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Grants to New Jersey Grassroots Organizations to Protect Cultural and Natural Resources in Eligible Areas

Small Grants Program


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Array ( )

Geographic Focus
USA: New Jersey: Highlands Region, which includes portions of Bergen, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren Counties

Important Dates
Deadline: 06/01/23 Receipt Save

Grant Description
Grants of up to $5,000 to New Jersey grassroots organizations to protect cultural and natural resources in eligible areas. Funding is intended to support projects that advance a strong regional plan, promote cultural and environmental protection efforts, provide assistance for capacity building, improve conservation awareness and education, or fight against commercial or other potentially harmful development initiatives. Funded projects must be located within the New Jersey Highlands Region, which includes portions of Bergen, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren Counties.

Grants are intended to fund projects that meet at least one of the following criteria, which are described in order of priority:

  1. Projects that focus on developing a stronger Highlands Regional Master Plan, and/or implementation of the Regional Master Plan. For example, projects that identify, map, or verify mapped Highlands natural or cultural resources or monitor the implementation of RMP standards at the local level; projects that advocate for and result in municipal conformance with the RMP;
  2. Projects that would establish a precedent advancing strong environmental or cultural protection in the Highlands. For example, hiring a consultant to help achieve the most environmentally protective decision by NJDEP, the Highlands Council, the Office of Planning Advocacy/State Planning Commission, the NJ Department of Agriculture on a Highlands matter, or for meeting local affordable housing needs;
  3. Projects that may not help set a precedent, but would assist an organization to fight against a development in the Highlands Region – such as residential, commercial, agribusiness projects, etc. – that seriously threatens or damages natural or cultural resources in the Region;
  4. Projects that support capacity building of Highlands Region grassroots organizations, for example, a membership mailing, a strategic planning exercise, a workshop, conference or public educational event, etc.;
  5. Projects that educate about Highlands water and resources, and/or increase public awareness of the use and conservation of Highlands water.

Small Grants to protect cultural resources: Grants may also be awarded for projects related to cultural resources in the Highlands Region.  A grant may address issues with both natural and cultural resource components.  As referenced above, projects with both natural and cultural components will be reviewed under all aspects of the guidelines. Cultural resources reflect the process of human settlement and its interconnection with the natural environment.  The types of resources include industrial, commercial, and below-ground archaeology as well as historic architectural sites. For sample project descriptions, see the URL for Full Text below.


Additional Eligibility Criteria
Grants will be awarded to “grassroots organizations,” defined as non-governmental organizations with a total annual operating budget of less than $200,000. It is not necessary that an organization be incorporated, but to be eligible to apply for a grant, an organization must be a current member of the Coalition.

Additional Geographic Information:

For a list of the 88 Highlands municipalities, see

Please note: Grant awards may be used only for the applicant’s activities that support their stated project description. While the New Jersey Highlands Coalition understands that this may involve the applicant’s participation in the public policy process, an applicant may not use any New Jersey Highlands Coalition grant funds to lobby or otherwise attempt to influence the outcome of any public election, to carry on any voter registration drive or to conduct any other political activities that would be inconsistent with the tax-exempt status of the New Jersey Highlands Coalition.

Pre-Application Information
Applications for the 2023 Small Grants Program must be received by June 1, 2023.

The Small Grants Committee of the New Jersey Highlands Coalition considers grant applications at its late summer meetings each year. Applicants who wish to have grant requests considered should ensure that their applications are received in the Coalition’s office before the published June deadline of that year. Early submissions are encouraged. The Coalition’s Board of Trustees will approve the final award recipients in September and awards will be presented in October at the Coalition’s Annual Meeting.

Grants meeting at least one of the criteria above may be considered and granted on an emergency basis at any other time during the year. Application requirements are the same. A strong and persuasive case must be made for a grant being made outside the usual cycle.

Estimated Size of Grant
Grants will be awarded up to a maximum of $5,000.

Contact Information
Please submit applications to Julia Somers, Executive Director and Brielle Olshan, Director of Membership and Administration by email (Microsoft Word or PDF attachments only) to and Applications may also be sent via US mail to:

New Jersey Highlands Coalition
508 Main St.
Boonton, NJ 07005

For more information, please contact Julia Somers at 973-588-7190 x1 or the email above.

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