The New Jersey Civic Information Consortium is now accepting applications for its inaugural round of grant funding. The consortium was created by the state to increase access to civic information statewide and spark innovative media projects in communities lacking access to news and information.

“This is an excellent opportunity for school districts to apply for grants of up to $35,000 to help deliver important news to underserved communities,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director.

The consortium will consider applications from all parts of the state, but it is especially interested in proposals that focus on better serving communities of color, immigrant communities and rural communities.

The consortium is focusing on three key areas for these initial grants, based on the following current pressing information needs of New Jersey residents:

  • News and information that promotes community health, including information surrounding the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on our communities.
  • Reporting and civic technology projects that make government information more accessible and hold public officials accountable.
  • Diversifying New Jersey’s journalism pipeline, media education and journalism/storytelling training in communities that lack trusted news sources and/or where coverage is one-dimensional and doesn’t meet community needs.

Eligibility The state law forming the consortium requires that groups receiving grants work in partnership with a faculty member, graduate student or program at one of the consortium’s member universities. Applicants do not need to have a partnership formed when applying for a grant. The consortium can connect applicants with an interested faculty member, graduate student or program at a member university. The member universities are Montclair State University, Rutgers University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rowan University and The College of New Jersey.

Applicants should say if they have a partner or will need one. Questions about potential partnerships can be directed to the consortium.

Grants Grants in the first round will be capped at $35,000. A consortium grant is meant to be seed money or project funding and not as an ongoing source of funding for an organization.

Process and Deadline Please complete the application by 11:59 p.m. on  Wednesday,  March 31. Applications will be screened by a panel of consortium board members. This panel may contact applicants for follow-up information. Final decisions will be made by the consortium board of directors. More information is available here.