Dodge Foundation Announces 63 New Grants

Montclair Art Museum awarded $75,000 Dodge Foundation grant

Just like this cake, life is sweet at the Montclair Art Museum (MAM). This photo was taken at the 100th birthday party at MAM - by a very stealth reporter!

It is no surprise Montclair Art Museum has been awarded yet another prestigious grant. The Dodge Foundation just announced MAM has been awarded $75,000.
The Trustees of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation recently approved more than $2.8 million in 63 grants to arts, education, environment and media nonprofit organizations throughout New Jersey in its third and final grant cycle of the year, bringing the total amount awarded this year to nonprofits and other Dodge initiatives to more than $11 million.
“New Jersey continues to struggle with the impacts of the economic recession and the destruction from Hurricane Sandy,” said Chris Daggett, Dodge Foundation President and CEO. “A bright spot is the work our grantees are doing across the state — seizing opportunities to creatively and collaboratively re-imagine their communities through work that enlivens, engages, and informs residents.”


In 2014, Dodge awarded $3,480,000 to environment nonprofits striving to create healthy watersheds, green cities, local food networks and a broad commitment to environmental stewardship in New Jersey. Twenty-four grants totaling $1,405,000 were made in the final round.

“With emerging priority issues like resiliency and climate change, sustainability, and a growing interest in public transit oriented, walkable communities, the need for a strategic, collaborative conservation approach has never been more important to safeguard the land and water resources we rely on here in the Garden State,” said Margaret Waldock, Dodge Environment Program Director. “By directing grants to land trusts, land use planning advocates, and restoration practitioners, we support on-the-ground conservation and watershed protection initiatives to protect and restore waterways and drive regulatory and policy change through citizen engagement in stewardship and advocacy.”

In 2014, more than $2.5 million in grants was awarded to organizations that focus on protecting the natural systems that supply clean water for New Jersey residents, reducing toxic inputs and cleaning up historically contaminated sites, opening up waterways and waterfronts to communities, and addressing flooding and stormwater management issues.

During the latest cycle of grants, highlights of the $1.2 million awarded in this category include grants of $80,000 to the Hackensack Riverkeeper for monitoring, advocacy, and community engagement in the protection of the Hackensack River; $130,000 to the Pinelands Preservation Alliance for grassroots policy work focused on the protection of the New Jersey Pinelands and the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer, and $75,000 to the American Littoral Society to promote sound conservation policy and regulations, and empower citizens with science based knowledge and tools to support more sustainable coastal communities and ecosystems in New Jersey.

Additional environment grants awarded this month include: $45,000 to Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey to support educational and outreach programming and technical assistance for farmers, landowners, and consumers to support viable organic farms and a sustainable local food system; $20,000 to New Jersey Tree Foundation to engage communities in urban forestry and stewardship programs and activities; and $45,000 to GreenFaith to support interfaith eco-organizing groups.


Dodge this year awarded a total of $2,770,000 to support education nonprofits that promote the transformative power of arts education through the development of public policies and education advocacy, creation of model arts education programs, and that provide high-level training for school leaders and teachers, particularly in high-needs districts. Twenty-two grants totaling $847,000 were made during the final round.

“Every public school student in New Jersey deserves and needs a quality arts education to prepare them for 21st century careers,” said Wendy Liscow, Dodge Education Program Director. “Working with a broad-coalition of partners, we are working to change how the education system in New Jersey works by creating new models that incorporate the arts and creativity into every classroom as well as changing how we train our teachers. At a time when much attention is paid to test scores and math and reading achievement, the arts are often left out of the equation when in fact they are essential to success.”

In 2014, a total of $517,000 in grants was awarded to support the development of public policies and education advocacy that enhance the quality of educational programs and initiatives, especially arts education. Four grants totaling $152,000 made this month in this category, including $77,000 to Education Law Center to support advocacy on behalf of New Jersey's public school children for equal access to a high quality education; $50,000 to New Jersey Charter Schools Association to support its ARTer Charters program which helps charter schools develop arts education strategic plans; and $10,000 to the Trenton Public Education Foundation to support arts education strategic planning efforts with the Trenton school district.

Additional education grants awarded this month include: $85,000 to Dance New Jersey to expand the reach of the Dance To Learn curriculum; $150,000 to Foundation for Educational Administration to train school teams of administrators, classroom teachers and art teachers to improve arts offerings and develop arts-integration practices; and a new $30,000 to support the work of the El Sistema New Jersey Alliance in connecting and strengthening El Sistema music-inspired programs statewide.


Dodge this year awarded $3,403,500 in grants to arts nonprofits which pursue and demonstrate the highest standards of artistic excellence in the performing and visual arts, enhance the cultural health and richness of communities, inspire learning and understanding, and contribute to New Jersey’s creative economy. Nine grants totaling $132,500 were made in the final round.

In 2015, newly appointed Dodge Arts Program Director Sharnita C. Johnson will continue the work championed by Laura Aden Packer, who served in the role for 13 years before leaving the foundation in July. Johnson begins her role on January 20.

“Johnson’s work in her native Detroit has centered on education, health and family economic security, as well as neighborhood and youth development and the arts, which is where her real passion lies,” Daggett said. “We are looking forward with great anticipation to her joining our team and not only expanding the impact of our arts grantees but strengthening arts advocacy efforts in the state.”

Highlights of this month’s grants include $40,000 to Crossroads Theatre, the country’s only theater dedicated to black arts, for general operating support; $20,000 to the Center for Contemporary Art for general operating support; and $10,000 to the Institute of Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience at Rutgers University’s Newark campus to support the 10th anniversary season of the Dance Symposium Series.


Dodge this year awarded $810,000 in media grants to provide high-quality, New Jersey-focused news and information across multiple platforms, and help foster civic participation in issues of importance to New Jersey. Four grants totaling $300,000 were made in this final round.

“We’ve come a long way since launching our media program four years ago to strengthen New Jersey’s news ecosystem, making it possible for existing and emerging news organizations to collaborate, share content, and participate in a range of professional development opportunities,” said Molly de Aguiar, Dodge Media Program Director. “While continuing to work with our partners at Montclair University’s Center for Cooperative Media and NJ News Commons and both nonprofit and for-profit media grantees, we’re working not only to explore ways to make journalism sustainable but to reinvent the role of the journalist in the community. With a community-first approach, journalism can develop stories of greater interest and value to readers, help build relationships, foster information sharing between neighbors, encourage government transparency and increase civic participation.”

During this grant cycle, Dodge awarded $125,000 to New Jersey Public Radio to provide high-quality, New Jersey-focused news on multiple platforms; $75,000 to New Jersey Spotlight to support a comprehensive strategic planning process; $50,000 to NJTV to support arts and culture coverage in New Jersey; and $50,000 to WHYY’s NewsWorks for its New Jersey reporting and community engagement efforts.


In the Dodge Foundation’s hometown of Morristown, the Community Soup Kitchen and Outreach Center received a grant of $30,000 for continued support of their programs to feed and provide social and medical services to those in need and Sustainable Morristown received a $20,000 to coordinate an overall sustainability vision with the community.

In 2014, more than $267,500 in technical assistance grants were awarded, including grants during this month of $50,000 to Community Foundation of South Jersey to increase the level and effectiveness of South Jersey philanthropy and for support of a board training series for regional nonprofits and $40,000 to the Paterson Alliance to support the development of a new skill-building program geared for mid-level management staff of local non-profit, service agencies in the city of Paterson.


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