(LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ) -- The New Jersey Arts and Culture Renewal Fund has awarded more than $500,000 in grants to nonprofits that will use the funds to help artists, teaching artists and history professionals recover from the financial devastation of the pandemic.
The fund, which is hosted by the Princeton Area Community Foundation, was named the New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund when it was founded in 2020. Earlier this month, the name of the fund was changed from “Recovery” to “Renewal” to signify the Fund’s support of a strong comeback for smaller arts and culture organizations and funding for a sustainable future.
“Recovery to renewal signifies a shift from crisis support to an opportunity to change the actual system itself,” said Jeremy Grunin, Co-Chair of the NJACRF and President of the Grunin Foundation. “We always knew that smaller nonprofits most vulnerable to disruptions and those historically underfunded prior to the pandemic were going to need longer-term support. The New Jersey Arts and Culture Renewal Fund will create an additional resource of fast and flexible funding that wasn’t previously available – helping to build a much stronger arts, cultural, and historical ecosystem in New Jersey.”
The grants announced on April 14, 2002 total $592,501 and will be awarded to nonprofits that will act as intermediaries, re-granting the funds to artists, teaching artists, and history professionals.
There have been fewer grant programs to help individuals than those that help organizations. The NJACRF Steering Committee made it a priority to create an opportunity for artists and history professionals to receive funding to offset the detrimental financial impact of the pandemic.
“It was important to allow arts and history organizations to create grant programs that would reach a diverse cross section of individuals,” said Lynne Toye, Executive Director of the NJARCF. “They know their communities best. Grants were awarded to organizations that could demonstrate a well-established network of artists and/or history professionals to have a broad reach.”
Bryan Beninghove, the Executive Director of Riverview Jazz and Founder of the Jersey City Jazz Festival, said his organization will re-distribute their grant funding to musicians.
"Riverview Jazz is so grateful to the New Jersey Arts and Culture Renewal Fund for giving us the opportunity to help jazz musicians in need,” he said. “These past couple of years have hit the performing arts community particularly hard, especially jazz musicians who make their living playing live. This grant has presented an amazing opportunity to allow us to help out our fellow musicians, and for that we are truly thankful."
Superior Arts Institute is especially excited about the resources their grant award will bring to the BIPOC community in the Greater Camden area, said its Executive Director, Samir Nichols.
“We are so appreciative to the New Jersey Arts and Culture Renewal Fund for this generous award,” said Nichols. “Awards like this are first steps to breaking the barrier of access to philanthropic opportunities for artists of color.”
The NJACRF funds New Jersey nonprofits whose missions focus on arts and culture, arts education, or history and whose budgets are $5 million or less. It prioritizes organizations led by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and those that have made a demonstrated commitment to Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion in their work.
The fund has raised more than $5.3 million, yet the need within the nonprofit arts, culture and history sector across the state is still great.
“I am so proud of how the NJACRF steering committee has reimagined what equity in grantmaking looks like for small arts, culture, and historical organizations,” said Sharnita C. Johnson, Co-Chair of the NJACRF and Vice President of Strategy, Impact and Communication at the Victoria Foundation. “Our steadfast commitment to stabilizing organizations most at risk and setting them up for a sustainable future ensures all communities have access to New Jersey’s cultural resources.”
Phase III grants were awarded to:
* Atlantic City Arts Foundation, Atlantic City
* South Jersey Cultural Alliance, Hammonton
* Superior Arts Institute, Camden
* Newark Arts, Newark
* Project for Empty Space, Newark
* Riverview Jazz, Jersey City
* Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania, Princeton
* Dance New Jersey, Sewaren section of Woodbridge
* Jazz Arts Project, Inc., Red Bank
* Monmouth Arts, Red Bank
* New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Allenhurst
* Art in the Atrium, Morristown
* League of Historical Societies of NJ, Bridgewater
* Peters Valley School of Craft, Layton
NJACRF is chaired by Jeremy Grunin of the Grunin Foundation and Sharnita Johnson of the Victoria Foundation. Members include the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Princeton Area Community Foundation, Prudential Foundation, Stone Foundation of NJ, E. J. Grassmann Trust, NJ State Council on the Arts, and the NJ Historical Commission. Other major donors include the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Amazon and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The New Jersey Arts and Culture Renewal Fund was created by a coalition of public and private funders to ensure the survival and strength of the state’s arts and cultural sector facing economic devastation from the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants through the NJACRF aim to catalyze an equitable statewide recovery and build cultural sector resilience with a special focus on smaller more vulnerable nonprofits hardest hit by sector disruptions. NJACRF is committed to an equity-centered grantmaking process to ensure that the funds support the organizations across the entire state, prioritizing those that operate in underserved communities. The fund was established with a lead gift from the Grunin Foundation and is hosted by the Princeton Area Community Foundation. Chaired by representatives from the Grunin Foundation and the Victoria Foundation, coalition leadership includes the Grunin Foundation, Prudential Foundation, Stone Foundation of NJ, E. J. Grassmann Trust, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, NJ State Council on the Arts, NJ Historical Commission, and specialists in statewide cultural philanthropy. Application availability, current grantees, and donation opportunities are available at www.NJArtsCulture.org.