Dodge Foundation Announces Major, Multimillion-Dollar Grants

December 19, 2022

participants at a youth event.
Participants at a youth engagement event at the Zion Lutheran Church in Rahway with Faith in NJ, a partner organization of the Dodge Foundation focused on developing grassroots community leaders to root out structural racism in the state’s largest systems. Photo via Faith in NJ

See grants listed on our website.

In our most recent round of funding, the Dodge Foundation made two major, multimillion-dollar grants to projects focused on power building and economic resilience. These grants, to the Racial Justice Alignment Group of Black, Indigenous, and Brown leaders and the Paterson “One Square Mile” initiative from Montclair State University, strengthen our work towards a just and equitable New Jersey. In addition to these grants, we provided support to 27 additional organizations, representing our purposeful efforts to support partners and institutions contributing to the vibrancy of our state. 

Building Power

In this cycle, we provided a $1.1M, two-year grant to the Racial Justice Alignment Group of Black, Indigenous, and Brown leaders strategizing and organizing to end structural racism.

The group began meeting in August 2020, when a core group of Black, Indigenous, and Latinx leaders came together to understand and coordinate efforts to end structural racism in New Jersey. Core parts of their success include building power with people directly impacted by structural racism, fostering and developing Black, Indigenous, and Latinx leadership in New Jersey’s racial justice movement, and advancing community-led policy solutions. With our grant, we are proud to join the founding funders, The Fund for New Jersey and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  

Through its collective efforts, the group has expanded and galvanized the field by strengthening and aligning organizing and advocacy on critical policies that impact communities of color. These priorities include the Ban the Box campaign to end housing discrimination against returning citizens, moratoriums on evictions from rentals and foreclosures during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, among others. Most importantly, the group has strengthened a people power-centered approach to building a racial justice movement in New Jersey.

Supporting Economic Resilience

Through the “One Square Mile” initiative, Montclair State University seeks to implement a hyper-local, place-based community engagement model to accelerate the revitalization of a concentrated area in Paterson, New Jersey. Through strategically organized community engagement efforts focused on a bounded area within the city of Paterson, NJ, the goal of this work is to improve equitable outcomes in health, education, and economic opportunity for the residents of Paterson through a community-led collective impact initiative. Further, Montclair will enhance its ability to form partnerships and advance community development, by connecting the resources and investments of the campus to the community in ways that foster mutually beneficial impacts.            

This project will center on the establishment of a University-Assisted Community School that will function as a “service hub.” Project partners will create a cross-sector advisory group to identify and direct additional solutions and investments beyond the Community School over the next several years. The newly established community school will provide increased access to needed wrap-around services for high school students and families in the high-need neighborhoods immediately surrounding the school. Community schools provide tremendous opportunities for learning and success. They are designed with the understanding that students from historically under-invested in communities often enter the classroom with serious socio-economic and health challenges that significantly hinder their ability to learn, explore, and develop to their fullest potential. They are community hubs that provide free healthy meals, health care, academic support interventions, mental health counseling and referral services, and other tailored services before, during, and after school for both students and families. These characteristics of a community school increase equity and support economic resilience by providing children and families with services, supports, and engagement that are often lacking in schools serving lower-income communities.

Centering Racial Equity with Imagine a New Way Partners

In our Imagine a New Way grantmaking, we have been investing in and taking guidance from networks, movements, organizations, and leaders who are closest to the harms of injustice; who have been historically excluded from investment and opportunity; and who are working to address the root cause and repair of structural racism and inequity in their work. We are proud to provide nine additional grants under this strategy to partners leading organizations and initiatives that strategically build power, dismantle systems of injustice, and strengthen economic resilience.

Many of these grants will provide our Imagine a New Way partners with a second year of funding. These grants represent our commitment to building long-term, and multiple-year, relationships with racial justice-focused partners and leaders.

  • $150,000 – ACLU of New Jersey Foundation to defend and advance New Jerseyan’s rights to equal treatment, fairness, privacy, freedom of speech, and religion through advocacy, community organizing, and education campaigns. This grant will also support their decarceration work.  
  • $100,000 – Community Foundation of South Jersey to continue their leadership, coordination, and community power- building across South Jersey.
  • $100,000 – Rising Tide Capital Inc. to support individuals in historically marginalized communities to start and grow successful businesses; to build communities through collaborations with other non-profits, higher education institutions, corporations, and public agencies; and to create a scalable program model with measurable impact that can be replicated in communities of need in New Jersey and across the U.S.
  • $100,000 – United Way of Northern New Jersey – Alice Fund to support racial and financial equity for individuals and families in poverty and those living paycheck to paycheck, known as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed).
  • $75,000 – Fair Share Housing Center to advance the organization’s work to end discriminatory or exclusionary housing patterns, policies, and practices that have prevented low- and moderate-income families from accessing affordable housing and building wealth. The organization was also a leader in coalitions advocating for housing eviction protection and utility assistance to individuals and families financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • $75,000 – New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance to support an alliance of New Jersey-based organizations and individuals working together to identify, prevent, and reduce and/or eliminate environmental injustices in communities of color and low-income communities.            
  • $50,000 – Faith in New Jersey to support its multi-faith and multi-racial network that develops grassroots community leaders and analyzes policies to root out structural racism in our state’s largest systems, along with studying and working for just policies and practices in economics and finance, policing, and law, immigration, and violence prevention.
  • $25,000 – Neighborhood Funders Group – Amplify Fund to support this donor collaborative that brings together local, regional, and national funders to advance equitable development impacting Black, Indigenous, people of color, and low-income communities and to share best practices and lessons learned for philanthropy’s role in promoting equitable development centered on racial justice.
  • $25,000 – Atlantic City Community Fund to build out and support a community-driven-and-centered funding mechanism for Atlantic City, which has a long history of racial inequity and markedly less philanthropic support than other parts of New Jersey.

Looking Ahead

We are proud to have allocated a third of our overall funding to root cause and repair-centered work across New Jersey. As we look to 2023, we are eager to further strengthen and grow our work focused on justice and equity.