We maximize our impact in the community through competitive grant cycles, prudent management of donor contributions, and collaborative relationships with local nonprofits.
Fighting Food Insecurity
Over the last few years, The Summit Foundation has granted $140,000 to the Community FoodBank (FoodBank) to combat hunger in Summit. The FoodBank has used the funds to strengthen its capacity to distribute food to local agencies and to expand the Family Pack program. Family Pack, a collaboration with FoodBank, Summit Area YMCA and local schools, provides food to school-age children (and their families) who are at risk of being hungry over the weekend, when free school breakfasts and lunches are not available.
Job Training for the Homeless
The Job Readiness Horticulture and Facilities Training Program at Reeves-Reed Arboretum trains motivated homeless adults to seek, acquire, and maintain jobs in the community. This hyper-local initiative is the result of a unique collaboration between Reeves-Reed and Bridges Outreach. The Summit Foundation provided Reeves-Reed with $15,000 for the operating, staffing and equipment costs to train more candidates. The program’s first graduate, who helped train other participants, is employed by a local church.
Reinventing Green Spaces
The Summit Park Line, a pedestrian park along the abandoned Rahway Valley Railroad, offers an outlet for people to stroll, bike, observe, and commune. The Summit Foundation contributed a $35,000 grant toward phase one of the Park Line’s development. That grant supported design and engineering costs, Summit Public Art installations, tree plantings, benches, and a butterfly sanctuary. Once complete, the Park Line’s 1.2-mile path will connect downtown Summit to Briant Park.
Fostering Resiliency after Loss
Children make sense of the world through play, and imagination can help them deal with difficult circumstances. Imagine, Inc. uses a peer support model to support hundreds of local children and families coping with loss. Imagine’s free programming pairs participants with peer facilitators in a safe and healing environment in which to grieve. The Summit Foundation has supported Imagine over the years, most recently with a $20,000 grant to support one-on-one therapy for participants and expanded training of adult and teen facilitators.
Outside Play for All
The Learning Circle YMCA (TLC) provides daycare, preschool, kindergarten, and summer camp for 170 young children, 20% of whom receive financial assistance. Outdoor play is essential for children’s development, and especially vital for children who may only play outside when they are at TLC. The Summit Foundation provided TLC with a $40,000 grant to resurface its largest outdoor space with synthetic turf so that children can play outside year-round, and during any kind of weather.
Career Development for Teens
Boys & Girls Clubs of Union County Workforce Development Program provides meaningful career experiences for high school members of its Union, Plainfield, and Elizabeth clubs. Participating teens ages 12-18 engage with local businesses through mock interviews, resume workshops, multiweek site visits, and internships. This hands-on learning introduces members to different careers and educates them about expectations in the workplace. The Summit Foundation provided a $10,000 grant to expand the program, which will reach 145 members.
Meals on Wheels, run by SAGE Eldercare (SAGE), fights to eliminate hunger and isolation among Summit’s homebound, frail and disabled older adults. Its team of social workers and volunteers works Monday-Friday to serve more than 250 seniors by delivering twice-daily nutritious meals and helping with errands, shopping and emergency provisions. In many cases, Meals on Wheels volunteers provide the only interaction some of these seniors have with the outside world. Over the past four years, The Summit Foundation has provided $160,000 to ensure SAGE continues its mission.
Improving Access to Medical Care
Children’s Specialized Hospital treats more than 450 Summit area children with complex physical and mental health needs. The hospital also runs a primary care clinic, which is an important component in the comprehensive care of its clients. The clinic’s care coordinators help families manage medical interventions and appointments and ensure that medication compliance, homecare, and behavioral health are addressed. The Summit Foundation provided a $48,000 grant to support the care coordination program.
Expanding Access to Early Intervention
Summit Speech School empowers children with hearing loss to become effective communicators using listening and spoken language. The Summit Foundation granted $85,000 over the last few years to support the school’s Parent Infant Program, an intensive, early intervention, immersive program that uses highly skilled teachers to work with parents and their children from infancy to three years of age. This early intervention, critical to language acquisition, is underfunded by the state.
Transformative Power of Art
The Visual Arts Center of NJ (VACNJ) offers numerous community programs, classes, and exhibitions. It sought support from The Summit Foundation to expand its reach to those restricted by financial, physical, or other barriers. Our $10,000 grant supported weekly classes for seniors in SAGE Eldercare’s Spend-a-Day program and ensured that Summit students with demonstrated financial needs had access to arts programs. In addition, VACNJ initiated an English Language Acquisition program for middle school students with our funding. VACNJ partners with the Summit Public Schools and GRACE food pantry to serve recently migrated, English language learners living in Summit.
Orchestrating Classical Music Experiences
The Summit Foundation awarded a $2,000 grant to Summit Symphony Orchestra in support of its 20th Young Artist Competition. The competition, which is open to NJ high school students, offers students the opportunity to audition and experience a formal performance. During the competition, three musicians are selected to perform with the Summit Symphony Orchestra in a spring concert. Past concerts have attracted hundreds of residents and classical music enthusiasts ranging from youth to senior citizens.
Enriching Lives, One Note at a Time
“It changed my life,” said one participant. Seniors Sing, a free choral program run by Continuo Arts Foundation, strives to enhance the well-being of its more than 60 members through music. For many adults, retirement marks a significant and challenging life change. Programs like Seniors Sing offer those adults the opportunity to come together, sing, and share music with others. Participants practice weekly and perform at community events and marquee concerts. The Summit Foundation most recently supported Seniors Sing with a $10,000 grant.
Student Support Through Scholarship
Over the last four years, the Summit Foundation has awarded $213,000 in college tuition scholarships to 128 area high school students. The scholarships are awarded on an objective and nondiscriminatory basis to support students who have demonstrated specific qualities and fulfilled certain criteria. One of our awards, The Summit Foundation Scholarship, honors students demonstrating resolve in overcoming obstacles. We consider each applicant with input from high school guidance offices.