NJ Civic Info Consortium public info session #2 (17FEB22)
6:33PM Feb 18, 2022
Hi, thanks, start again. Hi, I'm Stefanie Murray, I'm with the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University. And we are helping to host today's session about grants from the New Jersey civic information Consortium. So if that's what you're here for, you're in the right spot. We are going to have a fairly relaxed session today, we have a couple board members from the consortium. We just finished up their February board meeting and will be joining us to answer your questions. And to talk about the grants process for the 2022 grants that they will be giving out. We are recording the session, as you might have just seen, all of these sessions will be made available the recordings to you so you can watch them again. And they will also be posted on the Civic information consortiums website as well. So if you have any colleagues or anyone else you want to refer to, or if you want to go back and watch the first info session, which we hosted a couple weeks ago, you can do that at NJ civic info.org. So I will turn it over to Joe Amditis, my colleague who will give you a couple tech overview questions guiders guidelines pointers before we jump in.
Okay, everybody. So just a quick a few little notes here about the tech stuff, we do have a chat. Obviously every zoom chat, every Zoom meeting has a chat, just make sure that when you are typing you select the correct recipient next to the to their you click the little drop down to make sure I'm gonna go ahead and mute you to make sure that it's going to the right person. If you have any tech issues, you can DM me, you can send me a private message and I'll do my best to help you out.
One of the things is, you know, we are going to be answering questions. We're going to be fielding questions this whole time. So put them in the chat if you'd like to just type your question. But if you want to ask your question out loud, I think we can accommodate that as well, you can use the little, click the reaction button at the bottom and you can raise your hand. And we'll try to get to you in a reasonable order. I am also going to enable the auto transcription, you should see the button down there, you can turn that off or you know if it's distracting or whatever. Go ahead and do that. That's fine. I think that's about it. I'll go ahead and shut up now. And I'll turn that over to Stephanie on our board members. Thanks, Joe. We are going to take questions from the chat like Joe mentioned and toss them to the board members. So put them there and do use that raise hand function. With that. I will turn it over to our board members. Today. We have with us, John C. Locke and Teresa Edwards. John, I think you're going to talk a little bit about the grant opportunity, right and give an overview to everyone. Yes, I think Chris is also on here. And Chris is here too. They are Chris. So Chris, do you want to say anything before I do the overview. You're welcome to jump in, John. Thanks. Hey, Joe, are you putting up the screen?
Yes, I'm going to do that right now.
So good afternoon, everyone. My name is John C. Locke. I'm a board member of the Civic information Consortium. Glad to be joined by my colleagues, Chris Daggett and Teresa Edwards. So just want to give a brief overview of the grants process and the grant guidelines for the second round of grants before we jump into your questions, because I think that's the more important portion of the questions. So that's our second round of grants, we have about $150,000 to give out in this round.
training for all age groups, but also for a projects that are with middle and high school journalism programs. nonpartisan civic voter information election reporting election related projects, combating disinformation. Obviously, this has been a huge issue in the country over the last couple of years. So we're looking at different projects that will try to
To address this and bring nonpartisan news and nonpartisan information, and not disinformation to people, and combating disinformation, and also projects that are seeking to report civic and civic engagement and reporting on the COVID 19 pandemic, the climate crisis, but also healthcare in general. So looking at, obviously, all health at all levels, not just pandemic related but other health, mental health, that's a huge issue with the pandemic is, will give mental health so we're gonna be very interested in those aspects along with environmental and climate change, resiliency, flooding. I know that was a huge issue with Hurricane either just not that long ago, across a lot of areas of the state. And we've had other major storms that have hit in especially in the last two decades that have caused flooding issues. The eligibility, and also by that we are looking, we have no problem looking at grant proposals that do not fit those categories, but our local news are going to go access to local news and information. So just quickly is eligibility is for nonprofit groups. If you are a for profit, you have to have tied with a nonprofit entity to serve as your fiscal agent. The law that the state law that created the consortium requires the grant recipients have a university partner working with a faculty member graduate students or program at one of our member universities, Montclair State, Rutgers, NJIT, Kane row in, and the College of New Jersey, ah, we can connect you with interested faculty and graduate students and programs at these universities. But we will however, we are going to be giving preference to applicants who already have a partnership in place. But again, you can reach out to Stephanie and Center for Cooperative Media. And we can give you a list of interested and also the consortium, we can give you a list of interested faculty that you can talk with. And as I said, we can't give the Grants to Individuals has to be a 501 C three, but you can have a fiscal agent working with you. And the universities can serve as your fiscal sponsor on this, we have actually put agreements in place with we started that with Rowan University with some of our grant recipients in the first round. So we already have a lot of that framework and structure ready to go with this is going to be the option. So the process is obviously all the grants, you've all the application materials online.
They are due by 1159. Eastern pm eastern time on March 4, that is the deadline. All applications will be screened by a panel of board members, we may be contacting you if we need additional information or questions about the projects we're going forward. The final decisions will be made by the board or the consortium board, we're anticipating that the board will be voting on that at our eight meeting in mid April. And then notifications will be going out shortly thereafter. And then once those notifications go out. And I'll ask Chris to jump on this in one second. There's some information we're going to need from you before we get the check out. And just please note that we are because we receive money from the state of New Jersey, we are subject to the open public records act and as such that the grant applications could be subject to an open public access request. And before we get into questions, Chris, do you want to just quickly highlight the information that you we need to get before the checks go out to anyone who receives the grant? Sure, although
Stephanie, you have the list? Exactly. I think can I punt that over
to you? Yeah, absolutely can. Yeah, so the the sort of documentation that we'll need from everyone is a copy of your IRS IRS determination letter, a copy of the nonprofit's registration in the state of New Jersey, those are the two key things if you're using a fiscal sponsor, and then we also need a letter of agreement between you and the fiscal sponsor showing that they agree to take on your project, and outlining any terms that you have between the two of you. And we still are mailing paper checks. So we don't need ACH information at this time. Although if that changes, we'll let the grantees know. So that's the last piece of information we'll need as a mailing address, and the person the point person to whom the check should be sent.
And obviously, the sooner you get that information, if you are a grant recipient, the sooner you get that information to us, the sooner we can get the check out to you. And if you end up using the unit University as your fiscal sponsor will just work with you on all of those aspects and working with the university. So that's going to be a little bit This is going to be another aspect. I just want to quickly know that Chuck powers and Audrey Kelly, two board members are I've also joined us today. So I know we have a question in from Clyde. Clyde it is, and this is in the chat. So if anyone wants to read along, it is not detrimental to ask for a larger sum of money, we have never denied anyone for asking for too much money. Obviously, we are setting the cap, that's you can ask for up to $75,000. So if you ask for 85,000, we may cut you off at 75. But we're not deny someone. But I would just want to stress one thing is we do have to keep in mind that we are we have a finite pot of money in this round of grants. So the biggest thing that comes into play is the fact that we will at some point hit that limit of how much money we are we have available to give out. So but we are we are not judging each granted those regards of how much you're asking for because we want to fund as many projects but we also want to, we're not looking necessarily sometimes for the quantity but we want to we're looking at quality and also what impact you will have on your community on your state on your region. So it is definitely we're looking at a lot of different things. But if you want to ask for the full $75,000 That will not be a judgment,
always asked for all the money. Any other questions? If anyone wants to raise their hand or drop some in the chat? We'll get to you and Teresa, you're gonna say some?
Yeah, no, I was just going to add on that because I'm not sure. Mr. Hughes's question. When you say if your project is longer than the $75,000 that we have available to a lot, let's say your projects, your budgets $225,000. If you can show that you have money coming in from other grant sources, you know, not not solely us on then that helps make your ask make sense to us. So, no, as John said, we would not deny you. But if you have a huge project, and your we can only give you $75,000, then is that project viable with only that amount? So it's the scalability of it, and also what other sources you have. revenue coming in from? I hope that makes sense.
Okay, and I know Stephanie. Okay, I think Stephanie, we're in you're talking about the connecting. Actually, Stephanie, what do you want to talk about? I know, you put it in the chat about Yeah, connecting people with university partners.
Yeah, sure. So. So this, this, as we talked earlier, was tricky for all of us last time, us at the research institutions as well as applicants, and we're trying to get a better handle on in advance this time, by trying to make it clear to everyone who's going to apply that if you can get a university partner set up in advance, that's going to help you a lot. And if you don't, that's still okay, but really tried to do that. And if you need help, email, info at NJ civic info or a drop that in the chat. That way we can get a little bit of understanding your project and all the university partners, we've been talking or continue to talk and have our own lists that are universities of good point people that we can connect you with. So drop a note, drop an email if you're having trouble. And we're happy to get you connected to someone. And we do have you know, there's a lot of potential connections, staff and faculty at all of these universities and your university partner could be, you know, could have a big role to play in your project, they could just be an advisor on your project. There's no like set standard for how that relationship has to work. You work that out with folks that you partner with.
And if you start talking to a universal potential university partner on your own, and they have questions regarding what the role would be or what we're looking for, please advise please have them reach out to info at NJ cific info.org Or to the board member for their university. There is each of the universities has a board member representative and we can answer we'd be more than glad to answer any of their questions. But again, the university partner can be playing a really huge role or a very small role. It's up to you. The beauty of this is it's up to you and the university partner to sort of figure out the bet the ideal relationship.
Chris, are you gonna say something else? was, the board is here to,
I was gonna say one thing, and that is that the grant guidelines mentioned the areas of focus. But the things I want to highlight is that, in addition to that $850,000 that John mentioned, we do have some money from a foundation and those four, four grants that might go to entities that are focused on some sort of health related communication. So if it's healthcare reporting, it could be about the pandemic, it could be about, you might partner with a hospital, to do something with respect to getting health information out, I just want people to know that there is this additional bit of money that we have that we can use toward a grant and those grants will probably be more than $35,000 range as opposed to the larger grants. But we're open to ideas on that, and we don't have anything specific in mind. And again, actually, with all our grants, we don't have anything specific in mind. We're looking for all of you to be creative and, like give us your ideas on what you think is the best way to improve local news and information in New Jersey. So that healthcare thing, healthcare pieces important.
Okay, and Ziza Actually, I'd like to introduce our newest board member Audrey Kelly from Kane University. She just joined us today for the first for first board meetings. She was just recently appointed skein just became a consortium member University in November when the governor signed legislation designating Kane as a public urban research university. So these are the question or Audrey the question from Aziza, we already have a potential university partner Kane, aside from our own proposal, they would like more information on the role they play is their contact at keen for them. So what introduce you,
hi, Aziza, this is Audrey, I was just typing into the into the chat the same thing as well. My first day I with the board, so excited to be part of this, I'm happy to be the contact information, I'll place it in the chat. And you can use me as the as the contact on the came side for this application.
Alright, thank you so much. Oh, you're welcome.
Any other questions from anyone? Could you raise your hand or drop them in the chat? Nice, open time to ask the board? Anything you'd like? Craig? Go ahead.
Yeah. So if in fact, you still have to get a partner of, say, a university partner, then it's a two part application process? It would seem to me right, maybe that's a silly question. But
what do you mean by to park? Correct?
Well, you have to have the university or the partner agree to, you know, be engaged with what you're trying to do? And then we have to go to you. So that's, I'm just
yeah, yes, it's, I wouldn't put too much emphasis on that the whole idea is, first of all, the university partner is a requirement of the statute. So that's why that's why it is in there. But the idea really, I think, is to encourage you to go to a university with what it is you'd like the relationship to be, because it can be as limited or as extensive as you'd like it to be. But we do want it somewhat formalized. So in other words, we want some sort of a letter that says, hey, we're willing to do this. And it might be just as an advisor, as I think Stephanie mentioned earlier, or you may find a grad student that partners with you on something that they want to turn that he or she wants to turn into a master's degree, you know, what I mean? A master's degree thesis or something like that. So it can range all over the lot. But I think it's important for you to go there sort of with a somewhat of an idea of what it is you'd like the arrangement to me.
Right. And and so if it's a journalism project, then would that and forgive me if I'm asking obvious question, an
obvious question. Okay.
Would you then necessarily go to the journalism department, or depends on what you have in mind? Probably depends
on what you have in mind. But But yeah, I mean, certainly if there's if there is a journalism department and I think all the six universities have a journalism department or a communications journalism so yeah, it might be it might, you know, make most sense there, but you never know. I mean, if it's a healthcare related thing you might end up in a in a medical school.
Forgive me could you partner with more than one school?
Yes, you're I mean, I don't know why you couldn't I think it becomes more difficult it might put more of a burden on you frankly than them and so so I'm not so sure you want to do the whole as a giant enjoying have all six joining you know
I'm gonna go to the whole state university system
Craig Just the one of the things you know I've mentioned it in the past is, um the you know, if you find a university partner for your specific project, that may be more political science for you know, political or governmental related and you want to go to the political science department or public administration or any of those go for it or medical, or we actually know we're talking at Rutgers law at one point about someone bringing in someone from Rutgers law firm specific project so it's really open ended I think one of the things is all six of our university members have so many y'all have such a wealth of schools and departments and resources amongst their faculty and their grad students and their staff and their research institutes that they can you know, there's some you there's so many much of a wealth of it. And as a one of the things is I know several of our Board Representatives are faculty within the within the communications or journalism departments. One is a Arts and Sciences dean at NJIT, Audrey is in the president's office a cane? A Mockler. Chris is out working Montclair says Mockler sales representative of Stephanies at Center for Cooperative Media and I'm sure knows other journalism related people in Montclair State. To all that, so there's definitely a lot you're gonna say.
Yeah, and I'm sorry, I don't mean to dominate the session. I just Oh, so then it goes without saying that. The point people for representing each university on the board, so that would be the starting point.
Yes, you can either. And first off, Stephanie just put into the chat, the each so each of the board consists of each member University has one board member appoints one board member several appointed by the governor or legislative leadership, and then the board appoints several members on top of that, and all of it is on NJ civic info.org on the board list. Please note Audrey as Keynes representatives not currently listed, but that's because Kane just became a member University. And she in a couple months ago, and Audrey just joined the board two hours ago. So it's definitely a we're definitely throwing her into the deep end a little bit. Um,
Jason, you're up next.
So we are you know, so basically do that. And also feel free to email just info at NJ cific info.org. Because we can get that to the appropriate point person as well. If you can't remember, you don't want to you're looking for someone specifically, feel free to reach out to us that way, and we will get you connected to the appropriate person.
Hi, everyone, and thanks for holding this event today. It's very informative. My question comes down to the fiscal partnership. That's certainly one of the more looming concerns I have and I watched the recording of your previous session. And one of you spoke to the effect that sometimes getting a university partner to serve as the fiscal partner has been bureaucratically cumbersome I, I'm looking at my I'm an adjunct professor at Montclair State, I don't think I'm gonna have a problem having them as my university partner, I know a number of faculty would be be happy to partner with me. But I would like to get the university to ask to serve as my fiscal sponsor as well. Any advice on navigating that? Who is the point person at MSU? I should go to and if that doesn't work out, if I have to reach out to an NPO or other agency in the state of New Jersey, what's in it for them? I know a lot of MPOs will do fiscal sponsorship for these types of things. But they might want to take a cut of the funding whatever percentage that is, is that Something that should be added into the budget, let's say 10% of the overhead would go to the fiscal sponsor. Any thoughts?
Okay, so I'm going to take portions of that. And then I'll probably ask Chris and Stefanie to jump on as well, is in terms of serving with the NPO. And someone outside serving as a fiscal agent, yes, you should incorporate that into your budget, if that is going to be something that you anticipate, we did have this come up with one of the universities serving as a fiscal agent, where they were giving us what they would ask for overhead unless the unless we, as the consortium, put a limit on that. And we did put a limit on that to say that we that the overhead for a fiscal agent, I believe it was 10%. But I don't quote me on that I want to go I've done in front of me with a 10%. Cap, it was 10%. Thank you. So we do put that we did put that cap in place. So I know the universities are willing, at least I know, the universities are willing to abide by that if we did not have the cap in place, we'll go higher. Check with any nonprofit organization in terms that you if it's not a university, are they going to abide by that 10%? Or are they going to put in higher for you, but that's what we've set as a limit on our end. And you could tell them that, in terms of when we talked about the bureaucracy is some of that wasn't as it never existed before. With setting up some of these systems, and some grant awards and letters and agreements, a lot of that was also setting up this for the first time. So we did sort of set up that template for getting these agreements, these Fiscal Sponsorship agreements in place. And I'm going to just I know, one area that you could also a reach out to is community foundations in Montclair or another community out of work for you where they may still be able to serve as your fiscal agent. And I'm going to defer to Stephanie on anything specific to Montclair and Chris, anything specific to Community Foundation's? Sure.
And Stephanie, we can talk privately. Yeah, I
can. Yeah, I don't have
any Zion no problem. Yeah.
I probably would be reluctant to use the Community Foundation. I mean, only, I think, if you had a, I mean, maybe, but if you had a nonprofit organization with which you're familiar, and by that, I mean, you might know the head of it, or some of the senior staff there and ask them if they'd be the fiscal sponsor? And if so, whether they would charge you anything. I mean, there's no requirement that they charge you something, some might just do it because your friends or whatever. And they just have, you know, they just have to give us the kind of information that Stephanie mentioned, to demonstrate that they're 501 C, three. Sure.
And then that, so let's say just to keep the numbers simple, if my total budget is $50,000, then and if the nonprofit once five, pp. 10%. So then I said then my what my proposal would include would be a for a total of $55,000. Is that Is that how it would work?
No, 50, and the five you'd have your your borrows would be 45. Now there's, you'd get 45 of the 50.
I see. Okay. If okay, but if my operate, let's say if my operating costs were 50,000,
then you'd have to ask for, you know, 55, five
bits for the by five, right. Math was never my strong subject. Hence why I went into journalism. So okay, great. Thank you all for that information. Yep.
Okay, and I know this was in the chap I want to just clarify, is yes, a board member can be the university partner. And our row and board member Colonel Houseman has been serving as the university partner. And I know, I don't think he's formally university partner, but Kim Harrison, our member or member from TCNJ, has been involved with at least one of the grant recipients in the first round. I know she was involved with at least one of the applicants first round as well.
Any other questions from anyone? You want to raise your hand drop something in the chat? This is your time Latin. This is the last open session with the board members before the grants are due to take advantage. Cragin another question? Go ahead. You want to just read from chat? It's fine to
you. Okay. Yes. I see. It's whatever they want on their projects. Yes. Yeah, so like, well
Say in this meeting where at some point, all of a sudden some Wait a minute, this could be a two pronged attack, in effect.
Just bought it. Okay, if you were better, you would still be subjected to the $75,000. Cap.
I hate I don't like you anymore. So that
is a totally JV like you converge to combine together. But if you're working and applying separately, but working together Yeah, just edits to projects that are working together. So yeah,
no, it just struck me that there on this meeting, there's probably like minded people, you know, with journalism or civic, you know, civic minded backgrounds and so on that there might be some nice.
Yeah, Craig, that's a good idea. Maybe we should have another open session where anyone who wants to share their project, we could schedule it next week, if you want to show up and talk with other folks. Workshop ideas, look for partnerships. I'm happy to set that up the show.
Does anybody else think that would be?
I saw some nodding. Yeah.
Yeah. Sounds great. Yeah.
Put on the list, Joe. And, Joe, you're up next. Thanks, Greg.
Can you guys hear? Yeah. All right. Cool. So real quick, on the the application, you guys have a question. If your organization has a co leadership structure, please use the space below to provide the information on the same thing in regards to the leadership. So I don't have a co leadership structure. But I do have teammates, do you guys want to know about their information at all? Should I include that or just omit that question? Ultimately?
If you'd like to, you can include that. Okay.
Well, let me ask this to to what capacity are they teammates.
So in the sense that they execute the production, so I'm a part of the execution as well, but I'm the strategist and planner, but they are execution. So say, for example, if I write the story, they're there. They're the videographers, they're the camera people, they're the editors, things that nature, it can't be done without them and vice versa. But at the same time, it's not like it's a partnership or, you know, there's a vote, so to speak, where they can rule me or vice versa is just they're executing the vision.
Okay, well, you certainly can. I'm sure you can work that information in there somewhere. But it's not required for that specific area that you're speaking to.
But there was one other question. I have no mind. There's a I think it's like one of the last questions that she asked if there are any other entities or organizations that you feel the Crusader should know. I was just curious the purpose of that question.
Just in general, just find out about if you know of other groups that may not be on our radar screen that we can just include on our mailing list, if not in this round of grants, but in the future. It was Dhabi's overall organization. We're trying to expand our reach, not only for people to hear about us, but there's so many groups that are doing work across the state that we may not know about at this point. So we want to definitely learn about it because there's so many things in all corners of New Jersey that we may not know about a community group that's doing something. So it's just really to have that on our radar screen. Because we figure you know, it's crowd
sourced make sense. That makes sense. I was gonna just say, if you guys can change that field from a single line to a multi text area,
because right now you're going to be done. 30 seconds show. Good calculate.
And then there's one of the place to other project collaborators. Once again, it's a single line if you can make it a multi line, please.
Done. Got it. Thank you fast
Joe, and my team is very fast. Yeah, that's
what you got to worry about what you're thinking sometimes just show
good anything else? So you're good? Okay, cool. There's one question that came into me via DM a few minutes ago. I'm gonna read that out. What if myself fiscal sponsor also submitted their own application. My answer to them was that should be fine. Because the board is fine with one fiscal sponsor doing multiple projects. We did that in the last round. And I can't imagine that would change that correct? Yeah,
we're, we're good with that. Yeah.
That's great. Thanks, Teresa. All right, it's easy. You're up.
Okay, so you pretty much answered my question. Because I was gonna ask that I was I'd Hello, everyone. First of all, um, I was on the last session. And it was addressed, that if an organization submitted to program requests, that of course that you know, you're not going to fund two programs from Oregon one organization. But then my question was about the fiscal sponsor, but let's say, you know, PLL is a fiscal sponsor, for a community group or an individual's program. And then we also submit an application, would the funding be, you know, kind of weird if we're chosen? You know, of course, I'm imagining this in an ideal world. So we
obviously in that case, would be looking at your organization. And I'm going to see, is your organization a PLL? As the example for this one? Yeah. Medical, we'd be looking at PLL as the grant applicant, differently, the PLL as the fiscal sponsor, in that, and I'm just again, using, let's say, ABC, you're the fiscal sponsor for ABC. We'd be looking at you differently because that's EB C's application, not PLLs application. Gotcha. Okay. Thank you.
Thanks, Aziza. Lee wack, you're up next? Join us on stage.
On stage Oh, my age,
we don't have a big wheel for you to spend now. Well, I mean,
that's unfortunate. I always wanted to be on that show. But I'll make the most of it. I'm Lee wag with Chalkbeat. Newark wanted to ask, I mean, kind of like a big picture question. Obviously, you all had a first round of funding. And, you know, that that all went out. And they were, you know, smaller grants about half the size. And now, you know, like, as far as average, and now they're, they're larger grants. Maybe it seems a little bit more money, I guess, what, what were some of like, the learnings from the first round, and kind of like, the perspective through with this perspective with which you're looking to allocate funds this time, I know that that's that's described, you know, on the site, but I just wanted to use this opportunity, other feedback from you, Stephanie, or for many of the board members on that. Because I go ahead,
yeah, it's a little early to give you too in depth, a sense of the learnings partly because, you know, remember, we gave out the money in like, May is when it started. So some of them are like eight months in, and some of them are much further along than others. I mean, some of them are, you know, still getting themselves really off the ground. So it's a little early. We've had conversations with each of the grantees in the last couple of weeks to get some sense of what's going on. But I would tell you that I think it's gonna end up being mixed. I mean, some people took the money and ran with it. Others didn't. We've always thought of it as seed money, really. And that's why we're now thinking oak, a, you know, we put in there specifically that first round grantees are eligible to apply for a second round, because we believe that if somebody is really doing something gotten off the ground and need a little more boost, yeah, we don't want to just say no, because we only get first round grants. I mean, you know, we we'd like to think that we could provide some additional support, and maybe even to increase that from 35,000 to some other number. All that is basically in flux. And we are trying to build this car at the same time that we're running the car. And that's a little tricky. And we and we don't profess at for any minute that we have all the answers. I mean, that's why we keep telling people don't look to us for guidance, other than you know, we'll tell you what our our general sense of things is and what our focus areas are. But at the end, we're looking to all of you to give us the ideas on how to make this work because nobody, I mean, very few people in the country have figured out how to do this on a nonprofit basis. From a financially successful standpoint. Some you know, we've got some worryingly successful sites, but Some of these people are working 100 hours a week. And they're not making a whole lot of money doing it. So we, we are all struggling to figure out the financial model that works best. Because ultimately, we're not going to be able to fund year after year after year after year as a, as something gets established and grows some, it's just not going to be in the cart, so and so a, it's sort of seed money be Yeah, we give a second round of it. But three, not for the long haul, probably, and our learnings will come out more and more as we go. And we're trying to be transparent and give that information as we go. Also, each year, we are required to file an annual report with the legislature. And when we do that, we will hopefully be able to give more color to all this and we have so far. I don't know if anybody else on the board wants to add to that. But yeah, I
was just going to say the other thing. You know, in terms of learning, again, this is brand new. And then we're doing it's still in the middle of a pandemic, which has I know a couple of the grantees had in their budget plans for on site events that then had to be moved to virtual events. And and so none of this has gone according you know, as much as everyone wanted to so you know, perhaps if this had started 10 years ago, before COVID hit, we might have one or two more answers. Probably no more than that, because it is still new. But I know, just because of the situation that we're in, and when Oh, McCrone hit, I know that put a couple of the grantees. It's set them scrambling. So there, hopefully, we will continue on the same trajectory that we're on right now. And we will backtrack anymore, we'll keep moving in the positive direction. But it's it's difficult to say it really is.
Its industry has been so upended, by the way the advertising world collapsed, and how, you know, basically, the the the mostly known for what many, many years now of how the model works financially is gone. And so trying to figure it out is is only for the people who are thinking about this for the long in the long view. I don't think anybody's going to quit come in and make a quick hit. And then and be successful. This is something that's going to be take everybody working together and building on each other's successes over time.
And Lee Joe's just dropped a link in the chat to the Civic info consortiums annual report, which has some stuff in it. And then I know that the board this communications committee is working on a post that I hope you know, will be published in the coming weeks that looks back at some of the work that they've done so far.
What you see is a lot of the first round grant recipients are getting have done a lot accomplished a lot more and have moved the ball forward on their end. It's given us we have we are able to now jump in more in terms of talking about what they're doing. I think that's one of the things that he was setting for us that we can finally start showing some of those deliverables. Actually one of one thing is one of our first grammar grant recipients. The players had an enhancement committee out of Warren County launched their new new site Ridgeview echo review echo calm. It was launched just yesterday. It's a new site focused on letters town, Hardwick freely highs in and Knowlton out of Warren County. So definitely check them out to see a lot of the work they're doing. But I know I've talked to some of our other grant recipients and some of them Hamilton Gazette, got an Atlanta County has really their projects has been to expand their Spanish and have a Spanish language trans addition and also to have get more youth involved in training, working with them. So I know they've been they've really moved the ball forward on their end as well. By no Teresa, you talk to a few that really does tremendous work and all of our recipients. And one thing definitely that we have learned is, you know, we, you know, we put up the guidelines, and obviously that helps narrow things down a bit. We want to see what's coming in from all of you and from other people around the state. Because, you know, that's, that's where we get we see a lot of these things because a lot of the 74 applications that came into the first round, you know, unfortunately we get it we were only able to fund 14 of them because of the amount of money that we could work with. But they were all so creative and insightful and and innovative and touchdown corners of the state and different types of things. And I know in my case, if you would ask me, for the applications came in, what types of applications would come in? Or what types of projects, I probably would have given you one answer, that would not have covered some of the stuff that a lot of stuff that came in in that first round, and I'm really looking forward to having that happen in the second round. I'm just having that because I think that really is, what drives this is it's what is coming through the door and what we can work, you know, what is there? Because, you know, it's there's so many things going around. And, you know, and definitely, besides telling us about organizations, feel free to tell people you know, about us type deal. You know, in journalism, even community groups, that Blairstown project, actually came out of a community organization in Blairstown. That was like, We need local news in our community, what can we do so, feel free just to spread the word because they may not apply in this round, but they may apply in another one. So definitely want to hear from you. And before I start talking about what's on the screen, if you Does anyone else have any questions? Just
this more of a like a comment, I think is I think it's awesome that you all also identified a foundation that is looking to bolster funds, like in the space and like that's, that's, that's really interesting to think about as, as you we continue to support nonprofit news like so. So that that's something I think New that really shows us as you know, aspiring grantees, that you all are thinking really creatively about that and as some something I appreciate. So I just want you to
thankfully, I, I will tell you that, you know, in two for eight years, I ran the Geraldine R dodge Foundation. And I spent much of those eight years trying to get other foundations to commit to local news, it's not easy. I mean, there's not the climate that's been created, you know, whether you regardless what your view is on politics, the climate that's been created by the partisanship that's going on, and the attacks on the news industry, has caused a lot of people to take pause in terms of being willing to donate money to it. You know, you had some after the 2020 election, or 2016 election, you had some big spur, you know, spurt of interest in news, and you saw increase in subscriptions, and a number of newspapers across the country. But by and large, there's been it's difficult to find people and foundations, both wealthy individuals, and foundations willing to support local news efforts. So that's why we were thrilled to get additional support. And it came from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in this particular instance, for the health care types of things. But, you know, I don't know if they are interested beyond that or not, you know, that's the foundation typically have some level of their physical, you know, they get one idea, and they run with it for a few years, and then they run to some other idea. So at any rate, so yeah, it's a challenge. And we are working hard to try to expand this to not just have money coming from the state of New Jersey, but to leverage that money and get foundations to kick into because we have too many places that are news deserts in New Jersey, just and imagine if it's that way in New Jersey, which is one of the wealthiest states and most populous states in the country. We got a lot of areas of the country where there's just no news coverage whatsoever.
And just to one thing is to piggyback off that is, you know, we've tried to do as much your provide as much for baseness connecting you and giving you ideas for other foundations, other funding, we've had a cohort of our grantees working, we've worked with them and outside provider on journalism, you know, just a training program with an outside provider that's providing a lot of tips and answering questions, etc. I know Stephanie, I don't know how many how many questions you and Joe are fielding from Grant recipients over the last, you know, since last year, just different things going forward. I know I've been talking to answering questions from some of our grant recipients and who've had questions from me on my back. My background, I'm a journalist and former editor was Phil patch. So I wanted to pick my brain on different things going forward. So one of the things we've been definitely trying to do is how could we leverage who we know or what resources we can provide For our grant recipients, because we don't, you know, we want, you know, some of these projects are one offs, you know, they're like, you know, organization was weighed in there, you know, this is definitely just a one time project or something. But a lot of them are ongoing and or the organ, the project may be a one off, but the organization is ongoing. And we definitely want to see a thriving local journalism, ecosystem, local news, local news and information that's better fit for a lot of what we're doing ecosystem across the state because, you know, we're seeing news deserts and all over the state, and I do work all over the country. And, you know, we'll just say you go into some portions in other states, and it is literally, you know, you're hoping to find it, you're hoping to find any type of news source, reputable news source sometimes. So it's definitely we were wanna, we're looking to leverage as many resources as possible for people because we want you to be successful. Anyone else have any other questions? We've got a few more minutes here. So if anyone has any other questions, this is your last chance. came up before I wrap up, Teresa, Chris, Audrey, do you have any other thing? Oh, actually, wait, the ideal. Okay, so leave the ideal of major donors individual supporting this is huge. someone new to philanthropy. I think it's so interesting, the most philanthropic dollars come from individuals, I feel that most nonprofit news organizations get their money from foundations. Ah, so, we do want to expand on that at all.
Um, you know, it's just an observation. Um, you know, I think that that's something I struggle with my work with Chalkbeat is, is I mean, most of our, and we're news focused on education in New York, and several other cities, seven other cities. Um, and I just feel like a lot of my our funding comes from foundations. Now, I mean, it could be totally different for a lot of people in this in this group. But um, you know, the idea of not only foundations, like Robert Wood Johnson, but also, like individuals concerned citizens across New Jersey, that they care about this, in are realizing that they are not getting the local news that they they once did, or that they, they could be valuable. So like, anyway, I'm just, I'm just saying I appreciate the entire effort. And, you know, I'm excited about it. Going forward, so appreciate you awesome, this
thing. So, before I do the wrap up, Teresa, Chris, or Audra, do you have anything else you'd want to add?
Now we all we appreciate everyone's interest in, in this program.
Okay, so, Joe, could you put up the other thing the put back the card would be invoked? Thank you. So please, again, a few I know you probably you know, obviously, they're going to do another trying to put another session together just for a collaborative between grant applicants. But if you have any additional questions, please email us at info at NJ civic info.org. And if you need to reach out to a university representative, you can check our website at NJ civic info.org. As I said Kane is not going to be listed there as of yet, but should be soon. But if you if you have trouble getting you to get in contact with them and can't find that, feel free to email us again at info at NJ cific info.org. And let us and we'll be able to connect you please follow us on Twitter at at NJ civic info or on Facebook and J cific. info on Facebook. So we'll have other updates there. Feel free to reach out with any questions. And just before we wrap up, I want to thank everyone here and I'll also center we'll be sending out a follow up email with the recordings and materials soon. But I want to thank everyone for attending this afternoon. Thank my four colleagues, and in particular want to thank Stephanie Joe when the entire team at the Center for Cooperative Media without their support, and their back office work. None of this would be possible. And in Joe's case, who I think we've talked to you about five new assignments in the last hour or so. Thank you. So thank you for everyone and have a great afternoon.
Thank you. Thank you very much
Blood everyone bye bye
thank you everyone have a great weekend
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