The Princeton Area Community Foundation has awarded $539,000 to 20 nonprofit organizations in Mercer County through its flagship grants program, Greater Mercer Grants. These grants are issued twice a year to support community organizations that help low-income individuals and build community across Mercer County.
“Greater Mercer Grants represents the cornerstone of the Community Foundation’s mission. It provides critical financial support to the bedrock institutions in our communities,” said Carol P. Herring, the Community Foundation’s Chair of Board of Trustees.
The Community Foundation funded key priorities in the region, including revitalization efforts in Trenton, human services throughout the county and unrestricted support to build capacity in non-profits.
“The Princeton Area Community Foundation is helping us rebuild our city from the inside out with its generous gifts to Trenton area nonprofits,” said Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson. The Mayor added, “I continue to believe that solutions to critical challenges in Trenton must deeply involve community leaders who appreciate the city and feel most connected to the people here. Financial resources will help these groups revitalize Trenton and improve the quality of life for our residents.”
The Community Foundation announced the following grants targeting economic development, community building and academic, arts and music enrichment programs for youth.
- The Trenton Downtown Association, a first-time grantee, was awarded $50,000 to pilot its East State Street re-engagement strategy. The initiative is based on their successful and similar Warren Street revitalization effort, and uses proven techniques including organizing clusters of adjacent property owners; re-engaging existing businesses; attracting new businesses; property upgrades and erecting creative signage highlighting changes being made on/near East State Street.
- The Community Loan Fund of New Jersey works to transform communities through strategic investments of capital and knowledge, and through this $25,000 grant will partner with a coalition of Trenton organizations to address a longstanding challenge: the city’s 3,300 abandoned properties. The Community Loan Fund will first conduct a comprehensive assessment of Trenton’s housing market, noting sales prices and volumes, tax sales, vacancies and other social indicators. Then they will build strategies to reclaim and repurpose many of the abandoned properties to reduce neighborhood blight and add to the tax rolls. For this project, the Community Loan Fund will partner with the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey; Isles, Inc.; Shiloh Community Development Corporation; and Habitat for Humanity, Trenton.
The Community Foundation also provided grants to organizations addressing local and countywide social issues in the areas of education, homelessness, food insecurity, immigration and youth development.
- Anchor House, Inc. – $10,000 for outreach to LGBTQ homeless youth in Mercer County
- Center for Supportive Schools – $25,000 to continue its work with Campaign Connect-Mercer an initiative that works with Mercer County school districts to address students’ social and emotional needs and accelerate student achievement
- Every Child Valued – $20,000 for the Every Child Valued After School Program in Lawrenceville
- Latin American Legal Defense and Educational Fund – $25,000 for the Welcome House/Casa de Bienvenida Community Center in Trenton
- Meals on Wheels of Trenton/Ewing – $15,000 for subsidized meal programs in Trenton and Ewing
- Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness – $25,000 to support programming that addresses single homeless individuals in Mercer County
- Mercer Street Friends Center – $25,000 for hunger relief and prevention programs in Mercer County
- New Jersey SEEDS – $15,000 for its College Preparatory Program for Trenton Central High School students.
- RISE/A Community Service Partnership – $25,000 for the Rise Summer Academic Enrichment Program in Hightstown
- Shiloh Community Development Corporation – $25,000 for the Children’s Defense Fund – Freedom School Summer Program in Trenton
- The Citizens Campaign – $30,000 for the Trenton Civic Trust: From Actions to Sustainability which trains and empowers Trenton residents to become advocates
- Trenton Community Music School – $25,000 to expand El Sistema-Trenton a music instruction program
- Young Audiences of New Jersey & Eastern PA – $24,000 for Trenton Adopt-a-School Initiative to bring arts programming to Trenton public schools
Unrestricted grants are another priority for the Community Foundation. Jeffrey Vega, The Community Foundation’s President & CEO said, “unrestricted support allows a nonprofit organization to build and strengthen its capacity to better serve low-income families. While today non-profits receive mostly restricted donations, a healthy nonprofit must have a balance of restricted and unrestricted grants.”
The organizations receiving unrestricted support are:
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mercer County – $35,000
- Crisis Ministry of Mercer County – $35,000
- Millhill Child & Family Development Corporation – $35,000
- Princeton Nursery School – $25,000
- UIH Family Partners – $45,000
The Community Foundation collaborates with the Harbourton Foundation and charitable funds established at the Foundation by individuals and families to support Greater Mercer Grants. The list of donors grows every year and the Princeton Area Community Foundation welcomes the participation of those dedicated to supporting the nonprofit organizations that work on behalf of Mercer County residents.
For information on establishing a fund, or participating as a supporter of Greater Mercer Grants in future funding cycles, please visit www.pacf.org/give.