FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The following are frequently asked questions and answers outlining the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation's grantmaking process, guidelines and eligibility requirements.
Where can I find information related to Dodge's strategic plan?
In June 2018, the Dodge Foundation adopted a new vision for the future centered on equity with a revised mission, values, a new equity definition, goals, and a strategic plan to guide us. We are proud that from this process emerged our vision for an equitable New Jersey through our support of creative, engaged, sustainable communities. You can click here to learn more and read the plan.
How does Dodge define equity?
For Dodge, equity means aligning our resources to address historical, institutional, and structural impediments so that New Jerseyans of all races and communities have what is needed to realize a quality life.
The Foundation supports achieving equity in its many different forms, including but not limited to income, race, gender, disability, and neighborhood. This phase of our work places an emphasis on people and communities of color, and yet equity requires the inclusion of all people and organizations. Therefore, our strategies and processes will include and benefit all of New Jersey and will change and evolve over time.
How will this new vision impact Dodge's program areas?
Following the development of our strategic plan, Dodge entered a deep learning and review process to begin to define how the majority of Dodge’s grantmaking would benefit under-resourced and under-represented communities and we developed new equity theories of change for each of our program areas — Arts, Education, Environment, Informed Communities, and Poetry.
How do equity theories of change impact current grantees?
Dodge has been in transition over the past four years. Throughout this time, most of our grantees have continued to receive funding under our existing guidelines. We know to achieve equity we will need to do things differently. Pursuant to our new program theories of change, we will devote energy and resources to support communities and work centered on equity with both new and current grantees.
Honoring our value of respect and our relationship with grantees, we expect that changes will take place over time as we continue to learn and build new relationships. We recognize that different funding decisions may impact our current and past longtime funding relationships and potentially destabilize organizations or program delivery. Therefore, we strive to be deliberate and transparent as we respectfully phase out grants that are not in keeping with our emerging strategies.
In 2020, current grantees may reapply for funding under existing guidelines.
Is Dodge accepting letters of inquiry or new proposals?
In 2020, Dodge is not accepting letters of inquiry or unsolicited proposals, although program staff may invite new proposals in alignment with new strategies.
Over the next three years, Dodge will continue to review and adapt our current guidelines and processes to meet our equity goals.
How much funding is available?
We provide about $9 million in annual grants focused on supporting innovation, collaboration and community-driven decision-making across our program areas: Arts, Education, Environment and Informed Communities. Grant amounts vary depending on a broad set of factors. Whenever possible, program staff will meet or speak on the phone with organizations before the proposal deadline to offer guidance on the proposal scope.
What are some of the areas that Dodge does not support?
For effective focus of the Foundation’s resources, we do not support 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.
Must my organization be a 501(c)(3)?
Our grants are currently limited to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. Except for Foundation-based initiatives, we do not make direct awards to individuals.
Does Dodge have a geographic focus?
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 do not fund projects outside of New Jersey.
What else do you look for in organizations you support?
Organizations must demonstrate they have:
- The administrative and financial capacity to achieve and assess the stated goals of the proposal;
- Be led by an effective and professional, fulltime paid staff
- Have a high-functioning board, with an expectation of 100 percent 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 complementary issues.
What types of funding do you provide?
We care deeply about the long-term health and sustainability of New Jersey’s nonprofit sector and provide both general operating support as well as project-specific support.
What are some reasons Dodge might decline an online inquiry or grant proposal?
Applying for funding is a highly competitive process. We receive several hundred online inquiries and proposals each year, and submitting an inquiry 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 online inquiries that duplicate work we are already funding.
What information do I need to submit a grant proposal?
In addition to a completed application, organizations must submit a list of names and affiliations of Trustees, organization budgets, audits and other criteria. Current grantees also submit a report for the previous year’s grant.
Does the application process require site visits?
Typically, yes. Program staff will contact organizations to set up a site visit when necessary. Site visits generally last about two hours and often include visiting programs (e.g. artistic performances, after-school programs, etc.). Occasionally, site visits are conducted by phone.
How do you notify organizations they will not receive funding?
Applicants with inquiries that are declined get notified by email with a brief, personalized explanation for the declination.
We are having trouble submitting the online inquiry or grant proposal. Who should we contact for assistance?
If you experience technical difficulties while submitting your application, please contact Hesham Tamraz, director of technology. If you have general questions about applying, please contact Marisa Benson, grants manager.