2014 - 2015 Small Grant Recipients

32 Sustainable Jersey Grants Awarded to New Jersey Towns

On March 25th, 2015 $200,000 was awarded through the Sustainable Jersey Small Grants program funded the PSEG Foundation. 

The 12 towns that received the $20,000 and $10,000 grants proposed projects that provide sustainable solutions to everyday challenges. Food waste recycling, woodlands restoration, energy efficiency outreach, bike and pedestrian paths, green business recognition, water conservation, creative assets inventory and more have been added to the list of initiatives that the Sustainable Jersey Small Grants program is funding. New Jersey is the first state in the nation to have a comprehensive sustainability program for communities that links certification with strong state and private financial incentives, and a fully resourced program of technical support and training.  

$20,000 Awardees



Project Title & Description

Atlantic City


Simple Steps to Savings

Simple Steps to Savings is an education, marketing, and outreach component of Atlantic City’s Energy Efficiency Program. The comprehensive plan was written as part of the Georgetown Energy Prize competition that will award $5 million to the city with the most dramatic reduction in residential and municipal energy use from 2015 to 2017. The grant will enable Atlantic City to educate residents and property owners of all socioeconomic groups about unique opportunities to save energy and money.

Edison Township


PSET JPSHS Life Learning Greenhouse Project

Educating children the importance of creating an environmentally clean, safe, and sustainable ecosystem is essential in today’s world. It is not only telling students what can be done to make greener choices – it is about designing experiences to allow students to actually make such choices on a personal level.  This grant will allow Edison Township to construct a permanent sustainable live learning greenhouse at the J.P. Stevens Public High School to provide a cross-curricular opportunity to grow organic food that students will utilize in cooking classes, investigate in science, and proudly share with the community.  The integration of the greenhouse into the curriculum will teach Living Green practices to 2,200 students every year.

Madison Borough


Wetland and Forest Restoration

The funding from this grant will allow Madison Borough to restore a 20-acre tract of land to its natural state.  This is a unique parcel of land since it is the only native wooded wetland tract in Madison’s park system and one of the few freshwater wetlands left in New Jersey. Sustainable Madison will restore the depleted understory by replanting native trees and shrubs. In addition, an information/storage shed will be erected at the main entrance. The shed will store maintenance supplies and educational materials about the benefits of the wetlands to the community. A bulletin board and trail map will be mounted on the shed explaining the sights to see within the area.  There will also be signage throughout the area identifying tree and plant species, and aquifer benefits.

Rutherford Borough


Completing Phase One (Orient Way) of the Rutherford/Meadowlands Bicycle and Pedestrian Ring

This grant will allow Rutherford Borough to move forward in its extensive efforts to become the regional hub for alternative transportation and recreation. Phase One of the plans is to redo the road (Orient Way) to be more conducive to bicycle and pedestrian safety. This funding will aid in completing this first phase by posting bicycle directional and safety signs, adding bike racks to promote use, and creating a bicycle education program for young riders to ensure safety on the roads. Completion of this first step is vital to demonstrating the ease, fun, and usefulness of alternative active transportation in the Meadowlands region.

$10,000 Awardees



Project Title

East Greenwich Township


Natural Resource Inventory

The funding from this grant will assist the East Greenwich Planning Board and Environmental Commission in managing sustainable growth. A Natural Resource Inventory (NRI) will be completed to replace an old NRI from 1999 with updated data. The new Natural Resource Inventory will include land use, geography, geology, hydrology, soils, wetlands, animal communities, and vegetation components.

Jersey City


Jersey City Creative Assets Inventory

The Jersey City Environmental Commission (green team) will work with the Jersey City Office of Cultural Affairs to prepare a Creative Assets Inventory. The planning process will seek to inventory Jersey City’s unique cultural, historic, natural, and creative assets in an effort to broadly define the cultural context of people, places, and organizations that make Jersey City a vibrant and desirable place to live, work and visit. The inventory will be utilized to develop a framework for leveraging cultural assets across a wide range of city-led initiatives and to strengthen partnerships with arts and cultural entities contributing to the City’s livability and vibrancy.

Maple Shade Township


Food Waste Recycling Pilot Project

The United States Natural Resource Defense Council finds that about 40% of edible food is wasted. Both the production of wasted food and the pollutants produced by food in landfills represents a serious tax on the environment. Maple Shade Township will undertake a pilot project aimed at recycling the food waste into compost. The ultimate goals of this project are to reduce the amount of food sent to landfills, reduce disposal costs, reduce resource use associated with food production, create a valuable compost material and improve public health and safety.

Millville City


Millville Community Garden

The Millville Green Team will utilize the grant to realize its vision of the Millville Community Garden. Over the last year, the green team has worked with various facets of the community to develop its garden plan. The plan includes a unique employment partnership with Easter Seals New Jersey whereby their clients will cultivate the desired plants and plant them in the community garden. Easter Seals provides on-site supervision and uses the job experience to help their clients address life’s challenges and achieve personal goals.

Mount Olive Township


Irrigation System

Mount Olive Township currently maintains a 405 acre woodland and farmland preserve that includes a thriving community garden with 145 active plots. The garden serves as an educational and cultural center with year-long programming and social activities. Last year, gardeners donated over 250 pounds of their own produce to a local food pantry.  To support the garden’s current operations and expansion, this grant, along with funding from The Land Conservancy of New Jersey, will enable a well to be drilled and an irrigation system to be installed. 

North Bergen Township


Water Conservation and Reuse Demonstration

The green team, in concert with township administration, will renovate a municipal garden at town hall that will utilize recycled water via a small cistern system. This demonstration project will showcase storm water management best practices not often publicized or utilized in densely populated regions like North Bergen.

Readington  Township


A Learning Woods

This grant will allow the Open Space Advisory Board to start development of a 23 acre site as “learning woods” to provide the community with examples of woodland benefits to society and the environment and the value of sustaining woodlands. Unique trees and ecological features will be identified and a deer exclosure area built.  In addition, paths and benches will be installed connecting forest features and supporting community education activities.

Southampton Township


We Share Solar Education Program

This is a collaborative project between the Southampton Township Creative Team, the middle schools, senior scouts, and the non-profit We Care Solar.  Together they will implement the We Care Solar Educational program called ‘We Share Solar.’ Teachers will incorporate the curriculum into their science units on electricity and renewable energy and help students build solar suitcases, 12 volt dc stand-alone solar energy systems. The completed systems will be shared throughout the community. In addition, one system will be sent to a Native American community in the US where energy access is limited for either economic or geographic reasons.

In addition, twenty towns received $2,000 capacity-building grants. These funds are used for general operating support or for direct expenses incurred by the Green Team to implement Sustainable Jersey programs.

$2,000 Capacity-Building Grant Awardees

Egg Harbor City (Atlantic) Ocean City (Cape May)
Hamilton Township (Atlantic) Stone Harbor Borough (Cape May)
Pleasantville City (Atlantic) Bloomfield Township (Essex)
Ramsey Borough (Bergen) Pitman Borough (Gloucester)
Bordentown Township (Burlington) Hopewell Township (Mercer)
Delran Township (Burlington) Cranbury Township (Middlesex)
Audubon Borough (Camden) Metuchen Borough (Middlesex)
Cherry Hill Township (Camden) Sea Bright Borough (Monmouth)
Gibbsboro Borough (Camden) Bernardsville Borough (Somerset)
Waterford Township (Camden) Warren Township (Somerset)


Selection Committee

Over 60 municipalities submitted proposals that were judged by an independent Blue Ribbon Selection selection committee composed of representatives from: the Association of NJ Environmental Commissions (ANJEC), Center for Executive Leadership in Government at Rutgers University, The Fund for NJ, Gabel Associates, GreenFaith, New Jersey Highlands Council, NJ Future, Passaic County Community College, PlanSmart NJ, and Verizon.

The committee considered proposals using the following criteria:

  1. Impact on sustainability of the municipality in New Jersey.
  2. Scope and term of impact for the project to serve as a catalyst for future sustainable practices or initiatives within the municipality.
  3. Likelihood of success in implementing the project.
  4. Community capacity to remain active in the Sustainable Jersey program and complete any previously awarded grants.
  5. Partnerships and leveraging with nearby municipalities, state agencies, or other organizations.
  6. Innovativeness and uniqueness so that the project might lead to a "best practice."

Certified Sustainable Jersey municipalities were given higher consideration under the “Demonstrated commitment of municipality to sustainability” criterion and may have also received higher consideration under the “Likelihood of success in implementing the project” criterion.