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Victoria Foundation News

Victoria Foundation Announces NextGen Grantmakers Initiative for Youth of Color

web-Victoria-Foundation-251 Pictured left to right: Aqeela Sherrills, Brianna Suárez, and Sharnita C. Johnson of Victoria Foundation, Stacy Tyndall, Facilitator, The Gem Project, Inc. Amanda Ebokosia, Founder & CEO, The Gem Project, Inc. Photos by Chrys Davis.

  Nine Newark Youth Selected in Initiative to Expand Black and Brown Youth Exposure and Decision Making in Philanthropy Newark, NJ - Today Victoria Foundation announced the inaugural cohort of Newark youth in its NextGen Grantmakers initiative. The project, a partnership with The Gem Project, is a part of the foundation's new mission to streng...

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Inside Philanthropy features Craig Drinkard, discusses his path to philanthropy and the challenge to foundations to stay the course for racial justice


"Do we have the strength to stay focused?" Craig Drinkard, executive officer of Victoria Foundation posed this question when he sat down with Inside Philanthropy about philanthropy's recent focus on racial justice. The article shared Craig's trajectory into the role of executive officer at Victoria Foundation, and the shift in strategy for the foun...

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Welcoming Melanie Reyes as our Strategy Officer for Strengthening Community Power


We are thrilled to announce Melanie Reyes as the Victoria Foundation's newest strategy officer. Melanie will be leading the work in our focus area of Building Community Power, one of the three priority areas in our new strategic framework. Melanie comes to Victoria Foundation with deep personal and professional connections to Newark. Melanie is a N...

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Craig Drinkard on One-On-One with Steve Audobato discussing Victoria’s Next Phase [Video]


On July 6, Craig Drinkard joined Steve Adubato on One-on-One to discuss Victoria Foundation's new framework and to examine some of Newark's most pressing issues, including affordable housing, public safety, and access to living-wage jobs. Craig shares the new vision and approach of the foundation, and what it means to him to be born and raised in N...

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Victoria Board Member and Staff Discuss Community-Based Public Safety with Newark Mayor and Equal Justice USA

Victoria  Board Member and Staff Discuss Community-Based Public Safety with Newark Mayor and Equal Justice USA Photo credit - Tom Weidman, Tap into Newark

In June, one of Victoria Foundation's newest board members, Aqeela Sherrills, was featured on a panel about Newark's focus on community-based public safety, joining Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Equal Justice USA's Jamila Hodge. "Our belief is that if we train residents to stand together in conflict resolution, mediation, and de-escalation strategies...

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Victoria Foundation Appoints Two Newark Community Leaders to Board of Trustees


Amina Bey and Aqeela Sherrills bring workforce development and community safety expertise to strengthen Victoria Foundation's move to community-centered racial justice and community power mission The Victoria Foundation Board of Trustees is proud to announce two new appointments to the board of trustees, Amina Bey and Aqeela Sherrills. Both join th...

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Co-Executive Officer Irene Cooper-Basch Retiring

web_Irene Irene Cooper-Basch

Dear Friend of Victoria Foundation, On behalf of the board of trustees, I am writing to share the bittersweet news that after 20 years of service to the Newark community leading Victoria Foundation, Irene Cooper-Basch will be retiring at the end of March 2022. Six months ago, when Irene shared her intention to retire, we were saddened, but not surp...

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Newark Funder Affinity Group Meeting - 12-16-21 - Victoria Foundation's New Strategic Framework


Victoria Foundation shared its new strategy and lessons learned on its change journey so far with peer foundations during a webinar sponsored by the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers.  

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A Shift from Program to Partnership


This November we announced a new framework that will guide the work of Victoria Foundation, changing the way we align our resources, strategies and personnel to partner with the Newark community to take on the root causes of intergenerational poverty and inequality. Our goal is to support and uplift the power held by communities to create generatio...

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Victoria Foundation Announces Sharnita C. Johnson as Organization’s First-Ever Vice President of Strategy, Impact, and Communications.

Sharnita-headshot Sharnita C. Johnson

New position and Johnson's leadership exemplify foundation's shift into community-focused strategies for equity and justice. NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – Victoria Foundation is pleased to announce Sharnita C. Johnson will serve as the Foundation's first-ever Vice President of Strategy, Impact and Communications in its nearly 100-year history. In this role,...

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Victoria Foundation is growing its staff!


Victoria Foundation staff and trustees have recently emerged from an 18-month strategic planning process with a new mission: "Victoria Foundation partners with Black and Brown residents and other marginalized communities in Newark and nonprofit organizations to champion bold strategies that strengthen community power, foster economic justice and, p...

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Join Youth Advisory Board


The Victoria Foundation Youth Advisory Board (VFYAB) is composed of 10-12 Newark young people. It is a two-year development incubator to enhance their personal, civic and professional skills while collaborating with Victoria Foundation's staff to advise, co-create, and decide on elements of the foundation's strategy and grant making. Are you a youn...

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Craig Drinkard appointed Co-Executive Officer


On behalf of the trustees of Victoria Foundation, it gives me great pleasure to announce that starting January 1st Craig Drinkard will serve as Co-Executive Officer alongside Irene Cooper-Basch, who introduced this concept to the attention of trustees. This co-leadership model is virtually non-existent in the private foundation sector where 92% of ...

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Statement of Condemnation

Dear Community Partners, Friends, and Philanthropic Colleagues, Victoria Foundation staff and trustees condemn in the strongest of terms the violence and outright murder of innocent African Americans and other people of color. The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery underscore the immediate need for systemic, meaningfu...

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COVID-19 Response

Dear Victoria Foundation Friends and Grantees, During this rapidly evolving COVID-19 medical emergency, we are taking steps to protect the health and well-being of our staff, grantees, community members and other partners. We share your concern and feel the anxiety that the uncertainty of this novel coronavirus is causing in our region, and the cha...

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Executive Officer’s Report


​At the end of the 19th century, a phenomenon of free market capitalism emerged that resulted in growing inequality and a concentration of wealth by a privileged few, including Andrew Carnegie, who amassed a huge fortune (4X greater than Bill Gates'!) from the steel industry.He was called a Robber Baron, accused of ruthless and unscrupulous busines...

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Sandy's Orchard


On Sunday, October 28th, trustees, staff, and the family of Gordon "Sandy" Millspaugh, Jr. gathered along with the leadership of Avon Avenue School, local gardeners, and representatives from Greater Newark Conservancy to dedicate a new orchard created on a formerly vacant lot located across from the school on Avon Avenue. This event honored Sandy's...

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Investing in Urban League of Essex County


One of the stated goals of Victoria's Thriving Neighborhoods Initiative is to leave a stronger nonprofit sector in place when the Foundation transitions to work in other Newark neighborhoods. In the case of Fairmount Heights, the Urban League is the anchor institution that we are working closely with and hope to strengthen over the next 7 to 10 yea...

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Victoria Foundation Increases its Support for the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program

Newark youths share their experiences at the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program press event in City Hall.

​ Providing high quality work opportunities for Newark high school students in the summer has been a long-standing priority of Mayor Ras Baraka. The 2018 Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) is an excellent example of a successful private/public partnership. A record number, 3,200 Newark youths, participated in SYEP at sites across the city from ...

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Newark Debate Academy Makes Newark Proud!

 The Newark Debate Academy, (NDA) is one of Victoria Foundation's long-standing grantees, focuses on pushing Newark students toward academic excellence by honing skills in reading, writing and public speaking—three skills that are necessary for college and career readiness in 2018. It has been my pleasure to serve as the program officer for th...

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Victoria Foundation granted $1 Million to the Pi Chubb Newark Field Trip Fund to support field trips for Newark students.


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How goes it Dale?


Everyone has been asking about our beloved Dale.Here's the scoop: Where did she go? Dale moved to Cleveland to be with her family! YES, family matters! Dale is the new Program Director for Youth and Social Services at the Cleveland Foundation.She will be working to impact social & economic issues similar to those that are prevalent in Newark. I...

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The Thriving Neighborhood Initiative is our newest effort to empower neighborhood residents!


In June, several Victoria Foundation Trustees joined Greater Newark LISC and the Urban League of Essex County for a presentation from resident leaders, in Fairmount Heights, on the challenges and opportunities for community change. Fairmount Heights is one of the two communities selected to take part in Victoria Foundation's multi-year commitment f...

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Urban Sustainability


Newark is doubling down on its commitment to urban sustainability - the practice of improving the city's environment in ways that enhance the economic and social wellbeing of residents. Late in 2016, Mayor Baraka's administration hired a new Chief Sustainability Officer, Nathaly Agosto Filión. She has re-energized a process of citywide resident eng...

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Victoria Foundation staff joins over a dozen partners to help launch this 2017 initiative.


 Newark has launched a new effort to grow job and business opportunities for residents at firms located within the city. Mayor Baraka announced at his State of the City address that this "Hire, Buy, Live" initiative will bring government, private sector, and nonprofit agencies together to promote ambitious goals for getting a target number of ...

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Newark is selected to join a National STEM initiative!

Newark's newest collaboration is the NEWARK STEAM COALITION, housed within Newark Thrives!, the new out-of-school-time network for Newark. The Victoria Foundation helped create both Newark Thrives! and the STEAM Coalition. This coalition aims to build education pathways in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math that impact youth from pre-...

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Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC)


NCLC, the city's post-secondary education collaborative, has added new staff and programming over the last year. It welcomed its inaugural executive director, Reggie Lewis, in Oct. 2016, and a new director of strategy in March 2017, Chirag Menon. NCLC also launched two new college access and success programs in January funded by the Kresge and Ford...

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Newark Community Street Teams


Traditionally, public safety has been the domain of law enforcement. When crime and violence break into our lives, we tend to look to law enforcement for reduction strategies. However, increasingly over the past few decades, research has shown that you can't have sustained, long term reductions in violence and crime without engaging residents in th...

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Victoria Foundation
550 Broad St
Suite 1402
Newark, NJ 07102


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