The F. M. Kirby Foundation Board of Directors announced 255 grants totaling $15,431,175 were approved in 2023 to nonprofit organizations working to increase the strength and vitality of our communities.
Of this total, over 130 grants included general operating support and over 140 grants were made to organizations that have been partners of the Foundation for over 25 years, representing the Foundation’s grantmaking strategy of forming long-term, trusting relationships with grantees. Grantmaking in 2023 included a combined $9.1 million to organizations working in New Jersey and North Carolina, the Foundation’s primary geographic areas of interest. Additional grants, totaling over $6 million, supported organizations in Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania, regions dear to Kirby family members, as well as national nonprofits largely based in Washington, D.C., and New York City.
The Foundation participated in several special funding opportunities to support healthy communities both locally and internationally. Through our participation in the Morris County Funders Group, a coalition of 10 funding organizations, the Foundation assisted in providing $325,000 in collaborative funding to support Mental Health First Aid training free of cost to Morris County organizations. Through continued partnership with the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the Kirby Prize for Scaling Social Impact celebrated its third year. This unrestricted prize supports social impact ventures working anywhere in the world; in 2023, the Kirby Prize was awarded to Essmart, an organization working internationally to connect rural shop owners with socially impactful technologies.
More broadly, the Foundation’s 2023 grantmaking included increased contributions in our major programmatic funding areas: arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, and public affairs. Below, we highlight a few of the Foundation’s values within each funding area, and some of the partners we are proud to support in their endeavors to act on these values.
Arts, Culture, Humanities
In 2023, the Foundation supported arts organizations contributing to the cultural vibrancy of our communities through creative and inclusive programming. First Night Morris, Morristown Festival of Books, Morris Arts, Carolina Theatre of Durham, and Mayo Performing Arts Center all encourage creativity and togetherness with free performances, public art, and community festivals.
The Foundation continues to support equitable school access and school choice. Three long-time partners – JerseyCAN, Preschool Advantage, and Teach for America – increased their advocacy and activism surrounding these issues, with a particular focusing on combatting pandemic-related learning loss and increasing early literacy.
Investing in talent pipelines is crucial for fostering the next generation of passionate environmental stewards. Foundation partners such as Bald Head Island Conservancy, The Raptor Trust, Adirondack Land Trust, Triangle Land Conservancy, and The Land Conservancy of New Jersey support internships and learning experiences to teach young people the importance of passionately defending our most vital natural resources.
With the belief that supporting young scientists working on today’s problems will yield tomorrow’s life-saving solutions, we are proud to partner with organizations that bolster and uplift early career investigators. In 2023, grants made to Alzheimer’s Association, American Cancer Society, Cancer Research Institute, and Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation supported talent pipelines for early career researchers.
In 2023, the Foundation made greater investments in addressing the issues of affordable housing in our communities with grants to organizations such as Housing for New Hope, Homeless Solutions, Community Hope, and Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Morris, Durham, and Orange Counties. Not only do these partners directly address housing affordability, but they also recognize the multi-faceted ways that homelessness intersects with issues such as food insecurity, substance abuse, and mental health.
In recognition that educated participation in our democracy requires accurate and trusted news sources, the Foundation is proud to partner with public news media outlets such as New Jersey PBS, PBS North Carolina, North Carolina Public Radio, and New York Public Radio.
View the full 2023 grants list here.