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Northern NJ Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund Announces Grants to Arts Organizations 

The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation (NNJCF) has announced the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund awarded 39 grants to nonprofit arts agencies and nonprofits providing arts programs and services.

These nonprofit organizations provide services and programs in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, and Union Counties, as well as multiple counties in New Jersey.  The NNJCF, a not-for-profit organization based in Hackensack, New Jersey, focuses on civic engagement, education, the environment, public health, philanthropy and the arts.

The arts agencies were supported for their work to build community engagement for people experiencing isolation.  The grants, totaling $47,000, ranged from $250 to $2,000 to  support interactive programming and the development of public art.  The funding use is unrestricted and responds to an increased demand for services and/or decreased funding resulting from the coronavirus.

The Hudson County organizations include Art House Productions, Educational Arts Team, Jersey City Arts Council Inc., Ladies of Hip-Hop Festival, Mile Square Theatre, Nimbus Dance Works, Inc., Thomas A. Edison Media Arts Consortium (Black Maria Film Festival), UNION CITY MUSIC PROJECT, INC.

Residents in northern New Jersey continue to struggle from reduced or lost income, food and housing insecurity, health expenses and childcare needs resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

The NNJCF’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund second round of one time only grants supports urgent funding needs of vetted small 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, nonprofit arts organizations and nonprofit organizations providing arts programs and services.  Funding in this round prioritized small nonprofit organizations providing direct services and support to marginalized communities.

This past spring, the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund was established to reach smaller grassroots organizations that might be overlooked by larger funds.  In May, 54 grants totaling nearly $240,000 were awarded in the first round to nonprofit organizations serving Bergen County.  Since its inception, the Fund has provided more than $550,000 in grants to 163 nonprofit organizations providing services in northern New Jersey.

As the community’s needs shifted from emergency PPE to ongoing longer-term necessities for food security and mental health supports, the focus of the grant awards changed.  “Immediate action and long-term recovery took into account the disproportionate impact the pandemic has on communities of color.

The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation focused on a racial justice lens for this second round of funding to address the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for ongoing civic dialogue to address the underlying causes of these disparities,” said Mary Blanusa, Executive Director, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation.

Donations to the NNJCF’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund’s came from a range of contributors.  Major funders included Sozosei Foundation, Parkway Toyota, and Valley National Bank, as well as small donors.

For further information about the NNJCF or the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund, contact nnjcf@nnjcf.org or 201-568-5608.

About Northern New Jersey Community Foundation

The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization based in Hackensack, New Jersey, focuses primarily on civic engagement, education, the environment, public health, philanthropy and the arts.  NNJCF works with local governments, school districts, businesses, non-profit organizations, and citizen groups in Northern New Jersey to improve community life.

The Foundation’s partners identify and resolve regional problems and opportunities by talking and learning from each other, by sharing ideas, best practices, services, and resources.  For more information, visit www.nnjcf.org, send an email to nnjcf@nnjcf.org, or call 201-568-5608.

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