New Jersey Cultural Trust

New Jersey State Council on the Arts Logo

Name of Cultural Fund
New Jersey Cultural Trust

Year Authorized
View the enabling legislation

Notes about the
Status of the Fund

The Trust has lost for administration and currently cannot solicit new donations.

Purpose of Fund

The goals of the Trust are to support the arts, history and humanities by funding capital projects and endowment development and “contributing to the institutional and financial stability of qualified organizations.”

Total Funding Goal

$100 million ($10 million each year for 10 years)

The Trust received a full appropriation in only 2002 and 2003.

Funding Sources

State legislature: $28 million ($4 million has been taken back)

Dodge Foundation: $1 million

Legislation allows for private donations, but other than the initial Dodge grant none have been secured to date.

Special Taxes or Legislation

The state raised the hotel/motel tax around 2000, specifying that a minimum of $500,000 in revenue be directed to the Trust.

Current Principal Amount

About $20 million

Financial Management

Funds reside in the state’s Division of Investment, which invests the funds for the Trust in cooperation with the 15-member Board of Trustees: secretary of state; state treasurer; chairs of the state arts agency, historic trust, and historical commission; four members of the public appointed by the governor upon recommendation of the state Senate and Assembly; and six members appointed by the governor.

How Funds Will Be Distributed

The interest from the investments is distributed as grants toward an organization’s institutional and financial good, historic preservation, and capital projects. Currently, funding distributed is from matching funds made years ago (for fiscal year 2011, distributions went to three organizations). The statute directs that funds were not to be disbursed until funded at the full $20 million (which did not occur). Grants are to be distributed thus: 50% per the state arts agency’s recommendations, 25% per the historic trust’s recommendations, 25% per the historical commission’s recommendations, and 25% to qualified organizations in southern New Jersey.

State Arts Agency Role

The state arts agency and state historical commission provide administrative support and advise on the grant application process.


Art Pride New Jersey; Association of New Jersey County Cultural and Historic Agencies; New Jersey Network Foundation; New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority; South Jersey Cultural Alliance; the governor’s office; the state legislature; New Jersey Historical Commission; New Jersey Historic Trust; the corporate, philanthropic and cultural communities; and private citizens. The Trust started with support from the Department of State and private sector leadership (large individual donors). The historical commission works with the state arts agency and also provides some administrative support.

Other Notes and Comments

The Trust was fully staffed until about 2006, at which time the staff were removed and support was given via the state arts agency and historical commission. The Trust’s board and staff are given permission in the statute to engage in fundraising activities to aid the Trust.

Many thanks to New Jersey Cultural Trust Executive Director Sara Cureton for providing this information.

Updated May 2011 by Elizabeth Bentley-Smith