Foundation Overview

Mission

The mission of The Nicholson Foundation is to work with families and communities to help their children become healthy, productive adults and realize their potential, by enhancing and connecting programs across the human-services delivery system.  The Foundation's geographic focus is the State of New Jersey, with special emphasis on urban neighborhoods in Essex County.

 

Guiding Principles

The Nicholson Foundation is guided by the following beliefs:

  • poverty and its resulting social problems must be addressed holistically and simultaneously;
  • the expertise and resources of all levels of government are needed to bring about meaningful social and community improvements;
  • the community itself must be involved in, and assume responsibility for, improving the lives of its children and families;
  • collaborative partnerships can be catalysts for social and economic progress, as they foster coordination, bring together diverse resources and expertise, and expand the sphere of influence;
  • programs and interventions become more effective with additional or flexible funding, technical assistance, and coordination with multiple agencies and across delivery systems.

 

Approach

The Nicholson Foundation develops strategic partnerships with government, community organizations, and other stakeholders to enhance their outcomes for children and families.  Efforts focus on increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of delivery systems and minimizing gaps in services and resources.  With our partners, the Foundation:

  • seeks to achieve a shared vision of the ideal delivery system and outcomes;
  • identifies, for local implementation, best-practices models that are supported by evidence-based evaluation;
  • identifies opportunities for improved delivery of services and increased return on investment;
  • identifies new or alternate funding streams;
  • coordinates services across agencies and service delivery systems;
  • provides technical assistance and expert resources; and
  • empowers community residents to become agents for positive social change.

The Foundation also provides grants to support targeted initiatives that implement best- practice models in New Jersey communities and bridge gaps in services and resources until longer-term solutions can be established.

Our partners are the key to the Foundation’s opportunities, to the successes that emanate from our efforts, and to the hope we have for improving the lives of children and their families in New Jersey.  We are grateful to all of our collaborators and are ever watchful for more ways to work together.

The Foundation does not solicit inquires.  All grant making is tied to our technical assistance partnerships.

 

Background

The Foundation was established by William B. and Marion G. Nicholson.  It became active in 2002, in part because of a bequest to the Foundation from their daughter Martha Leigh.  The Foundation’s geographic focus reflects the Nicholsons’ special interest in Essex County, where they lived for over fifty years.

Marion Nicholson, who still resides in Essex, is the elder daughter of Errett M. Grable, co-founder of Rubbermaid, Inc.  In 1976, her mother, Minnie K. Grable, established     The Grable Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth in Southwestern Pennsylvania.  William Nicholson, who died in 2006, was Vice Chairman of the Union Carbide Corporation and was active in the New Jersey Center for Visual Arts after his retirement.

The Foundation is currently led by a three-member Board of Trustees:  Marion and her daughters, Barbara Nicholson McFadyen and Jan Nicholson.  Barbara is a jewelry artist and is on the boards of The Grable Foundation and Kidzu Children’s Museum in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  Jan is a director of Ball Corporation and Radian Group, Inc., President of The Grable Foundation, and serves on the boards of Public Radio Capital, the Tri-State Area’s Regional Plan Association, and MDRC, a social policy research organization.