The Princeton Area Community Foundation has awarded more than $600,000 in Community Impact and Capacity Building Grants to 16 local nonprofit organizations.

“With our new Community Impact Grants program, we support nonprofits that are working to transform the lives of low-income individuals, families and communities,” said Jeffrey M. Vega, President & CEO of the Community Foundation. “Through the generosity of hundreds of donors to the Princeton Area Community Foundation, our Community Impact Grants will improve the lives of thousands of children and adults in 2018 and will enable our communities to better address the consequences of poverty and economic disparities through the critical services of nonprofit agencies. We encourage everyone to get to know the agencies we support and understand the critical role that they play in meeting the needs of our region.”

The Community Foundation received 56 grant applications. It awarded a total of $596,459 in Community Impact Grants to 15 nonprofits that are working in seven fields: arts education, career development and literacy, behavioral health, food insecurity, youth development, community development and education, and social services/homelessness. An additional nonprofit was awarded a $25,000 Capacity Building Grant.

“We received outstanding applications, and our Committee on Impact had the difficult task of voting to determine which organizations would receive grants,” said Eleanor Horne, the Committee Chair. “There is so much need in our community, and with these grants, we tried to fund a wide range of services in seven funding categories. We hope to continue to form partnerships with other funders so we can expand our ability to address those needs.”

Five nonprofits received grants for operating support, which provides nonprofits with funds needed to pay expenses, such as rent and utility bills, and allows them to strengthen their capacity to serve those in need. The Community Foundation is among the few foundations in the area that awards operating grants. The remaining grants will support specific programs.

List of Grantees:

Community Impact Grants

Arts Education

  • McCarter Theatre Center, Trenton School District: Arts Integrated Education Program, $50,000; the theatre plans to expand its arts education programming at Trenton schools; the program integrates arts education with language arts and social studies lessons.
  • Trenton Children’s Chorus, $20,000; operating support; The Choir provides high-quality musical instruction and academic support to about 240 children in grades Pre-K to 12.
  • Young Audiences of NJ & Eastern PA, The Trenton Adopt-a-School Initiative, $50,000; the program is designed to address the disparity in arts access and provides arts education in all Trenton elementary and middle schools; the grant would help fund programs at five of those schools.

Behavioral Health

  • UIH Family Partners, Beyond Sanctuary: Impacting Self-Sufficiency Through Trauma-Informed Care Program, $50,000; About 180 men, who are between the ages of 19 and 62 and have been impacted by traumatic events, will take part in educational programs designed to increase their self-sufficiency; People & Stories will partner with UIH for this program.

Career Development and Literacy Programs

  • Dress for Success Central New Jersey, Customer Service Excellence/Designing Your Future programs, $44,409; These educational programs help economically disadvantaged women who are seeking gainful employment and financial independence. Many of the women are single mothers; some also care for parents and grandchildren.
  • Literacy New Jersey, Inc., Read to Succeed Program, $11,000; the program will support 100 Mercer County adults in a Basic Literacy Program taught in small groups or one-on-one sessions. It is the only Mercer County literacy program that serves adults who read below a 5th grade level.

Community Development and Education

  • Greater Trenton Inc., $50,000; the agency’s community development initiatives and efforts are focused on creating a more vibrant, safe city for families. The organization plans to implement key goals in its new strategic plan, including the implementation of a marketing plan to highlight the city’s hidden assets and promote its appeal, while working toward sustained revitalization with nonprofit, public, private and education sector partners.
  • Thomas Edison State University Foundation, NJ Cultural Competency and English Language Learners Institute and Mentoring Program, $47,250; a 10-year evidence-based professional development program for teachers to help improve their interactions and instruction of English language learners; the grant will support a nine-month mentoring component for teachers in 15 classrooms.

Food Insecurity

  • Meals on Wheels of Mercer County, Subsidized Meal Program, $35,000; this program serves homebound residents who cannot afford the fees for its traditional program. About 86 percent of its clients – many of them senior citizens – need a subsidy. No one is turned away and there is no waiting list.
  • Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, Send Hunger Packing Program, $35,000; TASK partners with Mercer Street Friends (MSF) to deliver weekly meal packs during the academic year to more than 1,000 Mercer County schoolchildren who have little access to food on weekends.

Social Services/Homelessness

  • Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, $50,000; operating support; The agency works to defend the rights of local Latin American communities, facilitate their access to health care and education and promote cross-cultural understanding in the region. It served almost 2,000 people in 2017, about double the number of households served the previous year.
  • Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness, $25,000; operating support; Through a collaboration with other agencies, the Alliance works to end homelessness, with a focus on people with high-risk challenges, such as individuals with disabilities and youth aging out of the child welfare system. In 2016, 1,443 individuals and 201 families in Mercer County became homeless.
  • Womanspace, program support for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Mercer County, $50,000; to provide comprehensive services, including emergency shelter and counseling to survivors (and their families) of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and human trafficking.

Youth Development

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mercer County, $50,000; operating support; The agency provides long-term mentors for children whose families are facing hardships. The agency is estimated to serve more than 500 youngsters.
  • PEI Kids, Comprehensive Juvenile Offenders Outreach Services Program, $28,800; each year the program serves about 60 youth, ages 11 to 17, who are on probation and have been referred by the criminal justice system. Participants learn life skills, including conflict resolution, violence prevention, and gang resistance. They also receive academic and job preparation support.

Capacity Building Grant

  • VolunteerConnect, $25,000; operating support; The organization partners with other nonprofits, as well as businesses and individuals to help develop more effective boards and to connect agencies with highly skilled volunteers to strengthen the ability of nonprofits to deliver much needed services.