To use the opportunity of OceanFirst Bank's public stock offering to establish a first of its kind private foundation seeded with an allocation from that offering to help families, organizations, schools and communities throughout central and southern New Jersey meet their financial needs.
When the Board of Directors and management of OceanFlrst were planning the conversion from a mutual, depositor-owned organization to a publicly owned company in 1996, they realized the transaction provided a unique opportunity to help their neighbors and community groups in a new way. With the approval of depositors, OceanFirst became the first bank in the United States to establish a private foundation in conjunction with the Bank's Initial Public Offering (IPO) of common stock ownership.
With a one-time endowment of $13.4 million in common stock of the Bank, the OceanFirst Foundation was formed to support four priorities: health and wellness Initiatives; housing programs; quality of life improvement efforts; and providing grants to organizations that meet a variety of other critical community needs within the OceanFirst Bank footprint.
Since 1996, the Foundation has provided hundreds of local charities and schools with more than $36 million in grants. Measured in lives improved and transformed, the benefits are incalculable.
OceanFirst Foundation has awarded more than 7,000 grants including:
- $2.5 million to Arts & Cultural Organizations
- $6.4 million to Improve Health and Wellness
- $2.2 million in Higher Education Scholarships that helped 1,540 students achieve the dream of a college education
- $1 million in grants to Volunteer Fire & First Aid Squads
- $1.7 million in grants to Improve Housing Options
Since OceanFirst established the Foundation, it is estimated that no less than 100 mutual conversions have followed OceanFirst's lead, mobilizing hundreds of additional millions of dollars benefiting nonprofit organizations across the country.
At the time of the IPO, the Bank's foresight to establish a precedent setting vehicle that would contribute to the communities in which we do business established a model that will continue contributing to our communities for years to come.