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Princeton chamber launches fund to make grants to nonprofits

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A $500,000 philanthropic fund has been launched by the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and will begin later this year making grants to nonprofits located throughout the chamber’s five-county footprint in Central Jersey.

Called the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce Community Development Fund, the new fund is administered by the Princeton Area Community Foundation, which also oversees the investment of the $500,000 to help generate additional funds to provide grants to community organizations.

The money came from last year’s sale of the Princeton chamber’s former headquarters on Vandeventer Avenue, in Princeton; the chamber’s new office is on Nassau Street.

Peter Crowley, chief executive of the chamber, said the Chamber Foundation is moving in a new direction. The 15-year old foundation conducts educational events such as the Einstein Lecture; now, for the first time, it will make direct grants to local nonprofits.

“About 10 percent of our membership is nonprofits, and we felt there needs to be a call to continue to support nonprofits,” Crowley said. During the recession, some companies had difficulty funding nonprofits; today, “we think we have to reinforce the importance of the partnership between nonprofits and companies, and we wanted to take a leadership role in doing this,” he said.

The fund will make grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, and the application will be posted online next week, Crowley said. The first grants will be announced later this year. Total giving by the fund is capped at $50,000 a year.

“This initiative supports the foundation’s mission to give back to the community in a direct and authentic way,” said Melissa Tenzer, president of the Chamber Foundation and Princeton-based CareersUSA. “We are thrilled to be able to partner with the chamber and the Community Foundation to provide grants that will go directly to support local not-for-profit organizations.”

Kristin S. Appelget, chair of the Chamber committee that is working with the fund, said grants will be made to support education, leadership, economic opportunity and development and self-sufficiency. She said, “We will look to support programs that are innovative, and will give priority to initiatives where organizations are collaborating to solve community issues.”

Reporter Beth Fitzgerald is @BethFitzgerald8 on Twitter.

Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald reports on health care, small business and higher education. She joined NJBIZ in 2008 after a 34-year career at the Star-Ledger and has been reporting on business in New Jersey since 1978. Her email is beth@njbiz.com and she is @bethfitzgerald8 on Twitter.

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