Close this search box.
Gathering Ground logo

EE Hub Access

In Nov. 2021 after ten years of our evolving mission and impact, we changed our name to Gathering Ground. You may still find reference to our old name Creative New Jersey in posts created prior to Nov. 2021.

2019 Gathering Ground Summit Presenters

A grid of 10 headshots of presenters for the Summit

On May 20, 2019, we welcomed approximately 100 people from around the state to our annual Statewide Summit. It was an exciting day filled with a wide-ranging sampling of projects and ideas that have taken root in our Creative Communities. Gathering Ground Statewide Partners also shared innovative programs that are having positive impact in our communities.


#1 – A Culture of Inclusion: Cross-Sector Hammonton Health Coalition Receives $100K for Focus on Creating Equitable Pathways to Health

The Hammonton Health Coalition recently received a 2-year $100K grant for their “Culture of Inclusion” initiative in Hammonton that builds upon and connects people to opportunities that can help residents feel a sense of belonging in the broader community, become engaged community members, develop supportive networks, adopt healthier behaviors and gain useful information. The intent of this project is to create a “Culture of Inclusion” in Hammonton that engages residents who are not actively engaged in community life and to restore a sense of connectedness, beginning with the Latino community. Hear from the organization leading the initiative, Allies In Caring, about how the Hammonton Health Coalition and its community partners are working to restore trust, build relationships, and create opportunities to offer mutual support in order to improve health, well-being, and safety for adults and children. / Culture of Inclusion Project:

Ivette Guillermo-McGahee, Executive Director – Allies in Caring, Inc. 
Carleton Montgomery, Executive Director – Pinelands Preservation Alliance

#2 – Everybody Counts: Paterson’s Complete Count Committee Organizes Ahead of the 2020 U.S. Census

Paterson has created a Complete Count Committee to ensure that everyone is counted in the 2020 Census. The Federal Government distributes $800 billion dollars each year based on the Census count – which means more dollars for essential social service, environmental, education and housing programs, among others, in your city or town. Congressional representation is also dependent on the Census count. Learn how the Committee is tackling the outreach, information sharing – and most importantly – the community building that is fundamental to helping people feel safe enough to share their information with the Census.

Inge Spungen, Executive Director – Paterson Alliance

#3 – Catalyzing Connection: Paterson’s Bangladeshi Community Arts & Culture Exhibit Opens the Door to Cultural Understanding and Exchange

Led by the Bangladeshi-American Women’s Development Initiative (BAWDI), Paterson’s Bangladeshi community had its first ever cultural exhibit in early 2019, in partnership with the Paterson Museum. The Exhibit coalesced around the U.N.’s International Mother Language holiday, celebrated in February each year, and of great cultural and historical significance to Bangladeshi diaspora communities. The Exhibit brought together an often-insular group of Bangladeshi residents and business owners with a diverse group of Paterson’s residents, academics, service organizations and elected leaders to both showcase Bangladeshi art and culture, and explore the complexities of what it means to speak a mother language and honor one’s culture and heritage in a time of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment in our country. The Exhibit created an opportunity for knowledge and culture sharing, and visibility for a community of people who are sometimes overlooked, forging pathways for connection among people of diverse backgrounds.

S. Nadia Hussain, Co-Founder – Bangladeshi-American Women’s Development Initiative

#4 – Creek to Canal – Multi-Sector Collaboration Works to Revitalize Trenton by Establishing Creative District

The Creek to Canal Creative District is the result of Trenton Arts in Focus, a year-long, citywide planning process that engaged more than 750 people from Trenton and beyond in a discussion about how arts and culture can be drivers for equitable, sustainable Downtown revitalization. Trenton Arts in Focus was inspired by the wide range of arts organizations and artists that call Trenton home, and by the local talent, community support, political will, and resources that are aligning to foster positive change in the Creek to Canal area. Learn how the Trenton Arts in Focus plan, released in October 2016, has continued its collaborative efforts for the benefit of the both the Creek to Canal Creative District and the city at-large.

Jim Simon, Deputy Director of Community Planning – Isles, Inc. 


#1 – Diversity Dialogue Group of Asbury Park, NJ Unites Voices for Equitable Change

The Diversity Dialogue Group of Asbury Park is a group of diverse residents and friends of Asbury Park who are drawn together by their mutual concern and desire to “bridge the diversity gap” within their beloved city. They strive to accomplish this through dialogue, meeting once a month since 2013. Their mutual vision is to expand their understanding of their cultural differences, while deepening their appreciation for each other’s cultural upbringing. Their ultimate goal is to gain a heightened sense of compassion and respect for each other. Learn how this grassroots group has become a significant and powerful voice in this New Jersey 1.4 square-mile City by the Sea.

Conrad Neblett, Founding Member – Diversity Dialogue Group of Asbury Park
Linda Phillips, Founding Member – Diversity Dialogue Group of Asbury Park

#2 – Catalyzing Collective Impact Through Shared Value: The Rutgers-Camden Civic Action Plan

At last year’s statewide summit, The Rutgers-Camden Office of Civic Engagement shared a vision of organizing community leaders in Camden to shape the development of a university Civic Action Plan focused on strategies for collective impact; that plan has now been completed and is in the first stage of its implementation. This presentation will explain how the creation of shared value has been critical to the initial successes of the Rutgers-Camden Civic Action Plan, and participants will be equipped with scalable strategies to leverage shared value to cultivate effective cross-sector partnerships in their own communities.

Michael D’Italia, Program Coordinator, Engaged Civic Learning – Office of Civic Engagement, Rutgers University-Camden

#3 – Partnership and Collaboration Result in Long-Range, Holistic Plan for Camden Neighborhood that Puts People at the Center of Revitalization Efforts

Parkside Business & Community in Partnership’s long history of working in collaboration with its community members, block captains, local business owners, and anchor organizations is taking another major step forward with a 5-year $1.25 million grant from Wells Fargo Regional Foundation to revitalize the Parkside Neighborhood of Camden. PBCIP’s neighborhood planning effort, a 10-month, resident-driven project, established a comprehensive strategic plan for transformative neighborhood change. Learn how PBCIP engaged over 700 residents and stakeholders to address comprehensive community and economic development strategies in commercial development, housing, education, neighborhood services and health & active living initiatives, in order to create a flourishing neighborhood where a new generation will be employed with quality jobs, families will access new green spaces and healthy food, and a new, stronger future will be built in Parkside. Neighborhood Plan:

Bridget Phifer, Executive Director – Parkside Business and Community in Partnership (PBCIP)

#4 – Newark Creates – Developing the First Cultural Plan with and for the People of Newark

Does your city or town have a cultural plan? Learn key steps in how Newark Arts led the multi-year effort to craft a unifying Community Cultural Plan for NJ’s largest city, how they ensured that arts and culture are infused in every aspect of life and work in Brick City, and how they put the people of Newark at the center of the design process. Completed in 2018, hear about the initial action steps as the “Newark Creates” Community Cultural Plan enters its implementation phase.

Jeremy Johnson, Executive Director – Newark Arts


“Before Hammonton’s Call to Collaboration, I did not know that I was surrounded by people who, despite our differences, care about the same issues: the safety of our town, the well-being of our families, the opportunity to contribute to our community, etc. Knowing that there were other like-minded people in my community gave me the courage to act.”

– Ivette Guillermo-McGahee – Executive Director, Allies in Caring (Hammonton)