Announcing $5.2 Million in New Grants
At its second board meeting of the year, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Trustees approved $5.28 million in grants to nonprofit organizations whose work in the arts, education, environment, and informed communities make life better for residents and communities throughout New Jersey.
“New Jersey’s nonprofit organizations remain committed, determined, and resilient in their missions to build better communities despite the hurdles of reduced budgets, overtaxed staff, and the uncertainty of what federal policy changes might trigger,” said Chris Daggett, Dodge Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer. “These are times that demand empathy, respect for the diversity of our differences, and celebration of the humanity in our fellow neighbors. Now is the time to test bold new ventures and to work toward deeper, meaningful collaboration across sectors in pursuit of more equitable, creative, and sustainable communities.”
Dodge awarded 134 grants at the Trustees’ June board meeting, the last of the year in which grants are slated to be approved. Highlights are below, and a listing of all grants is here. We invite you to explore full details about all the grants in our online grants database.
In Arts, Dodge awarded 47 grants totaling $1,592,500. A $200,000 grant to Creative New Jersey supports programming that brings communities together to advance dialogue on pressing issues and work toward solutions through creativity, cross-sector-collaboration, and inclusion, commencing at community “Call-to-Collaboration” convenings like those recently hosted in Asbury Park and Camden.
Twelve grants totaling $486,000 support New Jersey theater organizations, including Crossroads Theatre Company in New Brunswick, Premiere Stages in Union, and Passage Theatre Company in Trenton, and help provide the much-needed capacity to invest in new work, give voice to women and diverse playwrights, and explore important social issues.
“Beyond serving as an economic engine for New Jersey and its communities, our vibrant arts and culture sector unites people of all backgrounds in moments of joy, creative expression, and learning,” said Sharnita C. Johnson, Arts program director. “New Jersey’s theaters are training grounds for actors and musicians, as well as a launch pad for work that often goes on to enjoy regional and national acclaim.”
In Education, Dodge awarded 49 grants totaling $1,641,000. A $140,000 grant to New Jersey Arts Education Partnership supports the statewide efforts to increase active participation in arts education, including the successful Arts Ed Now awareness campaign. Twelve grants totaling $654,500 support organizations championing Arts and Creativity professional development for teachers, including arts integration models offered by Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania, Foundation for Educational Administration, and William Paterson University’s School of Education.
“Nonprofits are stepping up to meet the increased needs of the students, teachers and families they serve, and they are achieving more because of strong partnerships and their natural talents for creativity,” said Wendy Liscow, Education program director. “At Dodge, we believe, and research shows, arts-infused teaching practices can ignite teachers, change classroom culture, help students deepen understanding, and retain more knowledge longer.”
In Environment, Dodge awarded 25 grants totaling $1,323,000, most of which provide general operating support to organizations focused on land and water resource protection and stewardship. These include groups serving as watch-dogs and advocates for New Jersey rivers, drinking water sources, and coastal waterways, such as Hackensack Riverkeeper, Pinelands Preservation Alliance, and Clean Ocean Action, and land conservation and stewardship organizations working to protect, restore and steward critical watershed lands, such as Natural Lands Trust, The Nature Conservancy, and D&R Greenway Land Trust.
Mobilizing local action is also a priority for Dodge’s environment program. A $370,000 grant to Sustainable Jersey will support engagement of hundreds of municipalities and schools to advance local sustainability policies and programs, and a grant of $157,500 to the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association will benefit the Watershed Institute, which provides technical support and funding to small watershed organizations throughout the state.
“Healthy land and water resources are the foundation for sustainable, healthy communities,” said Margaret Waldock, Environment program director. “We focus investments in organizations and initiatives that advance conservation and protection efforts that produce tangible outcomes for communities across the state.”
In Informed Communities, Dodge awarded seven grants totaling $555,000. A $200,000 grant to Free Press supports its News Voices: New Jersey project, which will strengthen the relationships forged among journalists, residents, and others to launch projects in communities and continue to generate support for a fund supporting community information needs. A $100,000 grant to Center for Investigative Reporting will foster collaborative investigative journalism and creative community engagement projects in the state among an increasing network of partners to encourage meaningful conversation and community participation such as those generated by its Toxic NJ project last year.
“Trust in journalism starts at the local level,” said Meghan Jambor, interim Informed Communities program officer. “News organizations that build strong partnerships and put the people they serve at the center of their reporting and storytelling produce the kind of journalism we all crave and that our democracy demands.”
Through its flagship Technical Assistance program and other initiatives, including support of organizations working in its hometown of Morristown, Dodge awarded more than $175,000 in additional grants this round. A $75,000 grant to Morristown Neighborhood House advances its mission to support learning and increased academic success of under-served Morristown youth through quality preschool, after-school and other educational opportunities. Lead New Jersey and Leadership Newark each received $20,000 to support fellows in the respective leadership programs.