In 1988, Florence Schumann and her children created the Schumann Fund for New Jersey to continue the lifelong philanthropy of Mrs. Schumann and her husband, John. The Schumann Fund for New Jersey traces its roots to the Florence and John Schumann Foundation.
Florence Ford and John Schumann settled in Montclair soon after they married in 1917. During their forty-seven year marriage, they amassed a considerable fortune, combining inherited wealth from Florence Ford’s father, one of the founders
of the IBM Corporation, with John Schumann’s business success, which culminated with his
presidency of the General Motors Acceptance
Corporation. Committed to sharing their good
fortune with their community, Mr. and Mrs. Schumann gave their time and money to local charities. In 1961, they set up a private foundation —the Florence and John Schumann Foundation —to formalize their philanthropy, and to ensure
that it would continue after their deaths.
The foundation’s first grants went to Mountainside Hospital, and much of its early work focused on health and education in the Montclair area.
In the years following John Schumann’s death in 1964, the Schumann children brought a few trusted friends into the Foundation, along with professional management. The trustees added a third area of funding, community development, to support organizations in New Jersey’s cities that work to reverse the social consequences of poverty and deprivation. Most of these grants went to organizations within Essex County, continuing a commitment to the community in which the Schumanns lived.
During the 1980’s, the Foundation widened its scope to include international relations and
public policy as key issues, while still retaining a significant focus on social services and community development in Essex County. These disparate
missions called for separate selection and
evaluation processes, and in 1988, Florence Schumann and her children created the Schumann Fund for New Jersey to carry on the philanthropic tradition of Florence and John Schumann. The Foundation then moved completely into the national arena.
Family members continued their involvement with the Florence and John Schumann Foundation, now reconstituted as the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy. A separate board of New Jersey residents serves as trustees of the Schumann Fund for New Jersey. That board has designated early childhood development, environmental protection, and statewide public policy, with a special focus on school innovation, as grantmaking priorities for the fund. The Fund makes grants throughout New
Jersey. Social-service grants are generally made only to organizations serving Essex County.