Dodge Foundation Announces $2.4 Million in New Grants
The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Board of Trustees approved $2.4 million in grants to 58 nonprofit organizations dedicated to building stronger communities in New Jersey at its final meeting of the year, bringing the total amount awarded this year to more than $10.3 million.
“New Jersey’s nonprofit sector is strong and focused as ever on making people’s lives better through leadership, innovation, and collaboration,” said Chris Daggett, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation president and chief executive officer. “This year, we saw a new level of partnership and progress made in bringing communities together to find common ground and create long-lasting solutions that benefit everyone. We are privileged to invest in this work and partner with community leaders across New Jersey to overcome challenges through thoughtful, informed decision-making.”
Highlights of grants awarded at the Trustees’ December meeting are below.
In Arts, Dodge awarded $3,252,000 this year, including two grants totaling $59,500 in December. A $56,000 grant to Creative Capital Foundation supports a second cohort of New Jersey artists in career-building and professional development opportunities. The program provides training and management strategies designed to bring emerging artists to the next level in their career.
“Arts and culture are as vibrant as ever in New Jersey, and Dodge-supported grantees are leading creative work, contributing to the economy, and tackling important social issues such as the opioid crisis, disability and racism,” said Sharnita C. Johnson, arts program director. “Arts organizations in the Garden State are well-positioned to help people find meaning, purpose, and inspiration in our rapidly changing world.”
In Education, Dodge awarded $2,635,000 this year, including $720,000 in 21 grants in December. A $25,000 grant to the Community Foundation of New Jersey supports Field Trip New Jersey, a new fund to support opportunities for students in low-income communities to connect classroom learning with real-life experiences. Created in a partnership between the Community Foundation and Dodge, and supported by other New Jersey funders, Field Trip New Jersey makes it possible for schools to take new field trips to arts and culture, nature and science, and historic venues, as well as college and career-readiness trips.
A new $15,000 grant to Yendor Arts Inc., from both the Arts and Education programs, supports the Newark-based nonprofit’s Advantage Arts education program, which pairs high school and college students to build theater and social skills, and for community-based arts programming, which oversees and manages Newark’s Murals Program.
“One of the greatest privileges of my work is to visit schools and see young people share culminating performances of exceptional artistic expression after months of arts training. The growth and learning one witnesses is a testament to the imperative of arts education,” said Wendy Liscow, Education program director. “The arts teach empathy and demand critical thinking, and when teachers use the arts in their teaching practice, they provide mechanisms for students to better understand and remember what they learn, and apply what they learn to real-life situations.”
In Environment, Dodge awarded $3,302,500 this year, including $1,357,500 in 26 grants in December.
A $30,000 grant to The Nature Conservancy is project support for the Conservation Blueprint, a 40-year vision for land protection in New Jersey that clarifies conservation priorities, and coordinates activities and resources of the land conservation community. The organization is working with nonprofit conservation groups, public agencies, and academic institutions across the state to create a shared vision for the preservation and stewardship of New Jersey’s open spaces, as well as the NJ MAP platform, an easy-to-use, interactive tool that tells the stories of the importance of these places.
“Dodge support fuels conservation organizations, sustainable land use advocates, waterkeepers and restoration practitioners to do important on-the-ground conservation and watershed protection work,” said Margaret Waldock, environment program director.
“They reduce toxic inputs and clean up historically contaminated sites; open up waterways and waterfronts to communities; address flooding and polluted stormwater runoff; preserve and steward forests, farmland, riparian corridors, estuaries, and wetlands; and connect citizens to public land. Seeing their work up close makes it impossible not to feel a sense of sense of hope and optimism for a resilient future.”
In Informed Communities, Dodge awarded $740,000 this year, including five grants totaling $180,000 in December. A new $20,000 grant to New Jersey Policy Perspective supports research and strategic support related to the Federal Communications Commission Broadcast Incentive Auction, and a public education campaign to secure long-term funding from the proceeds of the auction for community news and information in New Jersey.
“Fundamentally we believe that communities in New Jersey thrive when people have access to news and information that is reliable and relevant to their lives, and when the public has a voice in important community decisions,” said Molly de Aguiar, Informed Communities program director. “In 2016 we supported collaborative projects and organizations that prioritized community engagement, accountability reporting, and creative storytelling. We also continued to support the infrastructure of local journalism, providing resources for training, networking and other opportunities for journalists in New Jersey.”
Through its flagship Technical Assistance program and other initiatives, including support of organizations working in its hometown of Morristown, Dodge awarded more than $440,000 in additional grants this year to strengthen the nonprofit sector. A $60,000 grant to Community Foundation of South Jersey awarded in December is for general operating support to increase community engagement and regional public and private sector philanthropy, to host board leadership training workshops in south Jersey; and to develop the Creative Atlantic City Community Fund. A $30,000 grant to Community Soup Kitchen and Outreach Center provides food and supportive services to the homeless and working poor.
Other highlights include:
- $70,000 to Education Law Center to support the organization’s advocacy on four key education priorities: fair school funding, school construction, preschool expansion, and standards and assessments.
- $30,000 to New Jersey Tree Foundation for general operating support to engage communities in urban forestry activities and stewardship as well as provide transitional jobs to parolees.
- $30,000 to NJTV to support the continuation of NJTV’s Ask Away initiative, which deepens connections between the community and the newsroom by inviting the public to submit questions and help NJTV investigate the answers.
- A new $35,000 grant to New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund for the Green in 2017 campaign to develop a coordinated, comprehensive policy agenda and public education campaign to make conservation a prominent issue in the 2017 New Jersey gubernatorial race and transition.
- $45,000 to Rutgers for the Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program to provide technical support to communities to adopt green infrastructure strategies and implement projects designed to improve water quality and reduce flooding.
- $40,000 to El Sistema New Jersey Alliance to connect and strengthen El Sistema-inspired programs statewide.
- A new $5,000 grant to Sphinx Organization for the Sphinx Artist Residency Program which will bring classical musicians of color to New Jersey schools and El Sistema programs.
- $210,000 to Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association for general operating support for science, advocacy, and community engagement to ensure that water is clean, safe, and healthy for communities in central New Jersey, and to support statewide watershed protection efforts through the Watershed Institute.