Meet our members! AFN’s greatest asset is our members—a diverse network of national, regional, and community-based foundations, financial institutions, and grantmakers—investing in advancing equitable wealth building and economic mobility. Check back each month and meet your peers!
1: What is the mission of your organization and how is advancing equitable wealth building and economic mobility incorporated into the work?
Victoria Foundation is a private independent foundation in Newark, NJ founded in 1924. For the past 55 years, Victoria Foundation has focused most of its resources on children and families living in Newark, and protecting New Jersey’s watershed areas, with grants totaling $300 million. Victoria adopted a new framework in 2021 focused explicitly on social and racial justice, and will direct its grantmaking, investments and relationships on addressing systemic causes of generational poverty in Newark by focusing on strengthening community power, fostering economic justice, and promoting youth self-determination.
Our economic justice priority focuses on living wages, economic ownership, anti-displacement, and environmental justice. Our philanthropic approach is grounded in relationships. We invest in nonprofits led and staffed by people of color, with the goal of driving resources to organizations that are accountable to Black and Brown communities. We seek to align our resources, strategies, and staffing to take on the causes of intergenerational poverty and inequality.
2: How does your organization bridge the racial wealth gap?
Our efforts on the racial wealth gap, like all our new funding strategies, are shaped and guided by engagement with residents and stakeholders working at the neighborhood level. Newark is a proud majority Black and Brown city with many experienced activists as well as policy and academic leaders of color focused on this issue. We aspire to prioritize funding strategies in collaboration with our nonprofit partners and Newark community stakeholders, so that program priorities are community-centered and focused on equity.
3: Where are we lacking investments as a sector that will result in greater economic equity, and how can we address the gap?
Funding economic equity means confronting the legacy and ongoing impact of structural racism and disinvestment. I believe we need to invest deeply and over the long term in BIPOC leadership organizing for worker power (unions, worker centers, union-community coalitions, living wage campaigns) and against financial exploitation (payday and predatory lending, price gouging, wage theft, etc.). One way to think about foundation resources in this space is to consider endowments for community spaces and/or operating funds, for example, for training centers for organizers.
4: Share a question you would like to raise to your AFN community.
How can we create more accountability structures within philanthropy for people and communities directly impacted by racialized economic exploitation?
5: What have been some of the biggest benefits of being part of the Asset Funders Network?
I have greatly appreciated both the contacts with regional colleagues and the educational panels on key issues.
6: What event or activity in your community have you most enjoyed resuming in the past year?
Outside of work, I have enjoyed getting more deeply involved in climate-related protests and campaigns against fossil fuel finance.
About Stephanie Greenwood, Senior Strategy Officer, Victoria Foundation
Stephanie Greenwood serves as the Senior Strategy Officer for Victoria Foundation’s Economic Justice portfolio in Newark, NJ. She combines over twenty years of experience in public policy, advocacy, coalition-building, project management, and grants administration in the nonprofit, public, and philanthropic sectors with a deep personal commitment to place-based, intersectional equity and justice. At Victoria Foundation, she mobilizes resources in support of groups working to advance economic justice in Newark with a particular focus on housing, environmental and climate justice, and accountable neighborhood development. She also serves as the co-chair of the Environmental Funders Affinity Group for the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers and coordinates the Healthy Homes impact team for Believe in a Healthy Newark. Her work emphasizes close collaboration with and accountability to community partners toward the vision of a healthy, just, regenerative local economy.
Prior to joining the Victoria Foundation in 2014, she worked in the City of Newark’s Economic and Housing Development Department. From 2007 to 2011, she coordinated a multi-municipality taskforce responding to the foreclosure crisis, helped secure and deploy over $20 million in federal funds to reclaim abandoned housing, and supported a range of community development initiatives. From 2011 to 2014, she served as the City of Newark’s Sustainability Director, coordinating and drafting Newark’s first Sustainability Action Plan, securing and deploying over $13 million in public and private grant funds, and growing and institutionalizing Newark’s municipal commitment to sustainability.
Stephanie holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and a Masters of Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.