ATLANTIC CITY — The newly formed Atlantic City Community Fund has raised more than $30,000 from its founding supporters, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the Community Foundation of South Jersey, and is ready to fund its first projects, organizers said Tuesday.
The fund, led by Evan Sanchez of Hayday Coffee and efforts to develop the “Orange Loop” on the beach blocks of New York and Tennessee avenues and St. James Place, will begin accepting grant applications.
The group is looking to fund activities that improve the conditions and quality of life of all who live, work and play in Atlantic City, it said in a news release.
Grant guidelines and application instructions can be found at ACCommunityFund.org/apply. The deadline to apply for the first round of funding is April 1.
“Atlantic City is in the midst of a renaissance, and the Atlantic City Community Fund is here to help ensure that it is community-driven and sustainable over the long haul,” said Sanchez, president of the Atlantic City Community Fund Board of Advisers. “We strongly believe a thriving Atlantic City includes all of the city’s stakeholders.”
Grant amounts will range from $500 to $5,000, Sanchez said. They will be given to support organizations and projects in the areas of education, community services, youth programs, senior programs, arts and culture, parks and recreation, and urban renewal.
The idea for the fund grew from the Creative New Jersey Atlantic City Call to Collaboration in 2015, an event that brought together more than 140 people to address local issues with local solutions, said Sanchez.
Topics ranged from re-engaging the city’s disenfranchised population to creating a clean and safe city that encourages growth and productivity.
The Atlantic City Community Fund is a component of the Community Foundation of South Jersey, which allows it to benefit from the organizational structure and grant-making expertise of a community foundation, said Sanchez.
“As Atlantic City rebuilds anew, residents are looking for ways to strengthen their community, and to grow the financial and human capital necessary to fuel resident-driven community building and transformation,” said Andy Fraizer, Community Foundation of South Jersey executive director.
“We have seen the impact that locally driven funds have had on other communities, and we are excited about the potential of this fund — which puts the decision-making in the hands of community members — to make a substantial, long-term impact in Atlantic City,” said Cynthia Evans, Dodge Foundation interim president.