Announcing $2.6 Million in New Grants
At the first board meeting of the year, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Trustees approved 57 grants totaling $2,692,000 to nonprofit organizations whose work in the arts, education, environment and informed communities impact citizens throughout the state for a better New Jersey.
“While the tone and tenor of the national debate on issues and legislation of the day are still rancorous and polarized, a bright spot is how New Jersey residents are becoming more engaged with each other and with their communities,” said Chris Daggett, Dodge Foundation president and CEO. “In these uncertain times, it is important for nonprofits and the philanthropic sector to think creatively and work together to give voice and agency to all residents in our communities, especially the most marginalized. Dodge remains committed to investments in New Jersey that have community impact, that deepen the connections between individuals and institutions, and that increase civic engagement.”
Highlights of grants awarded at the Trustees’ March board meeting are below. We invite you to explore full details about all of the grants in our online grants database.
In Arts, Dodge awarded 30 grants totaling $972,500 to advance community arts, dance, music, theater, and visual arts. Six grants totaling $220,000 are in the program’s Connecting Community and the Arts focus area.
These include a grant to ValleyArts to support its efforts to enliven the Orange and West Orange neighborhood known as “The Valley,” through affordable housing for artists, arts activities at two community venues, and entrepreneurship opportunities for artists and other creatives. Another grant supports The Center for Community Arts, a community arts organization working to expose residents and others to Cape May’s rich African American history through educational programming, walking tours, music, and visual arts.
“These organizations lead inclusive, collaborative efforts in their communities that seek to engage residents, tourists, artists, and youth in creative opportunities and the exploration of important issues,” said Sharnita C. Johnson, arts program director. “They exemplify the ways in which arts and culture organizations can position themselves as essential community development elements that spur economic development and housing and raise the quality of life for all.”
In Environment, Dodge awarded 23 grants totaling $1,355,000 to advance watershed protection, urban greening, and food system development. A grant to The Trust for Public Land supports land conservation in priority watershed regions like the Highlands, as well as urban park development in Newark. NY/NJ Baykeeper is among waterkeeper organizations awarded grants for work that uses science to inform citizen advocacy and advance public policy aimed at protecting our waterways.
“New Jersey’s sustainability and prosperity are linked closely with the quality of our land and water resources, yet the state’s natural resources and ecosystems are under increasing threat from development, pollution, and climate change,” said Margaret Waldock, environment program director. “We believe that community- and watershed-scale conservation and restoration that informs and engages the public and decision-makers can influence public policy and practice to protect the environment.”
In Education, Dodge awarded a $309,500 grant to Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship for continued support of the New Jersey Teacher Fellowship Program, part of a multi-year commitment by Dodge and other funders to improve how teachers are prepared for the classroom at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, and across all subject matter areas.
Through its flagship Technical Assistance program and other initiatives, including support of organizations working in its hometown of Morristown, Dodge awarded more than $55,000 in additional grants this round. A grant to the Center for Non-Profits supports the organization’s advocacy, public information, and educational activities to, and on behalf of, New Jersey's non-profit community.
“The Dodge Foundation’s support to organizations that provide capacity building to our grantees help the larger nonprofit community,” said Wendy Liscow, technical assistance director. “These organizations, like the Center for Non-Profits, help nonprofit leaders and staff sustain their energy and build the marathon-level stamina required to thrive in the ever-changing sector.”
A grant to Grow It Green Morristown supports the organization’s mission to create sustainable farms and gardens that provide equal access to fresh, local food and educate communities through programs focused on healthy eating and environmental stewardship.