PHOTOS: Maplewood Foundation Surpasses $1.1M Year 1 Fundraising Goal at Sold-Out Gala


The new community foundation raised $53,300 at the event, bringing its new donation total to $1.15 million

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The following press release is from the Maplewood Foundation: 

MAPLEWOOD, N.J., Dec. 5, 2023 – The Maplewood Foundation, a 501(c)(3) philanthropic community foundation dedicated to improving the quality of life of all Maplewood residents, this past weekend held a festive celebration to honor its founding donors and inaugural grant recipients. During the sold-out “Celebrate Maplewood” event, an additional $53,300 was donated by attendees through a live auction and paddle raise, enabling the organization to surpass its first-year fundraising goal of $1.1 million. The excess will serve to kick off the Foundation’s 2024 campaign.

“‘Celebrate Maplewood’ was an unequivocal success, which is no small feat for a brand-new nonprofit holding its first large event,” said Fred Profeta, president of The Maplewood Foundation board of trustees. “It gave 200 attendees from our community a chance to learn about the incredible nonprofits serving our residents, all while enjoying an amazing party. Now, with $1.15 million raised, we can begin to build our fund to give even more next year.”

Held at The Woodland, the event featured a performance by comedian Gordon Baker-Bone, a Maplewood native and Columbia High School graduate, who had the crowd laughing from start to finish. DJ Lou of South Orange was spinning tunes that kept partygoers on the dance floor well past the official end time of 10 p.m. Caterer Two Men and An Appetite delighted attendees with a magnificent selection of themed food stations and passed hors d’oeuvres. A menu of specialty cocktails, such as The Maplewood Mule, was also a hit with guests.

“In its first year, ‘Celebrate Maplewood’ has already established itself as the new can’t-miss event,” said Jennifer McManus, a local real estate agent and founding donor of the Foundation. “Maplewood and South Orange always turn up when there’s a need and we also know how to have a good time. The sense of community spirit in the room was palpable!”

The Foundation was launched in January with the intention of awarding up to $45,000 in Program grants and $5,000 in Seed grants at the end of its first year. Among the highlights of “Celebrate Maplewood” was a ceremony during which seven non-profit organizations received checks totaling $50,000 to develop new programs or expand their services.

2023-24 Maplewood Foundation grantees

The Maplewood Foundation 2023-2024 grant recipients are:

·       Beloved Bath received a Program Grant for $5,000 to improve the lives of adults with autism and related disabilities through the development of employment and social skills that empower individuals with autism to lead the most fulfilling and independent lives possible.

·       Family Connections received a Program Grant for $10,000 to support Pride+, a program for LGBTQIA+ middle and high school aged youth and their families throughout Essex County.

·       Maplewood Village Alliance received a Program Grant for $10,000 to assist with the Beautification Program at Baker Square, an expanded gathering spot at the corner of Maplewood Avenue and Baker Street. 

·       South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race received a Program Grant for $7,000 to develop and deliver anti-bias and anti-racism trainings and resources for residents, local organizations, businesses, and community leaders. 

·       South Mountain YMCA received a Program Grant for $5,000 to develop the Environmental Education Pilot at Seth Boyden School to provide afterschool experiences that teach children about how their daily lives impact the environment and how to protect the environment through everyday actions.

·       South Orange Rescue Squad received a Program Grant for $8,000 to activate their water rescue team by purchasing personal protective equipment to make it safe for their volunteers to enter flood waters that result from the effects of climate change.

·       Together We Bloom received a Seed Grant for $5,000, jumpstarting its disability justice, equity, and belonging initiatives to increase inclusion and accessibility for neurodivergent and disabled community members and their families. 

“The Maplewood Foundation received grant requests totaling more than $200,000, which tells us just how great the need is for a new source of funding,” said Profeta. “We’re thrilled to hit our initial goal so we can give at least $50,000 in grants each year moving forward. We are also confident the Maplewood community will continue to lend its support in the coming months and years so that we can give more grants as our fund grows over time.”

Donations to The Maplewood Foundation are invested in a fund for a longer-term and wider impact within the community. The Foundation gives approximately 5% of its holdings each year as Program and Seed grants through an annual grant cycle.

To make a donation to The Maplewood Foundation, visit No gift is too large or too small.


The Maplewood Foundation is a 501(c)(3) community foundation dedicated to providing a continuously growing bedrock of financial support to nonprofit organizations in Maplewood, New Jersey. Founded in 2023, the organization uses a grant-awarding process to disseminate approximately 5% of its assets each year in support of established Maplewood-focused organizations and aspiring nonprofits.



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