As of April 2024, the Consortium has shifted to a rolling letter of interest (LOI) process for new grants.

The New Jersey Civic Information Consortium, a first-in-the-nation publicly-funded initiative to grow access to local news and information, is now accepting letters of interest for its 2024 new grants cycle. The Consortium will be focused on grant renewals in June and December and new grants in September and December.



The Consortium’s 2024 grantmaking focus areas fall under three categories:

Civic news and information reporting:
Initiatives focused on high-quality news reporting and dissemination of accurate, timely, verifiable information.

The journalism pipeline:
Organizations or projects that train students, professionals, and community members to produce news and civic information, enabling them to become community storytellers and newsroom reporters. 

Civic engagement in New Jersey communities:
Organizations that actively encourage and support civic engagement, with an emphasis on historically marginalized and/or underserved communities with limited or no access to news and information.


The Consortium seeks to support ideas and projects that achieve the following: 

Perform a public service: Public funding for media in the United States historically has focused on supporting public-service news and information that fills gaps left by commercial media. The ongoing local news crisis in New Jersey has widened these gaps and left many communities without access to important information about where they live. The Consortium’s grantmaking will continue the rich legacy of public funding for media by supporting news and information that performs a public service and supports civic engagement in media-deficient communities.

Center community information needs: People need access to a variety of news and information to have their basic needs met, to participate in their community and civic life, and to thrive and fully realize their potential. Too often, though, local media systems fail to meet people’s information needs – such as reporting that demonstrates a problem without offering actionable solutions, lacking information sources in languages other than English, or disseminating news in ways that don’t actually reach those who can benefit most. The information needs of New Jersey residents are at the center of The Consortium’s work, and we will dedicate resources to projects that allow greater access to news and information that improve people’s lives.

Support media that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive: A media system that does not reflect and lift up the rich racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity of New Jersey cannot serve residents adequately. The Civic Information Consortium believes it is fundamental to support a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive media system in order to create more informed and engaged communities and build a future generation of media makers that look and sound like the residents they serve.

Promote media by, with, and for: It is essential that people can participate and lead in the creation of media. Listening, engagement, collaboration, and community ownership are essential priorities for the Consortium, and we will seek to support projects that democratize the journalistic and media-making process, promote equitable collaboration, center community participation and needs, and build the capacity for everyday people to help shape what local news looks like.

Provide training and education: Media is something we all consume, but doing so with rampant disinformation and misinformation available across platforms has promoted distrust in community institutions. Historically, the privilege of creating media has not been available to people of all backgrounds unless they have the resources to do so. Better understanding how media works and creating it go hand in hand. Teaching people how to discern fact from fiction, responsibly consume media, and tell their own stories with impact is critical to strengthening news and information at the community level.

Strengthen networks and infrastructure: No single outlet or project alone will be able to improve access to local news and information in New Jersey. Many conditions are required to create more informed communities and sustainable local media across the state. Efforts that build capacity, promote learning and cross-sector collaboration, and provide essential services are necessary to support those performing the essential functions of journalism and media-making.


New grant awards may be made to a maximum of $100,000 per project. For new grants and new grantees, 50% of the grant award will be disbursed at the start of the grant period, and the remainder after a three-month review and approval by the Consortium’s Program Officer.



All grant seekers must submit a letter of interest outlining their proposal idea and how your organization aligns with the overall mission of the Consortium.

Consortium staff will review all letters of interest within three weeks of submission and may seek additional information. Upon completion of reviews, Consortium staff may invite grant-seekers to submit a full application. In some cases, the Consortium may seek to connect grant-seekers to other resources or partners.

In addition to following the guiding principles and strategic direction, the Consortium staff seeks to identify projects that, taken together, respond to the needs of New Jersey communities across the state that have limited or no local news.



Consortium staff may invite grant seekers to submit a full grant application for funding consideration. Invited proposals will be reviewed by staff, presented to the Grants Committee and, if recommended for approval, considered by the full board at its next meeting.

When an application is prepared, here are some items you will want to have on hand:

    • Proof of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status or proof of fiscal sponsor’s 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.
    • Letter from fiscal sponsor confirming role
    • Grant budget
    • Organizational budget
    • Letter of support from university or media partner*

*If your organization needs assistance identifying a lead partner, please reach out to the Consortium via email at [email protected]


The Consortium board of directors meets and acts on new grants in March, June, September, and December. The next round of new grants will be awarded in September.

  Letters of interest must be submitted by the following deadlines*:

*Any LOIs submitted after their respective deadlines will be kept on file for consideration for the following grant cycle.

  New grant applications must be submitted by the following deadlines*:

*Any new grant applications submitted after their respective deadlines may be kept on file for consideration for the following grant cycle.

All submissions must be made through the Consortium’s application system here. All applicants will need to set up an account prior to working on an application. If you run into any problems accessing the system, please email [email protected].


Impact tracking

Each grantee will be trained on impact tracking and provided assistance in developing a project-specific tracking process. Each proposal, however, must outline impact goals or expectations as a result of this funding.

501(c)(3) tax exempt status or fiscal sponsor

Funding can only be provided to nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. If your organization does not hold 501(c)(3) status, you must find a mission-aligned fiscal sponsor/fiscal agent. The fiscal sponsor must agree to maintain its status as a 501(c)(3) corporation, recognized as a public charity under Section 509(a)(1) or (a)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code during the grant period. The Consortium requires proof of 501(c)(3) status and a letter of agreement from your organization’s fiscal sponsor, if applicable. If you need help finding a fiscal sponsor, please email [email protected] and the Consortium will do its best to help

University partner

All grantees must find and maintain a university partnership with a Consortium member university throughout the grant period. The role of the university partner is entirely up to the grantee and university partner and can vary from administrative support to an advisory role. It is at the discretion of the universities to engage in specific projects. If your organization needs help finding a university partner, please email [email protected] and the Consortium will do its best to help.

Progress reports

Using the impact tracking process, progress toward grant goals will be assessed on an ongoing basis throughout the grant period through meetings with the Consortium’s Program Officer. 

Final report

A narrative and financial report describing activities and progress made toward meeting goals during the grant period is due at the end of the grant period in accordance with the deadline in your grant award letter.


Grant renewal invitations may be made by the Consortium for projects that are demonstrably making strong progress.

For invited renewal grants: the narrative and financial report can be submitted with your renewal proposal submission.


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].