J&J makes $1M pledge to State Theatre N.J.

By Meg Fry
New Brunswick | Mar 26, 2018 at 12:15 pm

Signed, sealed, delivered, it’s yours.

Johnson & Johnson continued its longstanding support of the State Theatre New Jersey by pledging a $1 million donation over a five-year period to the New Brunswick-based nonprofit last Friday night, before a performance of Berry Gordy’s “Motown the Musical.”

The pledge kicked off the company’s fourth annual Johnson & Johnson Evening at the State, where more than 200 employees gathered for a private reception and show.

Michael Sneed, vice president, global corporate affairs, and chief communication officer for Johnson & Johnson, said the gift was a way to acknowledge the great things the State Theatre does for New Jersey.

“What we hope to continue to expand upon in our partnership with the State Theatre is all that it does to bring the arts and culture into the community, particularly for young people,” he said.

Johnson & Johnson’s $1 million gift to the State Theatre is, Sneed said, also is an example of the company’s longstanding commitment to New Brunswick.

“We believe that there is a tremendous return on our investment by helping the community in which we live and work remain vital and healthy, and by providing opportunities in which to engage our employees in the arts,” he said. “The ability to be seen as more than just a company that makes products, to be considered an integral piece of the fabric of the community, pays huge dividends both in the short and long terms.”

The gift is the largest J&J has ever given to the State Theatre.

Scott Fergang, chair of the board of trustees at the State Theatre New Jersey and senior vice president and branch director for RBC Wealth Management in Paramus, said the gift will help the theater continue its mission of providing arts and culture to the community.

“Johnson and Johnson’s leadership support of State Theatre New Jersey over the past 30 years has demonstrated its stalwart commitment to the Middlesex County community,” he said. “J&J has served as a model that other corporations and foundations have followed, benefitting scores of nonprofits, and helping us tremendously in our ongoing fundraising efforts.  We are very grateful to all of our partners at J&J, whose dedication has been so inspiring.”

Since its founding in New Brunswick in 1886, Johnson & Johnson has long understood the importance of collaboration between the state’s business and arts communities, Sneed said.

This gift is just the latest example, he said.

“This year, we celebrate the 75th anniversary of Our Credo, which has been the guiding manual of our company and corporate responsibility,” Sneed said. “As written in Our Credo, we are responsible to the communities in which we live and work. We must be good citizens, encouraging civic improvements and better health and education.”

New Brunswick in the mid-1970s, Sneed said, was rather unrecognizable.

“A lot of companies were thinking of leaving and moving into the suburbs,” he said. “But Johnson & Johnson elected to stay in New Brunswick and make a strong commitment to culture and arts in the city.”

Johnson & Johnson became a key sponsor of the State Theatre after playing a major role in its renovation in the late 1980s, turning the once-vaudeville house and movie theater into a not-for-profit performing arts center that helped spur revitalization efforts in the city.

“In keeping with Our Credo, we have renewed our purpose around our mission, blending our hearts, our science and our ingenuity to profoundly change the trajectory of health for humanity,” Sneed said. “We want to impact our community, particularly those children who live in communities like New Brunswick, by partnering with organizations like the State Theatre to provide arts and education so they can appreciate the totality of what communities can bring and can start with a great foundation as they become adult citizens.”

Johnson & Johnson continues to provide annual programming and grant support to the State Theatre, especially for its educational and outreach programming, which reaches more than 35,000 children and families annually.

“The State Theatre provides a tremendous number of classes and arts series for young artists in the community,” he said. “There also is certainly no shortage of Johnson & Johnson employees who are willing to donate their time and talents to such efforts.”

As the State Theatre approaches its 100th anniversary in 2021, Sneed said Johnson & Johnson will continue to partner with the organization to help ensure it is around for future generations for decades to come.

“Not unlike our company, cities want to make sure that they have a diversity of offerings, from jobs and education to arts and culture,” he said. “That is what attracts people, particularly younger people, to move back.

“Mayor Jim Cahill and his team certainly set up an environment in which it is very easy for private companies such as Johnson & Johnson to partner with organizations such as the State Theatre New Jersey, and that is why I fully expect New Brunswick will continue to grow.”

Meg Fry | mfry@roi-nj.com | megfry3