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The Corella & Bertram F. Bonner Foundation, Inc.


Last Updated: 2016-05-11

At A Glance

The Corella & Bertram F. Bonner Foundation, Inc.

10 Mercer St.

Princeton, NJ United States 08540-6808

Telephone: (609) 924-6663


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2015-06-30)

Assets: $43,367,699

Total giving: $901,070






Established in 1981 in NJ; reactivated in 1989 - Bertram Bonner, was born in 1899 in Brooklyn, New York. At the early age of 22, after putting himself through college at night, Mr. Bonner was named Head Treasurer for Heda Green Banks. As Head Treas. he made many loans to New York builders, which inspired him to become involved in the real estate business. His career spanned six decades and can be credited with the building of more than 30,000 homes and apartments. Corella Bonner, like her husband, was born into poverty in the town of Eagan, TN. As a fourteen-year-old, Corella Allen, along with her mother, sought opportunity in the northern city of Detroit. Arriving penniless, the young Allen soon found work as a cashier at a cafeteria, attended Wayne State University at night, and made sure that her younger siblings went to school. She worked her way up from cashier to manager and was eventually transferred to the Statler chain's New York hotel. It was there she met Bertram Bonner. They were married, four years later, in 1942. The Bonners' involvement in community service emanated from their early work providing food for destitute families in Fort Lauderdale, where the Bonner family lived. When the Bonners moved in 1956 to Princeton, NJ they began a broad-based ecumenical crisis ministry program housed in the Nassau Presbyterian Church. In 1990, after working with John Stevenson, Pres. of Berea college, Bertram and Corella established the first Bonner Scholars Program at Berea College. Mr. Bonner passed away in May of 1993. Mrs. Bonner, however, continued her work at the foundation until her death in July 2002

Purpose and Activities

Through sustained partnerships with colleges and congregations, the foundation seeks to improve the lives of individuals and communities by helping meet the basic needs of nutrition and educational opportunity. Support primarily for higher education institutions and local anti-poverty and anti-hunger organizations.

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Bonner Program

The Bonner Scholar Program operates in 24 institutions of higher learning located in 12 states in the Southeast and the Midwest, the foundation supports up to 1,500 Bonner Scholars who receive four-year community service scholarships. It is designed to heighten the overall education a Scholar receives by asking students to engage in ongoing service work and helping them develop the tools and the knowledge necessary to make that work meaningful and lasting. In 1997, the Bonner Foundation began an effort to expand their model of service-based scholarships to additional institutions. The foundation currently works with more than 50 institutions that have created Bonner Leader Programs that follow the same approach as the Bonner Scholar Program, with the student stipends provided through Federal or institutional work-study and other financial aid funds. Each participating campus has a core group of 20-100 student members who commit to completing the required hours of community service during the school year and summer. The Bonner students work in issues such as improving educational opportunities and fighting hunger through community programs that focus on literacy issues, mentoring, and nutrition/anti-hunger initiatives. These students also participate in regular training and reflection activities sponsored by their campuses, their community partners, and the Bonner Foundation. The foundation does not accept applications for either program.

Crisis Ministry Program

The program supports congregations and other community-based organizations in their response to hunger and poverty in their local communities. The foundation's focus is on working with and supporting faith-based initiatives addressing both the needs of the hungry and the root causes of that hunger. Programs supported are actively involved in addressing the underlying causes of their clients' hunger and are located in economically and socially disadvantaged communities primarily in New Jersey. The foundation is not inviting new proposals for funding but will continue to support those organizations with whom it has maintained a long-term partnership.

Fields of Interest

  • Basic and emergency aid
  • Christianity
  • Education
  • Food aid
  • Higher education
  • Human services
  • Philanthropy
  • Religion
  • Undergraduate education
  • Voluntarism
Population Groups
  • Academics
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Ethnic and racial groups
  • Low-income and poor people

Financial Data

Year ended 2015-06-30

Assets: $43,367,699 (market value)

Gifts received: $127,629

Expenditures: $1,932,096

Total giving: $901,070

Qualifying distributions: $901,070