New Jersey Recovery Fund Guidelines

The New Jersey Recovery Fund guidelines reflect the Fund's mission to support catalytic ideas and projects with an emphasis on collaboration, innovation, resiliency and sustainability as New Jersey recovers from Hurricane Sandy. 

The application process is now closed.  

1. Public Information and Engagement: The Hurricane Sandy Inform and Engage Fund

The Hurricane Sandy Inform and Engage Fund is a dedicated portion of the New Jersey Recovery Fund. It recognizes the vital role that reliable, accessible news and information plays in the health and well-being of New Jersey’s communities. The Fund will support projects that inform and engage the public on the issues New Jersey faces as it recovers from Hurricane Sandy.

Funding will support projects and initiatives that address one or more of the following:

  • Provide ongoing local, nonprofit digital media coverage of the post-Hurricane Sandy recovery. Preference will go to projects creatively including citizens, encouraging them to get involved with the news and information process, and in the community decision-making and recovery process;
  • Increase municipal information and engagement efforts. Preference will go to long-range projects establishing ongoing digital platforms for local government, educational or nonprofit groups. Projects should promote information sharing, transparency, and community participation in local decision-making;
  • Provide high-quality accountability reporting of federal, state and private recovery spending. Preference will go to coverage that is both revealing and solution-oriented, providing easy-to-access digital information and data, as well as public participation;
  • Encourage collaboration between media outlets and local leaders to increase input on recovery issues. Preference will be given to projects leading to a broad public understanding of the policy issues, challenges and potential solutions.

Overall preferences: Preference will be given to partnerships and content collaborations, projects including entire communities, projects that serve traditionally underserved audiences, projects that make their work available under a Creative Commons license, and projects that innovate by adapting existing technologies.

Here are examples of existing technologies: The Public Insight Network signs up volunteers to be sources for news stories and coverage ideas. Document Cloud allows for easy digital publication and annotation of public documents. Change by Us encourages citizen ideas for solving local problems. Community PlanIt uses game mechanics to engage citizens in local planning matters.

Eligibility: Applicants are not required to be based in New Jersey.

Donor Transparency: Grantees agree to post to their websites the names and amounts from donors who give more than $5,000 to the media project funded by the Inform and Engage Fund.

2. Reframing the Conversation: Policy Reform to Support Resiliency and Sustainability

New Jersey and the region face a long road to recovery. Decisions made now about investments in rebuilding and replacement of homes, businesses and public infrastructure should aim to minimize vulnerability to future natural disasters and promote long-term community and natural systems resiliency and sustainability.

The New Jersey Recovery Fund will provide grants for coalitions, advocacy, community organizing, and research/data/tools that:

  • Build consensus around best practices;
  • Advance public policy reform at the local, state, county, regional, and federal levels;
  • Promote transparency in decision making and coordination of public funding;
  • Foster cross sector participation and involve diverse stakeholders, including traditionally underserved communities;
  • Gather and synthesize data and develop tools that advance policy and practice reform.

Eligibility: Applicants should be based in New Jersey or partner with a New Jersey nonprofit organization or municipality.

3. Innovative Community/Regional Planning

Communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy face a multitude of issues related to recovery and rebuilding, often with limited capacity and resources needed to effectively balance the pressure to recreate what was lost while reducing vulnerability to future storm events. A portion of the New Jersey Recovery Fund will be directed toward increasing local/regional capacity for visioning and planning that will infuse long-term resiliency and sustainability in community rebuilding and recovery, and that can serve as a demonstration to others and advance best practices.

Funding will be directed toward specific communities/regions, and priority will be given to projects that:

  • Are led and supported by teams made up of professionals, nonprofit organizations and local/regional decision makers committed to a participatory process and a willingness to lead their communities through potentially difficult decisions;
  • Include broad community/citizen participation;
  • Address a comprehensive array of community issues and priorities including: arts and creative placemaking, environmental protection and restoration, public health, housing, public infrastructure investments, and long term economic resiliency;
  • Involve local media, and improve community information and engagement;
  • Support and train local/regional staff and leaders to implement plans and projects, and identify and access funding opportunities and expertise.

Overall preferences: Preference will be given, but is not limited, to communities that are in the following designated regions/watersheds: coastal communities, Delaware Bay, Raritan Bay, Meadowlands, or urban centers; communities that are traditionally underserved, predominantly working/middle class populations, with a high percentage of impacted locally-owned businesses and a majority of primary residences.

Eligibility: Applicants should be based in New Jersey or partner with a New Jersey nonprofit organization or municipality.

4. Environmental Protection and Restoration Projects

The protection and restoration of natural systems and environmental infrastructure is essential to the long-term health, prosperity and resiliency of New Jersey and its communities.

A portion of the New Jersey Recovery Fund will be directed to projects that showcase and demonstrate environmental protection and restoration as a resiliency strategy, including:

  • Green infrastructure solutions to storm water management and neighborhood flooding;
  • Restoration of critical wildlife habitat, stream banks, wetlands, riparian corridors, and natural areas;
  • Improvements to public access to open space;
  • Research, modeling and data collection to prioritize and inform projects.

Overall preferences: Priority will be given to projects in the Delaware Bayshore, Raritan Bay, Meadowlands, coastal region, Pinelands, Barnegat Bay, and urban centers.

Eligibility: Applicants should be based in New Jersey or partner with a New Jersey nonprofit organization or municipality.

5. Community Driven/Participatory Arts Projects

As neighborhoods and communities deal with displacement, blight, and difficult decisions about reconstruction, the arts and creativity can play a valuable role in community healing and revitalization.

A portion of the New Jersey Recovery Fund will be available to support community healing and recovery through arts and creative expression, and projects that include one or more of the following will be considered for funding:

  • Public art that promotes neighborhood improvement and community healing in the wake of Hurricane Sandy;
  • Poetry, storytelling, exhibitions and performances;
  • Participation and engagement of school-aged children;
  • Public art as part of environmental restoration efforts.

Overall preferences: Priority will be given to projects in communities severely impacted by the storm.

Eligibility: Applicants should be based in New Jersey or partner with a New Jersey nonprofit organization or municipality.


The Fund also will make targeted grants for Community Development and Capacity Building and Health Services on an invitation only basis. We will not be accepting applications for these grants.