At its second board meeting of the year, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Trustees approved 95 grants totaling $4.5 million to nonprofit organizations working to strengthen communities in New Jersey.
“We are excited to continue our commitment to building a better New Jersey by supporting nonprofits whose leadership, creativity, and innovation never ceases to impress,” said Chris Daggett, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation president and CEO. “Throughout the state, these organizations work across sectors to create vibrancy in their communities by lifting up all voices and celebrating the artistic, natural, and other unique characteristics of their places.”
In Arts, Dodge awarded 50 grants totaling $2,015,000. A $200,000 grant to Creative New Jersey supports its community engagement programs and events that fuel creativity and collaboration between highly diverse groups of individuals as essential components of thriving communities. Founded as an initiative of the Dodge Foundation, Creative New Jersey invites leaders to reimagine their community and work collaboratively to find creative solutions.
"Creative New Jersey convenings bring together a diverse group of organizations and people across sectors and fields, empowering them to get civically engaged, giving them both a sense of agency and a sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves,” said Molly de Aguiar, Informed Communities program director.
In Education, Dodge awarded 32 grants totaling $1,467,500. A $215,000 grant to Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania supports the organization’s Creativity Incubator that offers school leaders and teachers innovative arts and arts-integration education model programs to advance teaching and learning goals. The grant also supports the development and implementation of a new sequential theater-integrated curriculum for New Jersey second through fifth grade students.
“Young Audiences has a stellar record of creating important arts education initiatives that prepare students for success in school and life,” said Wendy Liscow, Education program director. “Through their new Theater to Learn curriculum, Young Audiences will work with the New Jersey Theatre Alliance and theater companies to train teachers and teaching artists to turn classrooms into stages for creativity where students will bring reading to life and develop self-esteem they’ve never known before.”
In Environment, Dodge awarded a $370,000 grant to Sustainable Jersey, the first statewide municipal and school certification programs in the country that combine clear standards for action, robust guidance and implementation support, and a suite of incentives.
"Sustainable Jersey has mobilized hundreds of municipalities and citizen leaders in communities across the state to work together towards a more sustainable future, with a growing focus on creativity, public information and civic engagement, and resiliency actions focused on green infrastructure and coastal vulnerability," said Margaret Waldock, Environment program director. “The beauty of this program is not just that it fosters virtuous competition among those participating, but it also leverages public and private resources, as well as technical support and training to ensure local success.”
In Informed Communities, Dodge awarded six grants totaling $560,000. A $200,000 grant supports Free Press' News Voices New Jersey project, which aims to build relationships through public forums that explore how journalism can improve communities and how community members can improve local journalism. The grant also supports research and civic engagement efforts related to the FCC Broadcast Incentive Auction.
"With a rapidly changing digital news landscape and plummeting ad sales revenue, the future of local journalism depends on news organizations’ ability to reframe their work around engaging communities," de Aguiar said. "Free Press’ News Voices project is working to build an active and engaged community of consumers, advocates, and citizen journalists around the news in New Jersey and to prove the critical link between community engagement and business viability for local news organizations."
Dodge also awarded an additional $180,000 to organizations through its other initiatives, including organizations that provide technical assistance and those that work in its hometown of Morristown. A $40,000 grant to Lead New Jersey and a $25,000 grant to Leadership Newark support the two organizations’ public policy fellowship programs, which identify and develop emerging leaders throughout New Jersey. A $75,000 grant to Morristown Neighborhood House supports its high quality preschool and community educational programming to foster learning and increase academic success for a multicultural community.
The Dodge Foundation has three grantmaking cycles each year – in March, June and December, with the majority of grants for each program area made in two of those cycles.
About the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation was established in 1974 through the foresight and generosity of Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, daughter of William and Almira Rockefeller. For more than 40 years, Dodge has supported leadership, collaboration and innovation, with a focus on addressing the issues most pressing to New Jersey. Dodge also offers a comprehensive technical assistance program geared toward strengthening the capacity of New Jersey’s nonprofit community.
IMAGE from Dodge Foundation website