F. M. Kirby Foundation announces $13.8 million in grants

News and Stories

Sansay House – Morristown, New Jersey
F. M. Kirby Foundation

MORRISTOWN January 12, 2021

The F. M. Kirby Foundation Board of Directors announced 248 grants totaling $13.8 million were made in 2020 to nonprofit organizations working to foster self-reliance and create strong, healthy communities in a year of unprecedented challenges.

The Foundation’s 2020 grantmaking included grants in support of COVID-19 relief, as well as increased contributions to nonprofit organizations in the arts and humanities, education, environment, health and medicine, human services, public policy, and religion. Some 102 grants totaling over $5.5 million were awarded to New Jersey-based nonprofit organizations working to make a direct impact on people’s lives throughout the state, 65 of which, totaling $3.6 million, supported work in Morris County, the Foundation’s home county. Additional grants totaling $8.3 million supported organizations in upstate New York, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, regions connected to Kirby family members, as well as national nonprofits largely based in Washington D.C. and New York City.

“In a sense, the vast majority of our grantmaking this year was providing COVID-related relief to our grantee partners in response to a most difficult year. We stuck to our principles of general operating support, recognizing the necessity of flexible grants, especially as grantees were facing difficulty meeting payroll and paying for personal protective equipment. However, the exceptional circumstances provided exceptional opportunities, so we were excited to support some new initiatives for us, including COVID-related research at the American Lung Association, the Morristown Partnership Grant Relief Fund, rapid relief funds in North Carolina at both the Triangle Community Foundation and the United Way of Greater Triangle, and the New Jersey Arts and Culture Pandemic Relief Fund,” stated Justin Kiczek, Executive Vice President.

In an effort to address the significant losses of earned income which resulted from the pandemic, 36 arts, culture, and humanities grants totaling $1.4 million were awarded to theatres, museums, and art education and cultural programs and 49 grants totaling $3.6 million were awarded to family-connected institutions and alternative education programs that expand school choice and strengthen traditional education. Other notable contributions include 67 grants totaling $3.2 million awarded to human services organizations serving various populations, including those experiencing homelessness or addiction, cancer patients and survivors, and youth and adults with disabilities; 34 grants totaling $1.4 million to environmental non-profits working towards land preservation, conservation, and stewardship; 31 grants totaling $1.3 million to public affairs and advocacy organizations; and 24 grants to medical research organizations and investment in early-career scientists totaling $2.7 million.

Over half of these organizations have been in at least 20-year partnerships with the Foundation, which maintains a philosophy of long-term investments in effective programs. S. Dillard Kirby, President, added, “We know how difficult the 2020, pandemic-filled year was for our non-profit partners. We tried to promptly and fully provide support in response to these challenges on an expedited schedule. We have witnessed how many of these partners, blessed with strong leadership, not only survive but discover the ‘silver linings’ and pivot in order to fulfill their vital missions. We are proud of them and realize that a number of external challenges will continue into this new year.”

About the F. M. Kirby Foundation:

The F. M. Kirby Foundation is headquartered in Morristown, New Jersey. Endowed in 1931 by Fred Morgan Kirby, one of the founders of the F.W. Woolworth Company, it was designed to continue in perpetuity through generations of the family. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded nearly $750 million in grants. Five Kirby family members, currently spanning two generations, serve on the Board, as well as two non-family directors.