Transform South Jersey is a collaboration between the Community Foundation of South Jersey and local & national funding partners (the Guiding Team) to increase social cohesion & build community capital by bringing the Orton Family Foundation’s resident-driven community planning & development process, Community Heart & Soul, to southern New Jersey.

In addition to completing all four phases of the Heart & Soul process in their individual towns, each Transform South Jersey Heart & Soul Community will be connected through the Transform South Jersey Network, a local community of practice for building trust, skills, and community leadership across the region. 

With support of the Community Foundation of South Jersey, each town will also establish & build their own community endowment. These locally controlled funds will exist in perpetuity and be responsive to the priorities and strategies identified by each Transform South Jersey Heart & Soul Community.


Community Heart & Soul is a catalyst for positive change in small cities and towns. By actively seeking the collective wisdom of all residents, including those whose voices are often missing, Community Heart & Soul brings people together to build stronger, healthier and more economically vibrant communities. This resident-driven model helps build trust while taking into account the unique character of a town and the deep emotional connection of the people who live there—a town’s “Heart & Soul®.” These collective insights into what truly matters most guide a community in making the best decisions about its future.

The Guiding Team

Together, these partners have formed a Guiding Team to help steer the work of Transform South Jersey, by serving and supporting the larger Transform South Jersey Community Heart & Soul Network of communities, residents, and leaders. The Guiding Team is made up of:

Community Foundation of
South Jersey

The Community Foundation of South Jersey (CFSJ) envisions an eight-county region thriving where all neighbors aspire, succeed, participate, and give. The vision is realized as CFSJ inspires generosity, manages and deploys permanent charitable assets, and exercises collaborative leadership to create a more equitable region. CFSJ works with South Jersey philanthropists, local nonprofits, and neighbors to build capital, contribute assets, and create permanent endowments for impact in perpetuity. By aligning donor interests and using the investment earnings on each of its endowed funds, CFSJ makes grants and builds leadership within the community to create thriving, equitable, and livable communities for all. Currently, CFSJ manages assets of $22 million in donor-advised funds. Along with its fund-holders, CFSJ has issued more than $9 million in nonprofit grants and scholarships.

Click here to learn more about the Community Foundation of South Jersey.

Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation

The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation envisions an equitable New Jersey through creative, engaged, sustainable communities, and poetry to connect communities and influence social change to achieve this vision. Dodge stewards and leverages all our resources, financial and human, and partners with and supports the nonprofit sector to be valued and effective influencers for community-level change in New Jersey, with a priority focus on elevating the voices and power of those communities that have been historically and systematically excluded from investment and opportunity.

Click here to learn more about the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

New Jersey Health Initiatives

New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI) is the statewide grantmaking program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Established in 1987 in honor of the New Jersey philanthropic legacy of RWJF’s founder, Robert Wood Johnson, NJHI supports innovations and drives conversations to build healthier communities through grantmaking across the State of New Jersey. To meet the many health needs of our state’s diverse populations, regions and communities, the NJHI national program encourages collaboration across sectors to foster deep relationships committed to long-term change affording all New Jerseyans the opportunity to live the healthiest life possible.

Click here to learn more about New Jersey Health Initiatives.

OceanFirst Foundation

Since its founding in 1902, OceanFirst Bank has built a solid reputation and legacy as a good neighbor and responsible corporate citizen. The Bank’s strong commitment to helping families, organizations, schools and communities throughout central and southern New Jersey meet their financial needs has spanned several generations reaching new heights in 1996 with the creation of OceanFirst Foundation. Made possible by a one-time endowment of $13.4 million approved by OceanFirst Bank depositors, OceanFirst Foundation provides grants to organizations that meet community needs within the OceanFirst Bank footprint. Through the Foundation, hundreds of local charities and schools have received more than $39 million in grants to enrich lives in areas such as Housing, Youth Development and Education, Improving the Quality of Life, Health and Wellness, and the Arts.

Click here to learn more about the OceanFirst Foundation.

Orton Family Foundation

The Orton Family Foundation’s mission is to empower people to shape the future of their communities by improving local decision-making, creating a shared sense of belonging, and ultimately strengthening the social, cultural and economic vibrancy of each place. The foundation is focused on building stronger, healthier and more economically vibrant small cities and towns across America.

Founded in Vermont in 1995, the foundation devoted more than a decade to working with small towns to create Community Heart & Soul® a model that helps build trust and empowers residents to shape the future of their communities. Community Heart & Soul projects are underway across the country creating positive change that is resident-driven and recognizes the value in the unique character of each place and the deep emotional connection of the people who live there.

Click here to learn more about the Orton Family Foundation and its Community Heart & Soul model.

PSEG Foundation

The PSEG Foundation, the 501(c)(3) philanthropic arm of Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (PSEG) (NYSE:PEG), prioritizes investments in the environment, safety, STEM education & workforce development, diversity & inclusion, and the communities served by PSEG. Headquartered in Newark, New Jersey, PSEG is a diversified energy company with approximately 13,000 employees. In 2019, PSEG was named one of Forbes’ Best Employers for Diversity. In addition, PSEG was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America for the 12th consecutive year in 2019 and received a Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index 2018 rating of 100 percent.

Click here to learn more about the PSEG Foundation.

Wells Fargo Regional Community Development Corporation​

The Wells Fargo Regional Community Development Corporation (CDC) makes investments to nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses for select ventures that are designed to promote community and economic development opportunities to improve the quality of life for children and families living in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. The work of the Wells Fargo Regional CDC is closely aligned to the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation which invests resources in comprehensive, neighborhood-based economic and community development initiatives within the same geographic area.

Click here to learn more about the Wells Fargo Regional Community Development Corporation.