NJ Pandemic Relief Fund Provides Lead Matching Grant of $1 million

A coalition of funders has established the New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund (NJACRF) to help ensure the survival of the state’s cultural sector that has faced economic devastation from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fund has so far raised more than $1.6 million, including a lead matching gift of $1 million from the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund (NJPRF) to help kick start NJACRF, and quickly get support to arts and culture groups around the state.  “New Jersey has a celebrated and vibrant arts and cultural sector that has suffered tremendously as a result of the pandemic,” said Josh Weinreich, CEO of the NJPRF.  “We are proud to support NJACRF so they can give much needed aid to this community.”

NJACRF will provide grants to the cultural community to offset expenses incurred due to pandemic cancelations, reopening adaptations, and support for artists and sector professionals.

Arts and culture are an essential component of the state and local economies. Nonprofit arts organizations generate more than $660 million in economic activity in New Jersey, employ nearly 22,000 workers, and engage more than 8.3 million people who stay in hotels, and eat and shop locally.

“Investing in arts and culture today will increase the chances of long-term, sustainable success, with broad-reaching results that impact employment, real estate values, crime and safety, tourism, health and wellness, education, and overall quality of life in New Jersey,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy, the founding chair of the NJPRF.

Half of the NJPRF gift was made possible through a matching grant from Joan Rechnitz, a philanthropist who founded the Two River Theater in Red Bank with her late husband, Robert.

“I am delighted to help kick off this incredibly important fund,” Rechnitz said. “The arts and culture are the heart and soul of our communities and vital to the work we do to rebuild from the devastating impacts of the pandemic.”

The Grunin Foundation, based in Toms River, provided the initial gift of $250,000 to establish the fund.

“We are proud to support the New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund,” said Jeremy Grunin, Co-Chair of the NJACRF and President of the Grunin Foundation. “The impact of the global pandemic on this sector has been felt by everyone. Arts and culture are important to our emotional and social wellbeing while also serving as an important gear in our economic engine. This fund will help ensure the sector’s survival in the short term and growth in the longer term.”

NJPRF has pledged to match new contributions to the fund dollar for dollar, up to $1 million. To double the impact of your dollars, and help sustain NJ arts and culture donate now by clicking here.

While business as it was before COVID-19 has come to a screeching halt, many cultural groups and artists have not stopped working, most without pay, to offer relief and hope for residents of all ages, including many of our most vulnerable populations.

Some of these nonprofits have been serving communities for decades, but due to event cancelations, refunds, layoffs, and complete closure, they have exhausted reserves and increased debt. The economic fallout is expected to have a ripple effect statewide

The NJACRF is hosted by the Princeton Area Community Foundation. In addition to Grunin, the NJACRF’s Steering Committee includes representatives from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Prudential Foundation, Stone Foundation of NJ, and E. J. Grassmann Trust, all contributors to the fund, as well as the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and New Jersey Historical Commission.

“As the sector at large braces for worst-case scenarios, including permanent closure, New Jersey and its residents risk losing a necessary component of a complete recovery,” said Sharnita C. Johnson, Arts Program Director at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and NJACRF Co-Chair. “With help, the sector will continue to support healing, resilience, and relief, and move forward on a path for safe reopening.”

NJACRF grants and application information will be announced in the coming weeks.

To learn more about the fund, visit www.NJartsculture.org, or contact Michael Nuno at mnuno@pacf.org