The Princeton Area Community Foundation awarded about $2 million in Community Impact and COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Fund grants to local nonprofits.

More than 60 organizations working on a broad variety of needs in the community, including arts education, community building, education, food insecurity, health, supporting senior citizens and other vulnerable populations, and youth development received this funding, made possible by generous community contributions.

Funding was mainly unrestricted, giving organizations an opportunity to address the challenges of economic uncertainty due to the pandemic and inflation.  Unrestricted grants in this round provide the flexibility organizations need to use the funding where it is most needed, which will help them build financial and programmatic resiliency.

“These nonprofits are doing impactful work in region, helping the most vulnerable among us,” said Jeffrey M. Vega, President & CEO of the Community Foundation. “We are able to award these grants thanks to generous donors who have created funds over the last 30 years to support our community grantmaking and leadership.”

More than 40 percent of the funding was awarded to organizations working on education and youth development programs, followed by those working to help vulnerable populations and alleviate food insecurity.

Among the largest grants were $150,000 to the Foundation for Educational Administration for its Healing Centered Engagement program focused on supporting schools, to help staff identify and help children experiencing trauma, a $115,000 grant to Arm In Arm, which is working with Housing Initiatives of Princeton to prevent evictions, and a $100,000 grant to Mercer Street Friends, which is working with the Boys & Girls Club of Mercer County to expand its Community Schools model in Trenton.

A list of grantee partners is below. Nine of the grants were awarded from the COVID-19 Fund, because vulnerable residents are still dealing with the lingering effects of the pandemic, such as learning loss and the mental health crisis among young people. The remainder of the grants were funded through the Community Impact Grants program.

Grantee Partners

Arts Education

  • Artworks Trenton Inc., Trenton, was awarded a grant from the COVID-19 Fund to help the organization rebuild in-person free youth and teen art education initiatives in Trenton neighborhoods.
  • Bucks County Playhouse Artists, New Hope, Pa., for BOUNCE, an innovative arts program in the Morrisville School District, which pairs teachers with teaching artists to create classes that help engage children through storytelling, dance, music, visual arts, and technology.
  • Capital Harmony Works, Trenton, was awarded a grant from the COVID-19 Fund to help fund its programs, including Music for the Very Young, which provides in-school music lessons for PreK children and their families; Trenton Music Makers Orchestra, an after-school program for Grade K-12 students; and the Trenton Children’s Chorus, an after-school K-12 choir. It also offers academic coaching through its Learning Academy.
  • James R Halsey Foundation of the Arts, Hamilton, was awarded a grant from the COVID-19 Fund to provide operating support for the organization, which provides high quality instruction in film and media to disadvantaged youth throughout Mercer County.
  • Passage Theatre Company, Trenton, was awarded a grant from the COVID-19 Fund to provide general operating support for its 2022-2023 Season: Foundations for Our Future. It includes live and online productions, play development workshops, staged readings, studio classes, and classes for local schools and nonprofits. The theater will also partner with Rider University to produce a musical.
  • Stretto Youth Chamber Orchestra, based in Princeton and Trenton, to help expand Trinity Strings, a weekend educational program in Trenton for children ages 4 to 18.
  • Trenton Circus Squad, Trenton, to provide support for Squad Members and work with partners to provide free arts experiences. The program runs after-school and summer programs, and a Junior Coach Development Program.
  • Young Audiences NJ and Eastern PA, Princeton, to help fund its Arts Impact Initiative at two schools. The model provides comprehensive, diverse arts programs directly to students and infuses the arts into schools to support student learning and creative school communities.

Community Building

  • Greater Trenton, Trenton, to provide unrestricted support for the organization, which works to create equitable opportunities for residents and catalyze economic development in the city by addressing career pathways, affordable housing, and job creation.
  • Trenton Health Team, Inc., Trenton, for its community advocacy and engagement work, which will include establishment of a Resident Advisory Council (RAC).


  • Foundation for Educational Administration, Monroe, was awarded a grant from the COVID-19 Fund to provide for its Healing Centered Engagement Project (HCE) in Trenton, Hamilton and Lawrence schools. It provides school staff with training on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), trauma-informed care and healing-centered engagement. It also includes monthly coaching sessions: coaches work with school teams, the principals and community organizations to design and implement plans of action.
  • Literacy New Jersey, with a local program based in Hamilton; it provides tutoring programs, ESL, U.S. citizenship preparation and digital skills classes, as well as a 14-week job readiness course.
  • Mercer Street Friends, Trenton, to help fund its expansion of the community school model to Mott School and expand its programming at MLK School. The organization is partnering with the Boys and Girls Club of Mercer County on the community schools, which provide wrap-around services to students and their families.
  • People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos, Lawrenceville, to help fund its current programs, which serve low-income and low-literacy population, as well as to allow the agency to expand its offerings at new sites.

Food Insecurity

  • Arm In Arm, Trenton, to provide unrestricted funding to support its general operations as it faces increased, unprecedented food and housing needs in the community.
  • D&R Greenway Land Trust, based in Princeton, to expand its Community Sharing Garden at St. Michaels Farm Preserve in Hopewell and replicate it at Point Breeze in Bordentown. Both sites will host educational gatherings and work with community partners to provide fresh, organic produce to those in need.
  • Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County, Princeton, which runs brick and mortar and mobile food pantries
  • John O Wilson Hamilton Twp. Neighborhood Community Center Inc., Hamilton, to expand its Driving Hunger Away Project, which provides free, healthy food to Mercer County residents.
  • Meals on Wheels of Mercer County, Ewing, which delivers nutritious meals along with nutrition education and counseling to homebound, older adults. The program also helps reduce social isolation.
  • Mount Carmel Guild, Trenton, which provides food and other basic necessities through its pantry and offers homelessness prevention services, financial assistance, education programs and outreach.
  • Princeton Mobile Food Pantry, Princeton, to support its distribution of fresh and healthy groceries to food-insecure Princeton residents.
  • Share My Meals, Princeton, which recovers surplus meals from food providers and distributes them to local food-insecure communities in the Princeton area. The organization distributes more than 5,000 meals per month.
  • Shine and Inspire, Pennington, to help fund and expand its Shine and Inspire Closets program, currently in 19 Mercer County schools. Closets are stocked with toiletries and snacks for children in need, including some who are homeless.
  • Snipes Farm and Education Center, Morrisville, Pa., to provide operating support for its food distribution program and its educational enrichment programs for disadvantaged students.
  • The Salvation Army, Trenton, which runs a Mobile Canteen Feeding program at eight locations in Trenton. It provides hot meals, blankets, hats, gloves, toys, and hygiene kits, along with services, such as counseling, case management, and referrals to other agencies.
  • The Suppers Programs, Princeton, which partners with other nonprofits to provide access to nutritional information and educational programs, such as Healthy Cooking on a Budget
  • The Watershed Institute, Pennington, to provide healthy lunches for its campers, many of whom attend The Christina Seix Academy and the Center for Family Achievement.
  • Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, Trenton, which provides hot meals, along with programs and services to help people move closer to self-sufficiency.


  • Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., Trenton, was awarded a grant from the COVID-19 Fund for its ongoing work to provide access to COVID-19 vaccines and testing among immigrants and disseminate quality information about health.


  • Interfaith Caregivers of Greater Mercer County, Hamilton, for its Neighbors Helping Neighbors (NHN) program, which provides free caregiving services to vulnerable residents. Volunteers provide non-medical assistance, including transportation to medical appointments, grocery shopping, companionship, respite care, and chores.
  • Princeton Senior Resource Center, Princeton, to help the organization increase the participation of underserved residents, as well as fund DEI training and hire a coordinator of outreach and diversity.

Vulnerable Population

  • Arm In Arm, Trenton, was awarded a grant from the COVID-19 Fund for its partnership with Housing Initiatives of Princeton (HIP) to provide housing and rental assistance; the partnership prevents homelessness for Mercer County families impacted by the pandemic, many of whom are unable to access, or do not qualify for public resources. The partnership eliminates the need for clients to visit several agencies to piece together funding needed to remain housed.
  • Rise, Hightstown, for its “Together, We Rise” initiative, increasing its emphasis on offering opportunities to enhance individual skills, promote financial stability, and break the generational cycle of poverty for the families it serves.
  • HomeFront, Inc., Lawrenceville, for its motel outreach program, which serves more than 150 vulnerable homeless households, including about a quarter with young children. The organization provides services, including case management, access to children’s programs and delivery of medicine, diapers, toiletries and food, including hot meals.
  • Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., Trenton, which provides immigration legal services and community outreach/education programs, including its FUTURO program for high school students.
  • Lawrenceville Job-Training Partnership, Lawrenceville, which runs the WorkWell Partnerships – Moving Forward program, providing job and life skills training as well as job placement for previously incarcerated individuals.
  • Rescue Mission of Trenton, Trenton to help fund its emergency shelter, which provides warm meals, a safe place to sleep and case management services.
  • Womanspace, Inc., Lawrenceville, to help offset costs, including food, transportation and case management for its Safe House Emergency Shelter. The organization received an additional grant from the COVID-19 Fund to help it handle a surge in domestic violence seen during the pandemic.

Youth Development

  • Anchor House Inc., Trenton, to provide unrestricted funding for the organization that provides a shelter, safe housing, school and street outreach programs for runaway and homeless young people.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mercer County, Trenton, to support its mentoring programs for children ages 6-18 living in poverty and/or challenging circumstances.
  • CASA for Children of Mercer & Burlington, Ewing, to help fund its work recruiting, training and supporting volunteers to advocate in Family Court for local children in foster care. Volunteers must initially undergo 33 hours of specialized training. The grant will also support increased trauma training for all volunteers.
  • Catholic Youth Organization of Mercer County, Trenton, to help purchase a new bus to transport children from schools to its affordable, quality childcare & enrichment programs at nine sites in Trenton, Hamilton and Ewing.
  • Corner House Foundation, Princeton, to provide support for its holistic approach to treating substance use disorders
  • Dress for Success Mercer County, Lawrenceville, for its Career Academy at Trenton Central High School, which provides free career clothing and accessories, as well as career mentoring and job preparedness workshops. Students can take their new skills and outfits to college, summer internships or job interviews.
  • Every Child Valued, Lawrenceville, to underwrite administrative and operating expenses. Funding may also be used for programs, including its Breakfast, After School, Summer Enrichment and Tutoring and Mentoring programs for children living in Eggerts Crossing Village.
  • Hamilton Area YMCA, Hamilton, for its collaboration with the Hamilton Township School District to bring recreational sports programs to all six Title I schools in the district, create a basketball league for teen boys in Bromley Park, and provide 4 full weeks of free summer camp for 50 children living below the poverty line.
  • Hamilton Township Public Schools, Hamilton, for its 25 summer camps for approximately 300 students, including many who will need increased financial assistance to attend this session. The camp helps prevent summer learning loss.
  • HISPA, Inc. (Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement), Princeton, for its Role Model Program and Imagine Day – Corporate Visits program for English Language Learners at three Trenton Middle Schools, as well as its Ready, Set, GOals! Program at the Trenton 9th Grade Academy, which brings Latino professionals into the classroom to conduct academic and career workshops.
  • HiTOPs, Princeton, for its Celebrating LGBTQ+ Youth! Program, which includes support groups for youth and parents, a youth drop-in center, a summer program, and educational programs for adults.
  • HomeFront, Inc., Lawrenceville, for its Children’s Champion program, which provides case management, support and access to behavioral and mental health therapy, along with healthcare, tutoring, and arts and recreational enrichment for homeless children, a population disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
  • HomeWorks Trenton in Trenton, a residential boarding program for girls attending public schools in the city. The program includes transportation, leadership development and academic enrichment.
  • LifeTies, Inc., Ewing, to help expand its Pride Center, which provides programs for families and others to support LGBTQ+ youth, including educational workshops with parent-teacher organizations, social service providers, school personnel, health care providers and faith-based leaders and congregants, and support services for families and caregivers.
  • Millhill Child & Family Development, Trenton, to support operating costs for its programs, including early childhood and after-school programs. The organization provides education, counseling, family support services, youth engagement, and community collaborations.
  • National Junior Tennis & Learning of Trenton, Trenton, for its year-round and after-school programs, which are growing as the organization collaborates with Trenton schools. The organization expects as many as 600 new participants at a summer camp.
  • PEI Kids, Lawrence, to support its Crisis Intervention for Child Victims of Sexual Abuse and Juvenile Intervention Services programs.
  • Princeton-Blairstown Center, based in Princeton and Blairstown, for its innovative Venture Out program. Working with Mercer Street Friends and the Boys and Girls Club of Mercer County, they will pilot a hands-on science program for Trenton middle school students.
  • Princeton Nursery School, Princeton, to provide operating support for the organization, which operates a high-quality, affordable preschool and also provides assistance to students’ families. The school also received an addition grant from the COVID-19 Fund to help provide scholarships for struggling families because many of the parents lost jobs at the height of the pandemic.
  • Princeton YMCA, Princeton, to help fund its after-school Princeton Young Achievers program, which helps economically disadvantaged children improve their school performance and academic skills.
  • Puerto Rican Community Center, Inc., Trenton, to provide support for its programs, including its food program for families in need
  • The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey , Trenton, to support its social emotional learning programs as part of a merger with Kidsbridge Center.
  • The Father Center (Formerly UIH Family Partners), Trenton, to help fund its Healthy Relationship, Healthy Choices Program (HRHC), which helps high school boys overcome obstacles that hinder academic success.
  • UrbanPromise Trenton, Trenton, for its Street Leaders program, which serves as a first job for Trenton-area high school students and keeps the teens academically and civically engaged during the at-risk hours of 3-6 pm. The teens serve as role models and counselors for younger students.
  • YWCA of Princeton, Princeton, for its LEAP workforce development program, which includes college prep for teen girls; financial literacy for college-age women; mentorship matching, a leadership speaker series, and workshops on resume writing and interviewing.

Additionally, grants were awarded to the New Jersey Center for Nonprofits and Nonprofit Connect, both in Hamilton, to support their work advocating for and building the capacity of the nonprofit sector.

The Community Foundation can assist donors who wish to provide additional funding to any of these nonprofits, which are making a difference in our communities every day. To learn more, contact the Community Foundation at 609-219-1800.