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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.

October 2023 Newsletter

Kacy O'Brien, Bonnie Cushing and Tyneisha Gibbs

This month at Gathering Ground

Here’s what we’re doing, resources we love, and what we’re excited about…

We’ve been busy doing…

Access to Nature Forum: Enhancing Outdoor Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities

On October 4, in collaboration with Pinelands Preservation Alliance, New Jersey Division of Disability Services, Rutgers University Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy, and Duke Farms, we were delighted to facilitate a gathering of over 50 individuals from various backgrounds, including disability services, local and state government, disability justice, public and private land stewardship, philanthropy and business, among other, all committed to enhancing access to nature and outdoor recreation for individuals with disabilities.

Over the day-long series of ideation and action sessions, participants shared knowledge, resources, challenges, opportunities and action commitments on the intersection of access to nature and outdoor recreation and public policy; funding and fundraising for access initiatives; land stewardship and management; and accessible programming, and we’re excited to see this momentum of this day carried forward. If you’re interested in the larger work that this coalition is doing, we encourage you to get in touch with the Pinelands Preservation Alliance.

Communities in Conversation Logo with speech bubblesCommunities in Conversation

This month’s Communities in Conversation was held on Wednesday, October 25, 2023. A vibrant, fast-paced, equity-focused, cross-sector think tank, Communities in Conversation is an opportunity for people to foster deeper connections, share knowledge and resources, and leverage these virtual gatherings as a springboard for statewide collaboration in advancing equity in our organizations.

We hope to see you at our next virtual convening on November 29, 2023 at 9:30 am.

Resources we are loving…

The Access to Nature planning team has prepared fantastic materials on accessible practices for all – check them out here:

We’re also learning about the Consent Process of decision making:

What we are excited about…

Last weekend, we attended the CSWAC conference on Building a Multiracial Democracy in Newark. We were delighted to be in community with so many others from across the tri-state region and nationally to dig into this topic.

We also got to see some friends and colleagues from our Elevating Equity program! And we got to try an unexpected sweet treat – The Wei’s local wildflower honey!

CSWAC Organizers and Volunteers

The upcoming NJ Center for Nonprofits Conference coming up on December 6th! Spending a day with 700 of our friends and colleagues from the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors in impactful conversations? Yes, please!

Hope to see many of you there!


“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)