The New Jersey Civic Information Consortium is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that funds initiatives to benefit the State’s civic life and meet the evolving information needs of New Jersey’s communities.
A first-in-the-nation project, the Consortium builds off the foundation laid by public media in the United States, and reimagines how public funding can be used to address the growing problem of news deserts, misinformation, and support more informed communities. The consortium provides grants for projects that achieve the following goals:
Under state law, the Consortium and the State of New Jersey do not have any ownership in any project funded by a Consortium grant. In addition, under state law the State of New Jersey and the Consortium cannot exercise editorial control over any project funded by the Consortium.
The state of New Jersey created the Consortium in 2018 in response to the growing local news crisis impacting communities across the state’s 21 counties. Led by the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization Free Press, a broad stakeholder coalition of thousands of residents, universities, journalists, lawmakers and more crafted the Civic Info Bill as a way to fund innovative media and civic-technology projects in New Jersey for decades to come.
The Consortium has its roots in a history of projects and advocacy to grow access to local news and information across New Jersey, including work by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University.
The Consortium brings together five of New Jersey’s leading institutions of higher education – The College of New Jersey, Montclair State University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rowan University and Rutgers University – in partnership to address the lack of access to local news and information. The Consortium is eligible for funding from the State of New Jersey and can obtain funds from private foundations, individuals, and other charitable organizations. Montclair State University serves as the host university for the Consortium.
The Consortium, housed within Montclair State University, is governed by a 15-member Board of Directors, which includes representatives of the five member universities.
By bringing together these five comprehensive public universities the Consortium can leverage the individual strengths of each university and utilize them in a unique synergy to benefit New Jersey residents. Each member university has identified its individual focus areas for the Consortium’s work and these will be used as part of the Consortium’s strategy to address news deserts statewide.