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More Than 2,900 Children to Benefit from Princeton Area Community Foundation COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund Grants for Summer Programs

The Princeton Area Community Foundation has awarded $199,000 in COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Fund grants to nonprofits holding summer programs that will include instruction to help students overcome learning loss caused by the pandemic.

“Through these grants, we are helping 25 nonprofits engage 2,900 children in educational and social-emotional learning programs,” said Jeffrey M. Vega, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “We know COVID-19 caused significant disruptions to education, especially for students living in under-resourced communities, and we hope these grants will help young people rebound from some of that learning loss and re-engage children in the many community-based programs that were forced to shut down last year. We also invite other donors to join us in working to help nonprofits recover from the pandemic.”

For 30 years, the Community Foundation has used the power of philanthropy to make a difference in communities, connecting donors with the causes they care about and providing grants and educational opportunities to nonprofits.

The Community Foundation created the COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Fund in March 2020, and in addition to the nearly $200,000 in grants awarded for these summer programs, it has previously awarded more than $3 million in grants to over 100 nonprofits working to address food insecurity, rental assistance, mental health, and other social service needs. Some of those previous grants were awarded in collaboration with other grantmaking programs at the Community Foundation, including The Bunbury Fund, the Community Impact Grants/The Burke Foundation Legacy Grants, and the Fund for Women and Girls.

“Philanthropy is most effective when partners come together, harnessing resources to have impact and promote well-being in communities throughout our region,” said Sonia Delgado, Community Foundation trustee and chair of the Committee on Impact.  “We are so grateful for the time, talent, and contributions of our funding partners, our committee, and core team members.”

The Community Foundation created the fund by partnering with other foundations, companies and individual donors. The late Betty Wold Johnson, George H. and Estelle M. Sands Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Bunbury Fund, The Burke Foundation, Princeton University, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Fund for Women and Girls, NJM Insurance Group, Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, Princeton University Class of 1965, Janssen, Billtrust, Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Glenmede, Bryn Mawr Trust, and Investors Foundation were among the major funders. Make a gift to the Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Fund here.

In preparation to begin a third phase of funding of COVID Relief and Recovery, the Community Foundation reached out to nonprofits and other stakeholders to learn about pressing needs throughout the region. Learning loss caused by the pandemic and helping prepare students for a return to classrooms this fall were among the highest priorities cited during those conversations.

That local feedback echoed findings reported statewide.

report released in March by JerseyCAN, a nonprofit focused on education, determined that a majority of the state’s third- through eighth-graders were not on grade level at the start of the 2020-21 school year because of the pandemic. That report also predicted that if learning loss continued along the same path, some 393,000 students in grades 3-8 would not be at grade level in English Language Arts and 430,000 students would be behind in math by the end of the school year.

Grants were awarded to the following summer programs:

 Boys & Girls Club of Trenton & Mercer County, Trenton, will partner with The College of New Jersey on a tutoring program three days a week.

 Capital Area YMCA, Trenton, will provide academic support to students from the city as well as Ewing and Lawrence.

 Catholic Youth Organization of Mercer County, Trenton and Ewing, will provide assistance with virtual schoolwork and enrichment through a Book Club reading challenge and special events focused on science.

 Every Child Valued, Lawrence, will run a full-day summer camp, providing reading, language arts, and math academic enrichment programs for children who live in Eggerts Crossing Village.

 Hamilton Township School District, Hamilton, will run four Pop-Up School House events at schools districtwide.

 Help Self Community Development Corporation, Trenton, to provide math enrichment, literacy support and reading comprehension, financial literacy programming, and behavioral/social/emotional/mental health support to students over the summer.

 HomeFront, based in Lawrence and serving residents countywide, will hire a teacher to create lessons for a student summer camp, and provide one-on-one programming for youngsters who need additional academic assistance.

 HomeWorks Trenton, Trenton, will provide remedial tutoring and will focus on social-emotional learning and mental health issues during its summer program.

 Isles, Trenton, will collaborate with other camps and youth groups to bring students to its gardens for STEAM-focused lessons about nutrition, gardening, and bee pollinators.

 James R. Halsey Foundation of the Arts, Trenton, will bring a counselor into its Summer Film Series Program to talk to students about the effects of the pandemic.

 Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Trenton, for a week-long summer immersion program for Trenton and Princeton high school juniors and seniors enrolled in its Futuro Program.

 Mercer Street Friends, based in Trenton, but serving residents countywide, will work with teachers and principals to create all-day academic enrichment programs at Trenton’s Gregory Elementary and Rivera Middle Schools, and will also run a summer preschool for up to 70 children.

 Millhill Child & Family Development, Trenton, will collaborate with Rutgers University on a STEM camp, as well as offer literacy programs at a summer camp for students in grades K-4, and a summer job training program for young people in high school and college.

 PEI Kids, based in Lawrence, but serving residents countywide, will provide a summer program for high-risk youth who have been involved with, or are at risk of becoming involvement with, the court-system.

 Princeton Family YMCA, based in Princeton, but serving residents countywide, will run a summer day camp based on a holistic approach to programming, including social-emotional learning.

 Princeton Nursery School, Princeton. Its summer preschool includes a dual language program and preparation for kindergarten.

 RISE, based in Hightstown, will provide a summer academic enrichment program, and hold a youth leadership conference for students from the borough and East Windsor.

 The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey, Trenton, will provide academic programming designed to address learning loss, with increased support for children of immigrant families. Weekly summer camps will be offered in their Family Success Centers. Activities will support transition to in-person schooling for children, including those enrolled in its Head Start Camp. CHSNJ will partner with Fernbrook Farm, Rutgers 4H, and SNAP-Ed. A STEM Outdoor Camp, sponsored by the state Department of Education, will also be offered.

 Trenton Children’s Chorus, based in Trenton, and serving children countywide, will run a summer camp that will include a Learning Academy, with instruction on study strategies and writing workshops.

 Trenton Circus Squad, based in Trenton and serving youngsters countywide; its summer programming will include a social-emotional learning component.

 Trenton Free Public Library, Trenton, will hold a 10-week summer reading program and book clubs for Foundation Academies students, as well as other youth programs, such as Reinas Y Diamantes. The Youth Services Department also plans to sponsor a 6-week writing workshop and the Bots & Books program, combining early-level Lego robotics with literacy tutoring. The library will also offer take-home STEM projects for young people, ages 13 to 18, to work on over a 4-week period.

 Trenton Music Makers, Trenton, will hold a summer session at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School that will focus on reading and storytelling and will hold the “Trenton Music Makers Reading Challenge” to award prizes for reading.

 UrbanPromise Trenton, Trenton. Its Hybrid Summer Camp will include an educational component to prevent summer learning loss. It will include lessons to develop analytical thinking and creative expression, as well as art, science, and music programming.

 Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania, based in Princeton, will work this summer in Trenton, by partnering with the Capital Area YMCA to provide arts programming and theater improvisation workshops, and social emotional learning lessons at its summer camps.

 YWCA of Princeton, based in Princeton and serving residents countywide, will provide three summer programs that will include social and emotional learning lessons. It will offer childcare for youngsters ages 3-6, and ballet and robotics classes for children ages 4-8.

Learn more about the Princeton Area Community Foundation at

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