Rally for the Arts Results in Half a Million Dollars for Bergen County, New Jersey

Danielle DeLaurentis

(Bergen County, New Jersey; September 2, 2022) — The rallying cry from the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation’s ArtsBergen and the arts community to Bergen County’s Board of Commissioners and County Executive James Tedesco III resulted in increased funding for the arts. The Bergen County Board of Commissioners allocated $500,000 for the arts from the $261 million American Rescue Plan (ARP).

During the NNJCF’s ArtsBergen 5% spring campaign for the arts, the arts community in the county was urged to show their support for the value of the arts and their essential role in Bergen County’s COVID-19 recovery. Arts organizations, artists, and patrons of the arts contacted the County Executive and the County Commissioners and attended the Commissioners’ meeting on April 20 to show their support.

Mary Blanusa

The arts in Bergen County have long been underfunded. In the spring, the NNJCF’s ArtsBergen submitted a formal letter to the County Executive and the County Commissioners, with feedback from the local arts community.The letter proposed 5% of ARP funds be used for a significant grant program supporting arts organizations/artists, creation of a Destination Marketing Organization, and creative placemaking and public art events.

Bergen County aims to distribute information about the new grant program in early September. The County estimates the earliest access to an online application portal will be October 6. In the interim, they reported arts organizations and others considered businesses may be eligible for the rescue program run by its Economic Development office. For more information, visit: www.BergenCountyARP.org.

Randy Glover

The ARP funds provide an opportunity to ‘build back better’, while positively impacting local jobs, the economy, and the community. “Rallying together, we elevated the arts, as an effective and vital sector boosting local economies, aiding in good mental health, and building back the community. Although we did not receive the full 5% allocation requested, ArtsBergen is encouraged. A large number of members from the arts came together, and they were heard,” said Danielle De Laurentis, Associate Director, Northern New Jersey Community Foundation.

Prioritizing the arts through a $500K grant program to benefit both individual artists and non-profit arts organizations is a big accomplishment. We believe the arts community’s strong advocacy showed to our governing officials the importance and value of the arts to the economy, vibrancy, and well-being of Bergen County.”

For further information about the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, ArtsBergen, contact artsbergen@nnjcf.org or call 201-568-5608.

Ruth Bauer Neustadter

About Northern New Jersey Community Foundation
The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 organization based in Hackensack, New Jersey, focuses primarily on civic engagement, education, the environment, philanthropy, public health, and the arts.  NNJCF works with local governments, school districts, businesses, non-profit organizations, and citizen groups in Northern New Jersey to improve community life.  The Foundation’s partners identify and resolve regional problems and opportunities by talking and learning from each other, by sharing ideas, best practices, services, and resources.  For more information, visit www.nnjcf.org, send an email to nnjcf@nnjcf.org, or call 201-568-5608.  Follow the Foundation on Facebook at Northern NJ Community Foundation/ArtsBergen, Instagram at nnjcf, Twitter @NNJCF and YouTube.

About ArtsBergen
ArtsBergen, a Northern New Jersey Community Foundation initiative, is an arts alliance in Bergen County, New Jersey supporting and encouraging creative placemaking, the practice of integrating arts and culture into a neighborhood, town, or region to build community and livability and boost local economy. The initiative’s mission is to energize and unify artists and arts organizations and connect the Bergen County community to the arts. For more information, visit www.nnjcf.org/artsbergen/.



1) 5% for the Arts Campaign graphic.  Photo Credit: Northern New Jersey Community Foundation’s ArtsBergen

2) Danielle DeLaurentis, Associate Director of the Northern NJ Community Foundation, presents the case to increase funding at the Bergen County Commissioners’ meeting on April 20, 2022.

3) Mary Blanusa, Executive Director of the Northern NJ Community Foundation, discusses why the arts should be supported and funding increased in the County at the Bergen County Commissioners’ meeting on April 20.

4) Hackensack resident, Randy Glover, attended the Bergen County Commissioners’ meeting on April 20 to discuss the need for increased funding for the arts.

5) Hackensack artist Ruth Bauer Neustadter discusses the need to increase funding for the arts.

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