The mission of the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium is to foster increased civic engagement by providing financial resources to organizations building and supporting local news and information in communities across New Jersey, with a particular emphasis on news deserts and historically marginalized groups.
The New Jersey Civic Information Consortium envisions an interconnected, collaborative and financially sustainable local news and information ecosystem that helps and encourages every resident of the state to participate actively in their communities.
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 on 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:
To date, the Consortium has supported 81 grants with $5.5M in funding.
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 six of New Jersey’s leading institutions of higher education – The College of New Jersey, Montclair State University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rowan University, Kean 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 16-member Board of Directors, which includes representatives of the six member universities. By bringing together these six 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.
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