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The Mellon Foundation, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart Help Grow the NJ Arts and Culture Recovery Fund

originally published: 09/17/2020

The Mellon Foundation, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart Help Grow the NJ Arts and Culture Recovery Fund

More than $2 million has been raised by the New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund to help ensure the survival of the state’s economically devastated arts and cultural sector. Arts and culture are big business in New Jersey, and central to the success of communities statewide. From economic revitalization and jobs, to fostering dialogue and unity in the face of social and racial injustice, the arts and culture are critical tools for action and change.

In recognition of the Fund’s commitment to an equitable recovery, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has made an unprecedented $500,000 grant to help bolster the Fund and ensure broad access. To help incentivize more giving, $150,000 is designated as a challenge grant, meaning donors who give toward the match can double the impact of their dollars.

“We’re firmly committed to supporting New Jersey’s artistic community, and to alleviating the financial devastation experienced by too many of the state’s arts and culture organizations,” said Foundation President Elizabeth Alexander. “We’re proud to join in partnership with the Colberts and Stewarts in leading the effort to expand this critical Fund.”

“The support of the Mellon Foundation is remarkable, and we’re grateful for their tremendous commitment to the arts and culture nationwide,” said Jeremy Grunin, President of the Grunin Foundation and Co-Chair of NJACRF. “A fund like this gets off the ground because a diverse group of funders comes together and accepts the challenge. We simply cannot do the work we need to do on our own.”

In their latest show of support for their home state, late night stars, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, have stepped up to help the industry which is reeling from closures, cancellations and layoffs caused by the pandemic.



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“We’re watching hundreds of organizations and thousands of artists suffer, while many of them are still creating content for free to help us get through this strange time of isolation and uncertainty,” said Colbert.

His wife, Evelyn McGee Colbert who serves on Governor Murphy’s Restart and Recovery Commission, added “Stephen and I know the value of a creative outlet – for ourselves, for our families, and for our community – and we can’t take for granted that this industry will survive without our help. Every contribution makes a difference.”

Stephen and Evelyn Colbert, together with their friends Jon and Tracey Stewart, have pledged a combined gift of $100,000 that will go toward meeting the $1 million challenge posed by the NJ Pandemic Relief Fund last month, essentially doubling the value of their gift.

“This generous support is a great example of Jersey for Jersey in action,” said Sharnita C. Johnson, Arts Program Director at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and Co-Chair of NJACRF. “We’re a small but mighty state, home to so many artistic and creative leaders. One thing we all have in common is our unshakeable belief that this industry is worth saving.”

NJACRF is hosted by the Princeton Area Community Foundation, and Co-Chaired by Jeremy Grunin of the Grunin Foundation and Sharnita C. Johnson of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. In addition to Grunin and Dodge, the NJACRF’s Steering Committee includes representatives from the Prudential FoundationStone Foundation of NJ, and E. J. Grassmann Trust, all contributors to the Fund, as well as the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and New Jersey Historical Commission. The fund is also generously supported by the NJ Pandemic Relief Fund, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and a growing list of donors.

For more information visit www.NJArtsCulture.org. Make a gift to the fund here.


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