New Brunswick, N.J.—Lead New Jersey (LNJ) announced today that it has received a $225,000 grant, the largest in the program’s history, from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The grant will provide funding for program participants from the nonprofit and government sectors, and expand LNJ programs related to building a culture of health in New Jersey.
LNJ competitively selects approximately 50 leaders each year from the business, government, and nonprofit sectors to participate in a 12-month long program to discuss and address pressing social, economic, and other issues facing the state. The number of government and nonprofit applicants has dropped recently due to fiscal and staffing challenges, so this grant is specifically designed to fund up to 20 scholarships for leaders from those areas.
“It is becoming more difficult for LNJ candidates to secure the funding to ensure that their vital voices and viewpoints are at our table,” said LNJ’s president and 1991 fellow, Mark Murphy. “The grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will allow us to maintain a diverse pool of LNJ fellows, a key to providing a rich exchange of perspectives that leads to informed New Jersey leadership throughout all sectors.”
The grant was announced at LNJ’s annual Celebration of Leadership held on December 5th, where Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, president and CEO of RWJF, commended the work of LNJ and introduced former Governor Thomas H. Kean as the innovative thinker behind the conception of LNJ and recipient of the 2013 Lifetime of Leadership Award.
“The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is committed to creating a culture of health that enables all in our diverse society to lead healthy lives, now and for generations to come. For the last 30 years, the work of LNJ has supported that mission here in our home state, and we have benefited from many of our own Foundation leaders serving as fellows. As the largest philanthropy in New Jersey, we are proud to sustain the program’s success and strengthen its long-standing commitment to issues that affect the health of New Jerseyans.”
The framework for LNJ began 30 years ago through the efforts of Governor Kean. The Governor worked with business and philanthropic leaders in the state to create the Partnership for New Jersey, a roundtable effort dedicated to improving public policy through an informed citizenry and effective leadership program. This group launched the annual “Leadership New Jersey” fellowship program in 1988, now known as LNJ.
“As elected officials, we serve our constituents for a finite amount of time, so it is especially gratifying when we can seed initiatives that bear fruit for subsequent generations,” said Thomas Kean, former NJ governor and retired RWJF Board chair. “I am proud and humbled to see that LNJ can now claim more than 1,300 alumni who understand New Jersey and are committed to leading positive change.”
In addition to supporting the scholarships, this grant will fund other programs to engage LNJ fellows and alumni, as well as other key stakeholders in the state, through a redesigned health and human services seminar, a Forum on the Future of Health and Health Care in New Jersey, and a half-day workshop on boundary spanning leadership for 2014, 2015, and 2016 fellows.
About Lead New Jersey
Lead New Jersey engages talented leaders from diverse backgrounds and walks of life to create systemic change around New Jersey's most challenging issues. Our vision is to make New Jersey a better place to live and work for all of us through informed, effective leadership. LNJ brings program participants—our fellows—together two days a month for a year to explore critical issues and address challenges and opportunities facing New Jersey. Fellows who share the experience of our Seminar program over the last two decades have created a vibrant network of civic leaders engaged in systemic change. This network is an important asset for many initiatives that aim to make New Jersey a better place in which to live and work. Visit http://www.leadnj.org for more information.