Jay and Linda Grunin met at NYU School of Law, where they were classmates, and immediately knew that they were meant for each other. Jay likes to think that being an Editor of the Law Review helped him gain Linda’s attention as she was one of only 10 females in their class of 300, and had her pick of suitors (“she was very cute also”).
Jay and Linda were married and began to practice law in a then little town on the Jersey Shore called Toms River.
As Ocean County became the fastest growing county in the state, Jay and Linda’s law practice thrived. They had become respected attorneys in the County primarily due to their work ethic, moral approach to the law, and ability to relate to their clients’ needs.
While the practice continued to grow, Jay and Linda expanded their business interests to include real estate and other investments. Each business decision was a true 50/50 partnership requiring unanimous approval. That has remained a constant from day one.
Jay and Linda retired from the day to day law practice to concentrate full time on their two greatest passions — investing and philanthropy.
Jeremy Grunin, Jay and Linda’s only child, returned home to Toms River, with his wife Laura and their three children, to assist his parents with their business investments and philanthropic endeavors. They soon began to formalize their philanthropic activities. The key driving principal guiding the Foundation’s efforts in the first three years was to make Toms River a regional template for the arts, education and healthcare.
Tara Cunningham was hired as the first Executive Director of the Foundation to begin the formalized process of strategic development. Under her leadership, the Foundation created a strategic plan for the next three years, realizing it had a unique opportunity to increase citizen activity and economic development through the arts, healthcare and education.
Kelly Fliller, Director of Communications, was brought on board to begin a new stage of far-reaching and systems changing impact.
Jaclyn Rodemann was hired as the Office Manager and manages the day-to-day operations of the Foundation.
In 2017, Tara Cunningham left the Foundation to pursue her passion of bringing disability inclusion to a global stage.
Heather Barberi was brought on as the new Executive Director in October of 2017. She was previously the Executive Director of the Ocean County College Foundation. Heather is moving the Foundation forward with its mission and vision of making the Central Jersey Shore region a magnet in the Northeast for active citizens who want to enjoy arts and culture, push social innovation, and pursue cutting-edge business strategies.