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Impact Stories

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 Community Fund for the people — by the people — of the people

Atlantic City Call to Collaboration Breakout session photo: Greg Alber
Atlantic City Call to Collaboration Breakout session photo: Greg Alber

Our Atlantic City Call to Collaboration sparked the question, “Could we create a new philanthropic fund, led by the people of Atlantic City for the betterment of the people of Atlantic City?” In the months following and inspired by the tremendous resilience and commitment of the people of Atlantic City, staff from Gathering Ground, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and Community Foundation of South Jersey convened a small group of residents around the idea of creating a community fund. 

Built one step at a time, from the ground up, and with decision-making authority squarely in the hands of the local people, our resident working group designed a procedure for selecting the founding advisory board, created a deeply intentional relationship-building strategy for announcing and soliciting applications from individuals throughout the city, and fielded more than 80 applications for Board membership. 

Under the auspices of the Community Foundation of South Jersey with continued involvement and support from Gathering Ground, the Atlantic City Community Fund officially launched in 2018 with the inaugural meeting of the Board of Advisors, and with seed funding from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Community Foundation of South Jersey, and Wells Fargo Regional Foundation. 

By the end of 2021, the Fund will have granted approximately $100,000 to more than 35 nonprofits in the city who are improving lives and neighborhoods through health and wellness, food security, youth development, homeless services, arts and culture, neighborhood beautification, and entrepreneurship. These organizations are achieving impact in a city that, at times, has had odds stacked against them. Their determination to build a safer, healthier, secure and thriving city is evident every day in their tireless efforts. 


Icons for social service, economic grown, health & medicine, cross-sector, youth, civic & neighborhood, small business, arts & culture

“The convening in Orange of 80+ people last March under the banner of the Orange Call to Collaboration allowed us the opportunity to expand our arts-as-the-engine-of-urban-revitalization movement from 15 blocks to the whole city of 33,000 people. The Orange Call to Collaboration is becoming an umbrella for public and private initiatives to innovatively confront our urban challenges and to celebrate our culture and diversity.”

– Patrick Morrissy, Former Executive Director, HANDS, Inc. (Orange)