Charities looking to raise spirits
After the state eliminated its $250,000 annual grant, New Jersey After 3 warned it may have to cut after-school programs. Clockwise from left are After 3
Photos by Steven J. Dundas
cheerleaders performing a routine; After 3 President Mark Valli helping a student with her schoolwork; and students performing a Black History Month skit.
Nonprofits cut expenses to ride out recession ners is working out a merger with another nonprofit.”
Before his next fiscal year begins July 1, “I may have to make more
BY BETH FITZGERALD tough decisions — either shrink our staff or serve fewer kids, or some
NEW JERSEY AFTER 3 provides after-school programs for 14,000 children combination of all of that,” he said.
across the state, but that number may soon be headed for a sharp decline. The tough tradeoffs facing After 3 are rippling through the state’s
As the fiscal crisis led the state to eliminate the group’s $250,000 annual nonprofit community. Charities are cutting overhead expenses as the
grant, a private foundation, whose endowment was pummeled in the economic crisis pushes donors to cut back on giving, but they’re also
stock market crash, also cut the organization’s funding by 25 percent. going back to their most loyal donors and appealing for extra help to
Mark Valli, president of the New Brunswick-based nonprofit, is weather the storm.
leaving a staff position vacant, has cut back on staff development and “Nonprofits have to run like a business, and right now they are doing
now faces the wrenching reality that services to children could be what a business does in difficult times — going over every line-item
reduced over the next year. expense on the budget, and deferring any expenses that can be deferred,”
An After 3 partner organization that delivers the after-school pro- said Mitchell Lewis, a partner in the not-for-profit services practice of the
grams “is closing its doors because they’re not able to raise the dollars Edison-based accounting firm Weiser.
to support their administrative costs,” Valli said. “Another of our part- ➤➤ See CHARITY on page 20
‘If we support the community, they will support us’ dents to the restaurant during Thanksgiving
week to trim Christmas trees that decorate the
restaurant during the holidays. Third-grade stu-
BY BETH FITZGERALD restaurants will cater the food. In October, Fisch raised $25,000 for Morris- dents from 17 local schools took part last year,
FOR A BUSINESS that wants to keep giving to Fisch contributes his industry knowledge town Memorial Hospital at another annual wine- and judges chose the top three trees; Liberty
charity during a tight economy, it helps to set and contacts, “as opposed to writing checks,” he tasting fundraiser, though in previous years, he House then made cash donations to the art
priorities and stick to what you know. said. “We want to support every organization we said, that event has brought in much as $45,000. departments of the three winning schools.
So it’s not surprising that Gary Fisch, owner physically can. But as a business, we can’t write Jeanne Cretella, co-owner of Landmark These are tough times for the economy, but
of a three-store chain of wine supermarkets, a check for everything. But we can work with Hospitality, said the company “has not cut back Liberty House was born in far more trying times.
Gary’s Wine and Marketplace, pours much of our vendors and coordinate a wine tasting.” It’s on charitable activities. This would be the worst The restaurant is directly opposite where the
his charitable energy into wine-tasting fundrais- only natural for Fisch to promote the event time — when people in the community need twin towers of the World Trade Center once
ers. This year, the Taste of Madison, at Fairleigh through his stores, as his customers form a help the most.” Landmark owns the Liberty stood. Liberty House was supposed to open its
Dickinson University’s College at Florham on ready-made community of wine lovers. House restaurant on the Jersey City waterfront, doors in September 2001; the opening was
March 11, will raise money for the Madison