Initiated by George R. Harris, Esq. and funded by Mrs. Katharine Russell Lyman and Mrs. Edmund R. Stearns, The Montclair Foundation was created in April 1979. The founders, who were shortly joined by Mrs. Virginia Sawtelle, supported worthy non-for-profit organizations in the Montclair community. The organization was patterned after other successful community foundations, such as the New York Community Trust. The founders soon joined with other concerned Montclair individuals to form a Board of Trustees. One of the prime purposes of the board is to review and choose wisely the nonprofit organizations and programs to be aided by grants from income earned by The Foundation on its capital. At the same time, the Trustees share in overseeing the prudent management of the resources accumulated through gifts and bequests. All board members have committed themselves to make regular capital contributions to the organization so that the fund will grow each year.

One of the first grants made by The Foundation was to the Montclair Fire Department to purchase a “Jaws of Life” extricator for use in vehicular accidents. The Foundation over the years has supported more than 70 community nonprofits and has given in excess of $2,000,000 in grants. For a complete listing, please refer to the Grants tab.

In 1993, the heirs of Howard Van Vleck donated the Van Vleck home and six-acre property to The Montclair Foundation to be preserved for public enjoyment. At that time, the Board of Trustees undertook an additional responsibility: that of the prudent oversight and preservation of this house and property. The Van Vleck house is available for use by not-for-profit organizations, and the gardens are open to the public 365 days a year, free of charge. The house and gardens are managed by a separate committee of The Montclair Foundation and operations are funded by contributions from Members of Van Vleck, fundraisers, income from a separate Green Acres Endowment Fund managed by The Montclair Foundation, and grants from The Montclair Foundation.

The Montclair Foundation Environs Fund is an ideal vehicle for those who care about Montclair to share in a lasting legacy of philanthropy. We welcome gifts to the Foundation – either directly or through trusts or bequests – and appreciate all those who support our tradition of giving.

Serving as the liaison between Montclair charitable causes and the dollars that support those causes, The Foundation ensures that the gifts of caring, supportive donors are prudently managed and effectively used to better the community. The Foundation preserves and invests all dollars that are entrusted to it. After careful study, income from The Foundation’s investments are distributed semiannually by the Foundation Board to worthy organizations that have applied for support.


Any donation you give will help improve our community and build capacity – making an impact in the world.

Apply For Grants

Are you in need of financial support for your non-profit organization in Montclair, NJ? Apply for a grant today to see if you qualify.