407 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08618  (609)695-3481
 NJLM logo 

William G. Dressel Jr, Executive Director - Michael J. Darcey, CAE, Asst Executive Director

Reaching for the Brass Ring

Pat Bohse
President
Bohse & Associates, Inc.

 


This “vactor” truck is the first of several equipment purchases the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission plans to make for its newly created Meadowlands Municipal Equipment Pool. From left are: New Jersey Meadowlands Commission Executive Director Robert Ceberio, Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell, Teterboro Borough Administrator Paul Busch, Moonachie Mayor Frederick Dressel, Jersey City Mayor L. Harvey Smith, Carlstadt Borough Administrator Jane Fontana, Lyndhurst Mayor James Guida, NJMC Commissioner Leonard Kaiser, NJMC Commissioner Eleanor M. Nissley, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Susan Bass Levin, Rutherford Councilwoman Maura Keyes, Rutherford Borough Administrator Timothy Stafford, Rutherford Downtown Manager Robin Reenstra-Bryant, Rutherford Downtown Partnership President Ed Ryan, Ridgefield Borough Administrator John Perkins, NJMC Commissioner Michael Gonnelli, and Little Ferry Mayor Thomas Quirico.

It’s no secret that New Jersey municipalities need money. Municipalities are aging — infrastructures are in need of upgrades, repairs, and in some cases, complete overhauls. Due to the growth in communities — not only in size, but also in diversity — the demand for services (schools, libraries, housing, public safety, social services, transportation, environmental protection, business incubators, etc.) is being severely strained. Municipalities are all facing the daunting task of having to provide more with less. Raising taxes, of course, is not an option!

When mayors, councilpersons and business administrators attend my workshops aimed at discussing ways to raise money for municipalities in non-traditional ways, I would love to think they came to see me. I know, however, they are looking for help in grasping the right brass ring for their municipality.

Two things a municipality needs to understand in this new world of fundraising/grantwriting, are “seeing the big picture” and identifying the funding options that are available. There are two types of funders that make grants: public funders and private funders. Most municipalities are familiar with public funders because that is where they get most of their money (federal, state and county sources, and local taxes).

The most recent priority niches that public funders look for are as follows:

• The federal government looks for pilot projects to fund so they can help build successful models for replication on a national basis—and then they fund the replications.

• The State of New Jersey is looking for projects that reduce taxpayer burden, promote innovative development, encourage shared services, and foster collaboration and partnership. At the Department of Community Affairs, applications that clearly demonstrate how the burden on taxpayers will be reduced, particularly through well-conceived resource sharing, are encouraged.

On the other hand, many municipalities have less experience partnering with private funders (foundations, corporations, individuals, associations, clubs, and faith-based organizations). It is the private funder who more frequently holds the most versatile brass ring.

The private funder might be unique in its specific requests. In general, this is what the private funder is looking for:

Corporations are looking to develop win-win relationships with municipalities. They need to see a return on their investment, in terms of corporate recognition, product endorsement, or developing a good relationship with the community. Their contribution could be dollars, goods, services or professional volunteers.

Foundations want to fund the needs of the community. In most cases, they will not fund a municipality directly. They will fund the benefit to the community, which would be provided by the grant recipient — most often a 501(c)(3) organization, working in partnership with the municipality.

In 2003, over $240 billion in funding was given to not-for-profit organizations to carry out their missions and visions. Of that amount, over 75 percent came from individuals. Therefore, individuals are a resource to be reckoned with — but, they normally want their donations to be tax-deductible.

This large pot of potential funding dollars is why municipalities should seriously consider forming their own 501(c)(3), working with an existing local not-for-profit (collaboration and partnership) or forming a community foundation as a conduit for receiving contributions from individuals.

New Jersey has 566 municipalities—and all of them have their funding success stories. We’ve collected a few to share.

Monmouth County In Middletown, the township purchased property near the train station and conducted a community needs assessment to determine the best use for this site. The overwhelming recommendation was to use it as an arts and cultural center. According to Rosemarie Peters, former mayor of Middletown and present township committee member, Middletown asked for volunteers to serve on an advisory council. Thirty enthusiastic residents with diverse backgrounds and skills signed up for the task. The group decided that in order to solicit money from corporations, foundations and individuals, they would form a 501(c)(3) organization.

To ensure that Middletown maintains close ties to the not-for-profit, the by-laws specify that three seats on the board of directors be reserved: one for a township committee person, one for a representative from the Parks and Recreation Department (which oversees the facility and pays the salary of the director), and one for a member of the Board of Education.

The not-for-profit organization has raised funds from a variety of sources. It was able to bring in $4,000 from the Monmouth County Arts Council, $5,000 from a local private foundation for scholarships, and a local Target recently gave them $2,000 for “Art Camp.” The center is now embarking on a capital campaign to add 15,000 square feet to the facility for “flex” art space—to be used for meetings, performances, classes and an art gallery. 

Passaic County Libraries have a unique relationship with their host communities. In New Jersey, all libraries are fully autonomous in operation by state law — however, library boards are appointed by their local government, and each of these entities approves their library’s budget. Without the help of the not-for-profit organizations, any substantial increase in a library’s budget would directly affect the municipal budget.

When the board of trustees of the Louis Bay 2nd Library in Hawthorne decided to raise money for an expansion, they formed The Hawthorne Community Library Foundation to attract funding. The Development Committee met weekly to research grant sources and attended grantwriting workshops on their own. The committee worked with the library director to write grant applications.

Their first attempts at seeking funding provided nothing. They had included expansion and renovation requests in the same proposals, and funders did not accept the mixed requests. Fortunately, the Foundation realized their need for someone in the grantwriting world to show them the ropes. They hired a consultant whose fees were paid by the Foundation, and grant requests for renovation and expansion were separated. The grantor they approached for renovation funds showed them that they needed partners.

The Foundation partnered with Roosevelt Elementary School to write a grant for handicapped accessible bathrooms for both the school and the library, and included upgrades for the municipal building as well. With the consultant’s help, they were able to bring in a sum in the six figures for their upgrades to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Grants for the library expansion were also successful. The consultant was very helpful in coordinating all the partners in the project.

The Hawthorne Community Library Foundation is a now a seasoned grantee and writes its own applications.

Middlesex County Highland Park is the winner of the League of Municipalities’ 2003 Innovation in Governance Award for its Highland Park 2020 Sustainable Community Plan—a plan that focuses on economic, environmental and social sustainability. This program is expected to be a model for the entire state, and eventually, the nation.

Their plan includes an ambitious Green Community Program that calls for the conversion of all municipal buildings to high-efficiency heating, cooling and lighting systems. Funded by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and the New Jersey Clean Energy Council, this project also includes maintaining some borough buildings through solar energy. For example, by converting the lighting system in their library to solar power, Highland Park will save 50 percent in lighting costs.

Highland Park is also actively researching ways to help businesses and residents receive assistance directly. Houses of worship in Highland Park have the opportunity to install solar power at no cost—with a guaranteed savings of five to 10 percent per year—under “Lighting the Way,” an innovative alternative energy program of the Board of Public Utilities.

Like many communities, Highland Park created a not-for-profit to receive funds. Main Street Highland Park—a not-for-profit civic improvement group—supports and strengthens its downtown. Main Street uses the four-point approach developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation: promotion, design, organization and economics. Last year, the organization hosted the Main Street Downtown Design Workshop—a two-day public event that drew over 300 residents, merchants, developers and designers. Funding for the workshop was provided in part by the Fund for Highland Park, the Borough Economic Development Department and a grant from the Department of Community Affairs.

Bergen and Hudson Counties In the Hackensack Meadowlands District (comprised of 14 municipalities in Bergen and Hudson Counties), the idea of a shared equipment pool became a reality after a dialog between Meadowlands mayors and the New Jersey Meadowlands Commissioners — proving networking is a valuable avenue for grant-seeking.

The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission’s first purchase is a “vactor” truck that vacuums catch basins and sewers and cleans pipes with a high-pressure water jet. The truck is stored at the Secaucus Department of Public Works facility (Secaucus is a District municipality) and the Meadowlands towns schedule its use with Secaucus for a $450 per-day fee. The fee covers insurance, fuel, a trained operator and vehicle maintenance.

The vactor is the first of several equipment purchases the NJMC plans to make for their newly created Meadowlands Municipal Equipment Pool. They will be adding to the pool with another truck that can send a crawler-mounted video camera into pipes to inspect them.

By sharing available resources efficiently, municipalities can reduce costs while delivering municipal services in a more efficient manner, which can help provide the much needed property tax relief New Jerseyans want and deserve.

Camden County Smart Growth principles are another area the Department of Community Affairs looks for in an application. To date, they have awarded more than $5 million in Smart Future Planning Grants to encourage regional planning in towns and counties throughout the state.

Now that we have shown you some of the less traditional funding sources for municipalities, you are “ready to get ready.” Please visit our we NJLM - Reaching for the Brass Ring

407 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08618  (609)695-3481
 NJLM logo 

William G. Dressel Jr, Executive Director - Michael J. Darcey, CAE, Asst Executive Director

Reaching for the Brass Ring

Pat Bohse
President
Bohse & Associates, Inc.

 


This “vactor” truck is the first of several equipment purchases the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission plans to make for its newly created Meadowlands Municipal Equipment Pool. From left are: New Jersey Meadowlands Commission Executive Director Robert Ceberio, Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell, Teterboro Borough Administrator Paul Busch, Moonachie Mayor Frederick Dressel, Jersey City Mayor L. Harvey Smith, Carlstadt Borough Administrator Jane Fontana, Lyndhurst Mayor James Guida, NJMC Commissioner Leonard Kaiser, NJMC Commissioner Eleanor M. Nissley, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Susan Bass Levin, Rutherford Councilwoman Maura Keyes, Rutherford Borough Administrator Timothy Stafford, Rutherford Downtown Manager Robin Reenstra-Bryant, Rutherford Downtown Partnership President Ed Ryan, Ridgefield Borough Administrator John Perkins, NJMC Commissioner Michael Gonnelli, and Little Ferry Mayor Thomas Quirico.

It’s no secret that New Jersey municipalities need money. Municipalities are aging — infrastructures are in need of upgrades, repairs, and in some cases, complete overhauls. Due to the growth in communities — not only in size, but also in diversity — the demand for services (schools, libraries, housing, public safety, social services, transportation, environmental protection, business incubators, etc.) is being severely strained. Municipalities are all facing the daunting task of having to provide more with less. Raising taxes, of course, is not an option!

When mayors, councilpersons and business administrators attend my workshops aimed at discussing ways to raise money for municipalities in non-traditional ways, I would love to think they came to see me. I know, however, they are looking for help in grasping the right brass ring for their municipality.

Two things a municipality needs to understand in this new world of fundraising/grantwriting, are “seeing the big picture” and identifying the funding options that are available. There are two types of funders that make grants: public funders and private funders. Most municipalities are familiar with public funders because that is where they get most of their money (federal, state and county sources, and local taxes).

The most recent priority niches that public funders look for are as follows:

• The federal government looks for pilot projects to fund so they can help build successful models for replication on a national basis—and then they fund the replications.

• The State of New Jersey is looking for projects that reduce taxpayer burden, promote innovative development, encourage shared services, and foster collaboration and partnership. At the Department of Community Affairs, applications that clearly demonstrate how the burden on taxpayers will be reduced, particularly through well-conceived resource sharing, are encouraged.

On the other hand, many municipalities have less experience partnering with private funders (foundations, corporations, individuals, associations, clubs, and faith-based organizations). It is the private funder who more frequently holds the most versatile brass ring.

The private funder might be unique in its specific requests. In general, this is what the private funder is looking for:

Corporations are looking to develop win-win relationships with municipalities. They need to see a return on their investment, in terms of corporate recognition, product endorsement, or developing a good relationship with the community. Their contribution could be dollars, goods, services or professional volunteers.

Foundations want to fund the needs of the community. In most cases, they will not fund a municipality directly. They will fund the benefit to the community, which would be provided by the grant recipient — most often a 501(c)(3) organization, working in partnership with the municipality.

In 2003, over $240 billion in funding was given to not-for-profit organizations to carry out their missions and visions. Of that amount, over 75 percent came from individuals. Therefore, individuals are a resource to be reckoned with — but, they normally want their donations to be tax-deductible.

This large pot of potential funding dollars is why municipalities should seriously consider forming their own 501(c)(3), working with an existing local not-for-profit (collaboration and partnership) or forming a community foundation as a conduit for receiving contributions from individuals.

New Jersey has 566 municipalities—and all of them have their funding success stories. We’ve collected a few to share.

Monmouth County In Middletown, the township purchased property near the train station and conducted a community needs assessment to determine the best use for this site. The overwhelming recommendation was to use it as an arts and cultural center. According to Rosemarie Peters, former mayor of Middletown and present township committee member, Middletown asked for volunteers to serve on an advisory council. Thirty enthusiastic residents with diverse backgrounds and skills signed up for the task. The group decided that in order to solicit money from corporations, foundations and individuals, they would form a 501(c)(3) organization.

To ensure that Middletown maintains close ties to the not-for-profit, the by-laws specify that three seats on the board of directors be reserved: one for a township committee person, one for a representative from the Parks and Recreation Department (which oversees the facility and pays the salary of the director), and one for a member of the Board of Education.

The not-for-profit organization has raised funds from a variety of sources. It was able to bring in $4,000 from the Monmouth County Arts Council, $5,000 from a local private foundation for scholarships, and a local Target recently gave them $2,000 for “Art Camp.” The center is now embarking on a capital campaign to add 15,000 square feet to the facility for “flex” art space—to be used for meetings, performances, classes and an art gallery. 

Passaic County Libraries have a unique relationship with their host communities. In New Jersey, all libraries are fully autonomous in operation by state law — however, library boards are appointed by their local government, and each of these entities approves their library’s budget. Without the help of the not-for-profit organizations, any substantial increase in a library’s budget would directly affect the municipal budget.

When the board of trustees of the Louis Bay 2nd Library in Hawthorne decided to raise money for an expansion, they formed The Hawthorne Community Library Foundation to attract funding. The Development Committee met weekly to research grant sources and attended grantwriting workshops on their own. The committee worked with the library director to write grant applications.

Their first attempts at seeking funding provided nothing. They had included expansion and renovation requests in the same proposals, and funders did not accept the mixed requests. Fortunately, the Foundation realized their need for someone in the grantwriting world to show them the ropes. They hired a consultant whose fees were paid by the Foundation, and grant requests for renovation and expansion were separated. The grantor they approached for renovation funds showed them that they needed partners.

The Foundation partnered with Roosevelt Elementary School to write a grant for handicapped accessible bathrooms for both the school and the library, and included upgrades for the municipal building as well. With the consultant’s help, they were able to bring in a sum in the six figures for their upgrades to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Grants for the library expansion were also successful. The consultant was very helpful in coordinating all the partners in the project.

The Hawthorne Community Library Foundation is a now a seasoned grantee and writes its own applications.

Middlesex County Highland Park is the winner of the League of Municipalities’ 2003 Innovation in Governance Award for its Highland Park 2020 Sustainable Community Plan—a plan that focuses on economic, environmental and social sustainability. This program is expected to be a model for the entire state, and eventually, the nation.

Their plan includes an ambitious Green Community Program that calls for the conversion of all municipal buildings to high-efficiency heating, cooling and lighting systems. Funded by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and the New Jersey Clean Energy Council, this project also includes maintaining some borough buildings through solar energy. For example, by converting the lighting system in their library to solar power, Highland Park will save 50 percent in lighting costs.

Highland Park is also actively researching ways to help businesses and residents receive assistance directly. Houses of worship in Highland Park have the opportunity to install solar power at no cost—with a guaranteed savings of five to 10 percent per year—under “Lighting the Way,” an innovative alternative energy program of the Board of Public Utilities.

Like many communities, Highland Park created a not-for-profit to receive funds. Main Street Highland Park—a not-for-profit civic improvement group—supports and strengthens its downtown. Main Street uses the four-point approach developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation: promotion, design, organization and economics. Last year, the organization hosted the Main Street Downtown Design Workshop—a two-day public event that drew over 300 residents, merchants, developers and designers. Funding for the workshop was provided in part by the Fund for Highland Park, the Borough Economic Development Department and a grant from the Department of Community Affairs.

Bergen and Hudson Counties In the Hackensack Meadowlands District (comprised of 14 municipalities in Bergen and Hudson Counties), the idea of a shared equipment pool became a reality after a dialog between Meadowlands mayors and the New Jersey Meadowlands Commissioners — proving networking is a valuable avenue for grant-seeking.

The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission’s first purchase is a “vactor” truck that vacuums catch basins and sewers and cleans pipes with a high-pressure water jet. The truck is stored at the Secaucus Department of Public Works facility (Secaucus is a District municipality) and the Meadowlands towns schedule its use with Secaucus for a $450 per-day fee. The fee covers insurance, fuel, a trained operator and vehicle maintenance.

The vactor is the first of several equipment purchases the NJMC plans to make for their newly created Meadowlands Municipal Equipment Pool. They will be adding to the pool with another truck that can send a crawler-mounted video camera into pipes to inspect them.

By sharing available resources efficiently, municipalities can reduce costs while delivering municipal services in a more efficient manner, which can help provide the much needed property tax relief New Jerseyans want and deserve.

Camden County Smart Growth principles are another area the Department of Community Affairs looks for in an application. To date, they have awarded more than $5 million in Smart Future Planning Grants to encourage regional planning in towns and counties throughout the state.

Now that we have shown you some of the less traditional funding sources for municipalities, you are “ready to get ready.” Please visit our website http://www.bohse.com/html/grant_writing_essentials.cfm for additional information and tools on “Grant Writing for Municipalities.”

The League of Municipalities also provides grant research assistance via its website at: http://www.njslom.org/grants.html

 

Article in October 2004, New Jersey Municipalities