit-making company. Gifts or grants go directly to charitable organizations from the corporation. Corporate foundations/giving programs do not have a separate endowment; their expense is planned as part of the company's annual budgeting process and usually is funded with pre-tax income.
  • Donor Advised Funds: A fund may be classified as donor advised if it has at least three characteristics: (1) a donor or person appointed or designated by the donor has, or reasonably expects to have, advisory privileges with respect to the fund’s distributions or investments, (2) the fund is separately identified by reference to contributions of the donor(s), and (3) the fund is owned and controlled by a sponsoring organization, such as a community foundation. A fund possessing these characteristics may be exempt from the donor advised fund classification if it grants to one single public charity or government unit or if the fund meets certain requirements applicable to scholarship funds.
  • Family Foundations: A foundation whose funds are derived from members of a single family. At least one family member must continue to serve as an officer or board member of the foundation and they or their relatives play a significant role in governing and/or managing the foundation throughout its life. Most family foundations concentrate their giving locally, in their communities. “Family Foundation,” however, is not a legal term.
  • Federated Funds: A centralized campaign whereby an organization raises money for its member agencies. These annual workplace giving campaigns raise millions of dollars for distribution to local, state, and national nonprofit organizations.
  • Giving Circles: A collaborative philanthropy in which individual donors pool their money and other resources, and decide together how and where to give them away.
  • Government Grantmakers: A government agency that provides grants to 501(c)(3) organizations. Note: dues for Government Grantmakers are calculated differently. See below for details.
  • Independent Foundations: An individual usually founds these private foundations, sometimes by bequest. Sometimes individuals or groups of people, such as family members, form a foundation while the donors are still living. Many large independent foundations are no longer governed by members of the original donor's family, but are run by boards made up of community, business and academic leaders. They are occasionally termed “nonoperating” because they do not run their own programs.
  • Public Foundations: Also known as public grantmaking charities. Public foundations, along with community foundations, are recognized as public charities by the IRS. Although they may provide direct charitable services to the public and receive donations from the public as other nonprofits do, their primary focus is on grantmaking. To qualify for CNJG membership, a public foundation must spend the substantial amount of time and effort on grantmaking and no more than 60% of its grants should be directed to one organization.
  • Family Offices with Philanthropic Advisors: Not a formally-created foundation, but an office that should do, at least, half of the following:
    1. Help the principals to develop their grantmaking priorities
    2. Develop strategies for specific grantmaking program areas
    3. Craft or manage grant application procedures
    4. Research and/or forge relationships with prospective grantees
    5. Manage relationships with existing grantees
    6. Coordinate the grant evaluation process, including the creation of proposal dockets for board review
    7. Manage the disbursement of funds to grantees
    8. Develop and coordinate evaluation of grant outcomes
  • Philanthropic Individuals committed to sustained, strategic philanthropy and who are giving more than $20,000 annually to a variety of nonprofit organizations.

Organizations that are typically not eligible for membership are:

  • Supporting Foundations: A supporting organization is a section 501(c)(3) organization that qualifies as a public charity (and not a private foundation) because it has a close relationship with another publicly supported section 501(c)(3) organization. Most often, these are hospital or university foundations. A supporting foundation acting as the fundraising arm for the hospital or university, is not eligible for membership because it does not meet the Council’s membership criteria to provide charitable support to two or more unrelated external organizations on an annual basis.
  • Private Operating Foundations: Private operating foundations must derive their annual budget from an endowment or from a sole donor or some other reliable source of income for which the foundation does not need to fundraise or solicit. Similar to supporting foundations, if a private operating foundation primary function is to be a fundraising arm for a nonprofit, and does not support two or more unrelated external organizations, it is not eligible for membership with CNJG.
  • Philanthropic Advisors: Consultants who are not working on an on-going basis for a specific foundation or family office but rather are enaged to advise individuals or companies on their grantmaking are not eligible for membership with CNJG.

To learn more about CNJG membership, contact Craig Weinrich at (609) 341-2022 ext. 4215