Northern New Jersey Community Foundation Names Executive Director

Blanusa headshot
Mary Blanusa, Photo Credit: Joe Craig Photography

(Hackensack, New Jersey; June 1, 2020) – The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation (NNJCF), a nonprofit organization headquartered in Hackensack, New Jersey, announces the appointment of Mary Blanusa as the organization’s Executive Director.  Blanusa, a resident of Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, comes to NNJCF with 20 years’ experience in nonprofit and philanthropic leadership focused on education, community development, community organizing and advocacy.

“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.  “Upon joining the foundation, she was confronted with the coronavirus pandemic and responded immediately to the community’s escalating needs by establishing our COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund. We look forward to her bringing this same resourcefulness and creative energy to the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation’s post COVID regional economic recovery and job creation initiatives.”

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.

She has lived in northern New Jersey for most of her life in and is active member of the community in Hasbrouck Heights.   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.

About Northern New Jersey Community Foundation
The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization based in Hackensack, New Jersey, focuses primarily on civic engagement, philanthropy, education, the environment, public health, and the arts.  NNJCF works with local governments, school districts, businesses, non-profit organizations, and citizen groups in northern New Jersey to improve community life.  The Foundation’s partners identify and resolve regional problems and opportunities by talking and learning from each other, by sharing ideas, best practices, services, and resources.  For more information, visit, send an email to, or call 201-568-5608.

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