Newark’s Victoria Foundation readies for 100-year anniversary

Newark-based Victoria Foundation on Thursday announced its plans to mark the foundation’s 100th anniversary. As a longstanding funder in Newark, and one of the oldest foundations in New Jersey, the foundation has granted more than $380 million to nonprofits serving families and children living in Newark, and statewide efforts to address critical environmental issues.

To celebrate its anniversary milestone, Victoria Foundation is launching an campaign that includes special events and initiatives throughout this year in Newark. The campaign will feature Victoria Foundation co-sponsored community events, signature grants and a symposium spotlighting local, state and national leaders who will help inform their approach to strengthen community power, foster economic justice and promote youth self-determination.

The campaign will culminate with a celebration in December.

Recently, the foundation has made a number of pivots from what might be expected of a traditional private foundation, updating its approach to grantmaking and governance.

“While we are celebrating a century of work, we are looking ahead to shepherding in a new era of philanthropy,” Craig Drinkard, executive officer of Victoria Foundation, said. “We aspire for a future where Victoria Foundation, alongside our partners, champions a community-informed movement, one that amplifies local voices, aligns with our residents’ and grantee partners’ deepest aspirations and places their well-being at the heart of every initiative.”

In addition to celebrating 100 years, 2024 is a transitional point for the foundation’s grantmaking. Over the last century, Victoria Foundation has centered its grantmaking on youth and family programs, neighborhood development, education and the environment.

Recently, the foundation transitioned to a focus on strengthening the power of Newark’s residents and community-based organizations to address the priorities they hold for their lives and neighborhoods. The foundation has also adopted a board structure that pushes the norms for family-founded philanthropies, bringing on community leaders as board members.

“Building on our long legacy of impact, we are stepping into the next century ready to leverage our voice, relationships and resources to reimagine our approach to addressing the root causes of intergenerational poverty and inequality in Newark,” Frank Alvarez, president of the board of trustees at Victoria Foundation, said.

Victoria Foundation was founded during the philanthropic surge of the Rockefellers and MacArthur Foundation. Founded by Hendon Chubb, a 50-year-old businessman of Chubb Insurance in 1924, Hendon started the foundation with a personal $20,000 contribution and named it after his mother, Victoria Eddis Chubb, with a mission to “do good in the world.” Victoria Foundation began its work in 1925 with a $2,000 grant to study the troubling housing conditions in the Essex County town of Orange.