Grant Guidelines

2014 Grant Guidelines

The Dodge Foundation’s 2014 guidelines reflect a continuing evolution of our grantmaking in the areas of the Arts, Education, Environment and Media. We take an active interest in Public Policy initiatives as well, particularly as they support our areas of focus.

Funding priority will be given to applicants who meet multiple criteria, either under a single category or across all of the Foundation’s guidelines.

Though we are open to the best thinking and models anywhere that might be applied to the challenges we face in New Jersey, our focus is on funding organizations based here, as well as projects with a direct and substantial impact on this state. We invite proposals for general operating or project-specific support from organizations that:


Pursue and demonstrate the highest standards of artistic excellence in the performing and visual arts; enhance the cultural health and richness of New Jersey communities; inspire learning and understanding; and contribute to our state's creative economy.

We strive to fulfill this vision for the Arts in New Jersey by funding organizations that:

  • Provide opportunities for meaningful connections between people and art within their communities, and partner with others to expand the inclusiveness and the impact of the arts;
  • Use the arts to revitalize communities, public places and natural spaces;
  • Commit to creative and economic opportunities for New Jersey artists;


Arts Education:

We believe a multi-pronged strategy is needed to fulfill the promises of a comprehensive arts education agenda.  Strong policies, nonprofit arts organizations and program models, as well as creative principals and teachers are essential.  To that end the Dodge Foundation provides general operating and program support to nonprofit organizations that:

  • Partner with  school districts in developing sustainable  arts education strategic plans;
  • Offer high-quality, sequential model arts education programs that accelerate a district’s or school’s  arts education strategy;
  • Offer specialized, high-level arts training to help talented low-income students develop their artistic skills or pursue a career in the arts;
  • Provide professional development for teachers and for “creativity teams” of principals, art specialists and other classroom teachers to collaboratively integrate the arts and the artistic process with the Common Core  State Standards and science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) curricula and programs;
  • Improve how New Jersey schools of education prepare teachers to include innovative arts education and arts integration training for all  teachers, including teachers of non-arts subjects; and
  • Work to advance arts education policies and/or provide research and data that demonstrates the impact and value of arts education practices.  

Educational Leadership:

Talented, committed school leaders and teachers are key to  successful schools and student academic success.  Therefore we make select investments that:

  • Improve the systems that prepare new teachers for their careers and incorporate a more robust clinical experience;
  • Provide access to steady and quality professional development opportunities; and
  • Advance the leadership role of principals and superintendents to improve student learning.


Achieve ecosystem resilience and environmentally healthy, sustainable communities in New Jersey; connect people to their natural world; and build an environmental ethic of care and responsibility.

We strive to fulfill this vision for the Environment in New Jersey by funding organizations that:

  • Increase the quality, function and public accessibility of watersheds through land preservation, resource management, and stewardship;
  • Focus on urban greening, particularly through community-led design and decision making;
  • Help develop regional food systems, including rural-to-urban farming connections and urban food market development.


Use traditional and new media to educate the public and promote participation in issues of importance to New Jersey and its citizens.

We strive to fulfill this vision for Media in New Jersey by funding organizations that:

  • Provide high quality, New Jersey-focused news across multiple platforms;
  • Seek ambitious, innovative and collaborative reporting opportunities, with an emphasis on investigative reporting;
  • Actively engage traditionally underserved audiences with relevant news and information;
  • Encourage meaningful, ongoing civic dialogue and community participation;
  • Inform and educate the public about issues related to the Foundation's priority funding areas.


Support timely public policymaking efforts that impact New Jersey.

We strive to fulfill this vision for Public Policy in New Jersey by funding organizations that:

  • Advance policymaking, advocacy campaigns, and systemic reforms related to the Foundation's priority funding areas;
  • Inform or stimulate public policy debates, civic participation in the political process, and/or transparency in government programs and policymaking.


In order to be eligible for funding, an organization must:

  • Be a 501(c)(3) organization that makes its home in or has a significant impact on New Jersey;
  • Demonstrate that it has the administrative and financial capacity to achieve and assess the stated goals of the proposal;
  • Be led by an effective and professional, paid staff;
  • Have a high-functioning board, with an expectation of 100% of its trustees making an annual personal contribution;
  • Strive to make connections with other organizations, especially Dodge grantees, working in the same community or on the same issues.


For effective focus of the Foundation’s resources, it is necessary to exclude from consideration such major categories of funding as higher education, health, religion and film. In addition, support for capital projects, equipment purchases, and endowment funds all are outside of our guidelines. Except for Foundation-based initiatives, we do not support scholarship funds or make direct awards to individuals.

Applying for funding is a highly competitive process. We receive several hundred Letters of Inquiry and proposals each year, and submitting an LOI or a proposal which falls within our guidelines does not guarantee that we will either request or fund a proposal from your organization. Due to limited resources, we look for projects and programs that will demonstrate excellence and leverage other work we are currently supporting. In addition to the restrictions we list above, we frequently decline Letters of Inquiry that duplicate work we are already funding.

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