Last updated: April 9, 2024

Who is eligible to apply for funding?

The Consortium’s mission is to provide financial resources to support and grow trustworthy, community-based news and information outlets across New Jersey. As such, the Consortium prioritizes NJ-based organizations working directly with the communities they serve. 

The Consortium funds the following types of organizations:

Nonprofit and for-profit* Media Organizations:

    • Media outlets dedicated to providing quality journalism and civic information.
    • Organizations that prioritize reaching communities with limited or no access to news and information. 
    • Organizations focused on training journalists and community members to enhance news reporting and storytelling skills.
    • Organizations working in and with marginalized communities. 
    • Organizations with leadership and staff that are reflective of the communities they serve.

* For-profit and nonprofit organizations without IRS 501(c)(3) tax exemption must have a non-profit fiscal sponsor.

Civic-focused organizations:

    • Organizations addressing issues related to marginalized populations and communities in New Jersey.
    • Organizations engaged in civic education, linked to local news.
    • Organizations actively involved in promoting civic engagement, voter participation, and community involvement.

Journalism education and training organizations:

    • Universities, community colleges, secondary schools, other educational institutions, and stand-alone organizations offering journalism education and training programs and initiatives aimed at preparing students for roles in news reporting and community storytelling. 

What role does the university partner play?

The role of the university partner is entirely up to the grantee and university partner. University partnerships can vary from administrative support to an advisory role or more. In some cases, university partners will need to be compensated for their involvement in your project. This may be monetary compensation allocated from the project budget, or work hours their university provides them to devote to the project. To the greatest extent possible, applicants and university partners should work out those details prior to submitting a final application.

Universities applying for a grant are required to provide a 10% match toward the grant project. The match can be shown in terms of additional funding secured for the project, or in the form of back office support, research, staffing, student support, or other things the university will provide that total a monetary amount of not less than 10% of the grant.

Who should fill out the application? Do you need one application per project?

The application should be completed by the project manager or leader, ideally a member of the project team who is the best point of contact. Applications should be limited to one per project.

How long is the grant period? 

The grant period is for up to one year of application approval, and projects should be completed during this time period. Grantees are expected to be in communication with the Consortium to provide updates on their activities and anticipated timeline. The Consortium will work with grantees to develop a timeline for updates during the grant period. 

How should I reference the source of this money in any publication?

To name how your grant is funded, you can use the following, or propose alternative language: “This project is funded by a grant from the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium, an independent nonprofit organization that reimagines how public funding can be used to address the growing problem of news deserts, misinformation, and support of more informed communities.”

How detailed of a budget do you need?

We’d like to know how you plan on spending the grant funds. The budget should include any anticipated expenditures, such as staffing, payment of freelancers or community members, equipment, events, fiscal sponsor fees, etc. 

What can I use the grant for?

The grant can be used for grant-related project costs such as back office support, research, staffing, community member stipends, student support, etc. Consortium grant funds cannot be used for lobbying purposes under any circumstances.

What if we need more funding than the maximum amount allowed to do our project?

Unfortunately, the Consortium cannot provide additional funding to projects beyond the grant. We encourage you to be thorough in considering the categories to be covered in your submitted budget, and look for additional funding opportunities from other sources. If invited, you may also apply for a renewal grant to continue the work.

What if we don’t spend all the money?

Grant funds must be used to support the proposed project. If all funds have not been expended, we will work with you either to extend the timeline of your project, find other ways the funds can be used to achieve the outcomes of your project, or return unexpended funds. 

What paperwork will the Consortium need to disburse the grant?

A signed award letter, proof of 501(c)(3) status for your organization or your fiscal sponsor, and the name of, and a support letter from, your university partner are required prior to disbursing the grant. In addition, the Consortium will need a valid Payment Network ID (PNI) for the organization receiving the grant funds to submit via 

What if our project runs into problems after it starts and we need to change its focus?

Things change, and we will work with grantees in case any major shifts in focus occur. We are investing in your project and project partners, so we’re confident that you’ll be able to do high-quality work, even if it looks a little different from what you originally pitched.

Does state money mean state control?

No. While we receive public funding, we are an independent nonprofit overseen by a board of directors. The state law creating the Consortium specifically states that the State of New Jersey, the Consortium, and the member universities do not have editorial control or any ownership stake in any funded project. 

Can an organization submit multiple letters of intent for consideration?

Yes. You can submit a letter of intent for any project that you believe would meet the criteria to receive a grant.

What if I have more questions?

All questions should be emailed to [email protected].

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. Questions? Contact the Consortium via email at [email protected].