HACKENSACK, NJ - Hasbrouck Heights resident Mary Blanusa has been appointed Executive Director of the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation (NNJCF), a nonprofit organization headquartered in Hackensack, New Jersey. Blanusa has 20 years' experience in nonprofit and philanthropic leadership focused on education, community development, community organizing and advocacy.
"While many people look across the river to New York City for their charitable giving, I to hope expand local giving through NNJCF’s philanthropic services and community focused programs in environment, arts, education, and health," said Blanusa.
"I am also excited to work with local municipalities and county officials on the design and implementation of environmental projects that simultaneously address climate change, economic growth and community development," she said.
She has lived in northern New Jersey for most of her life in and is active member of the community in Hasbrouck Heights. She is a graduate of Corpus Christi School and Paramus Catholic High School. Among her activities, she is the Municipal Vice-Chair of Bergen County Democratic Committee and a volunteer with the Hasbrouck Heights Green Team. Previously, she served as past president of the Hasbrouck Heights Junior Woman’s Club. Blanusa also maintains a national presence serving on the advisory board of the English Learners Success Forum and Seek Common Ground.
Blanusa worked in a range of positions in the nonprofit field. As a Program Officer at The Helmsley Charitable Trust, she led policy, advocacy and communications grantmaking. She served in several programmatic and leadership roles at the Council for Economic Education, most recently as Vice President of Government Relations and Partnerships. Blanusa led community engagement efforts on environmental restoration projects in New York City and the New Jersey Meadowlands. Beginning her career as a Peace Corps volunteer, she taught English and environmental education to middle school students in Hungary.
She holds a Master’s degree from the Heller School of Public Policy at Brandeis University and a Bachelor’s degree from American University. As part of her master's degree in sustainable development, she worked on community development projects in Serbia. Upon her return to New Jersey, Blanusa worked on environmental restoration projects in New York City and contributed to the initial Environmental Impact Assessment that eventually became American Dream in the Meadowlands.
"Ms. Blanusa brings to the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation an extensive background in the nonprofit sector to meet the needs of a rapidly expanding foundation," said Michael Shannon, President of the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation.
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