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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.

A Message from Kacy – Please Support Gathering Ground

A Message From Kacy – Support Unstoppable People

In my ten years as the Director of Programming at Gathering Ground I’ve met some extraordinary people, including experienced community leaders; savvy and enthusiastic young adults; passionate and committed activists and social justice advocates; collaborative neighbors; innovative civil servants; compassionate and impactful educators, service providers, artists, grantmakers, business owners – the list goes on.

People who are unstoppable — particularly when they have the time and space to listen to, learn from, be in dialogue with, collaborate with and support each other on the issues and opportunities that most impact them.

But strengthening relationships in our fractured age, repairing the damage from long standing systems of harm, and laying the groundwork for transformative collaboration doesn’t happen on its own. That change requires time and intentionality. And that change endures when we sit shoulder to shoulder, in conversation, in community.

I’m proud of all the times folks at our Calls to Collaboration, Communities in Conversation, Crisis Briefings or Summits have said to me, “Our community has never gathered in this way before” or “I never felt like people cared about the same things as I do, and now I’ve found partners in my cause” or “that conversation I had / person I met has now led to this collaborative action…” Here are some of my favorites:

“Walls came down, bridges were built, inspiration was shared, challenges were tackled, hope was renewed because people who care took the time to come together to have meaningful conversation. Thank you […] for creating the environment to make this possible. We are stronger together.”

“Thank you for hosting Communities in Conversation. Having the opportunity to build new partnerships, share resources and problem solve with such a wide variety of community stakeholders was remarkable! The framework and format used created a truly valuable experience for everyone. I look forward to participating in future events like this.”

“You have managed to do something that does not happen often.....Yes, your 10 years of successful programming is admirable.....Yes, uniting a diverse collage of individuals and making our thoughts and dreams audible.....not bad either.....Initially, giving the impression that it would be a Friday nite rodeo of cat herding.....only to morph into a passionate perfecting of personalities with many goals and a singular strategy!”

Today, I’m asking you to join our community by donating to Gathering Ground. When you donate, you are:

  • providing the necessary supports to hold space for dialogue and action on critical issues facing us today;
  • contributing to the weaving of networks, the strengthening of community and the breaking down of silos; and
  • supporting your neighbors, friends, colleagues, and communities – and hopefully yourself – to come together in person and online to sit shoulder to shoulder and engage. To sit shoulder to shoulder and act.

We do our work in support of and solidarity with the extraordinary people of our state. Donate today and gather ground with us – together, we’re unstoppable.

In gratitude,

Kacy O’Brien
Director of Programming


“Last night I didn’t sleep because I was thinking about this [model of bringing people together]. With the New Jim Crow Project [focusing on mass incarceration] we have to plan events and programs all the time and suddenly I’m thinking that more people have to have conversations: I don’t have to have a keynote speaker, I have to create the kinds of programs that have people talking with each other and thinking about action steps. So it’s really changing the model for us about the way we’re going to do our communicating and programs and raising the level of self-awareness in education.”

– Barbara Flythe – Campaign to End Jim Crow (Trenton)