ECS–NJ Awards $111k in Grants

ECS–NJ Spring 2022 Grants: $111k Issued to Nine Recipients

In April, Episcopal Community Services of the Diocese of New Jersey (ECS–NJ) issued $111K in ECS–NJ Grants to fund Nine projects in seven counties in New Jersey.

The ECS–NJ grants are designed to expand existing compassion and justice ministries of congregations or make new ones possible. Projects address one or more of the following:

  • To meet human need in underserved and marginalized communities, especially communities of color.
  • To engage, collaborate and partner with other organizations, including faith-based, secular, community, governmental, etc.
  • To encourage advocacy for issues relating to social justice, including spearheading new advocacy efforts.

If your congregation is considering applying for a grant this fall and would like to talk to a member of the grants team, please email ECS. We want to help.

13 applications were received this cycle, from 8 counties in our diocese, focused on various needs, including housing insecurity, education, food insecurity, community building, etc. The applications were reviewed by our 9 volunteer grant readers and approved by the ECS–NJ Advisory Council. The 9 grant recipients this spring cycle include:

Contributed by Maggie Raynor, ECS-NJ Advisory Council


Community Outreach to the Homeless
Project focus: Housing Insecurity
Grant amount: $15,000

Christ Church is closely affiliated with the Toms River Housing and Homelessness Coalition, which opened the Housing Resource Center (HRC) in Toms River. The homeless situation in this area has grown enormously in recent years. The purpose of this grant is to hire an outreach coordinator to organize and send teams of trained people into the community to engage people where they are (tents in the woods or cars, etc.) to begin the preliminary intake procedures for assistance. They are partnering with HABCore, who will provide professional expertise, and with Georgian Court University who will send social work interns to assist. Lay and clergy volunteers from various churches will also be providing assistance.


The Out of the Box Club: A Math & Science Club to Develop STEM Skills Using Experiential Learning
Grant amount: $8,000
Project focus: Education

St. Mark’s is partnering with the Plainfield Grassroots Community Development Corporation (PGCDC) to offer The Out of the Box Club, a math and science program, for the children in Plainfield and other underserved communities in Central New Jersey. This club includes elementary and middle school students and was created to promote the love of math and science to these younger students. The Out of the Box Club has been expanded by adding a technology component—Mad Science! With this grant, St. Mark’s will be able to purchase the necessary tools for the new classes. All this mentoring will build math and science skills to have these children well-prepared before they enter high school.

Community Housing Clearinghouse

Grant amount: $15,000
Project focus: Housing Insecurity

St. Peter’s is a founding partner of the Emergency Housing and Advocacy Program (EHAP) in Freehold. It began as an initiative nearly 20 years ago to obtain housing for homeless men during the winter months. This grant will used to hire a part-time housing assistance coordinator to manage the program. In addition, they will purchase computers, inexpensive cell phones and other tools needed to help get their clients into the workforce and gain the ability to connect with other safety net service providers.


Feed My Sheep
Grant amount: $15,000
Project focus: Food Insecurity

This grant will enable the expansion of St. Paul’s current food ministry program which has been in existence for almost thirty years. The church currently provides breakfast and dinner every Sunday for approximately one hundred poor and/or unhomed community members, and lunch every Friday for approximately twenty-five people. Construction/renovation is needed to the room adjacent to their existing pantry, to expand for storage of non-perishable food items. St. Paul’s partners with a multitude of churches and non-religious organizations in the Camden area for supplies and assistance.


Branches After School Instruction and Inspirational Care (aka BASIICS)
Grant amount: $10,000
Project focus: Youth After School Program

BASIICS will offer K-12 students from low-income households and families on public assistance in Cape May County a safe-haven after school hours where the children may work on homework and other assignments. They will be in an inter-generational environment, surrounded by caring individuals with different life experiences, expertise and backgrounds who can provide assistance and guidance. Cape May County perennially ranks the lowest in the state for child welfare.


Fresh is Best
Grant amount: $8,000
Project focus: Food Insecurity

St. James founded and has successfully run the Bradley Food Pantry since 1982. The pantry currently serves over 800 families a month. The goal of St. James is to have fresh fruits and vegetables available to their clients every day. These items will supplement their canned and packaged food items that currently stock the pantry shelves. St. James will be sourcing these fresh products weekly from local vendors and from Fulfill. During the height of the local growing season, they expect to receive fresh produce donated by local farmers and gardens. This grant will get them through the first year of funding.


Casa Amistad (Friendship House)
Grant amount: $15,000
Project focus: Hispanic Ministry

This grant supports the redevelopment of the parish rectory as a center for Hispanic ministry. Casa Amistad will serve as a gracious gathering place for ministry with Latino people and will become a visible landmark in the wider community. In addition, this homelike environment will be a bridge between the Spanish and English ministries of the parish. Casa Amistad will also serve as a residence and office for a Hispanic missioner who will maintain a pastoral presence and provide leadership initiatives on Holy Trinity’s campus and the local region.


Trinity Radical Well-being Program
Grant amount: $15,000
Project focus: Wrap-around services for people at risk in the community

This grant enables the expansion and continuation of Trinity’s Radical Well-being Program. The funding for this grant will go primarily towards expanding the offerings of the program and for the staff required to do this year-round program. This includes supporting the housing of program members for three months and devoting more staff hours to other aspects of the program: financial literacy training, job search counseling, community building exercise classes, and recovery resources.


ServSafe and Life Skills for Ex-Offenders
Grant amount: $10,000
Project focus: Ex-Offender Rehabilitation and Mentoring

Trinity Cathedral and other houses of faith in Trenton, along with the local Fathers to Men organization, will counsel and assist ex-offenders with their transition into the workplace. With ServSafe and with life skills training, ex-offenders will be afforded better employment opportunities. Introduction into the ServSafe courses (which are held at Mercer County Community College) increases the ability of ex-offenders to obtain employment in the hospitality industry. Individuals will be able to earn certificates for various skills—each certificate earned is a step toward re-integration into the workforce.

Learn more about our Fall 2021 Grant Recipients here

About Episcopal Community Services of the Diocese of New Jersey

ECS–NJ focuses on proactively addressing human needs and relentlessly working against both social and racial injustice.

ECS–NJ fulfills its mission mandate by:

  • Raising funds across the diocese.
  • Networking and building meaningful relationships between our congregations.
  • Giving grants to churches of the Diocese to help to expand existing ministries, or to encourage exciting new initiatives.
  • Advocating for the reform of social structures and systems, which are unjust, and fail to respect the dignity of every human being.

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