FROM 2005 TO 2013, the
nonprofit after-school program
known as New Jersey After
Three offered more than 75,000
disadvantaged students a chance to
spend more time in school and less time
on the street or sitting at home playing
video games. But After Three was more
than a babysitting service for kids of
working parents. An independent three-year study showed that it provided
academic and behavioral benefits and
did so at half the cost of most similar
after-school services across the country.
Like many social programs in New
Jersey, After Three was backed by a
combination of private and government funds. When the state withdrew
all of its financial support in 2012, After
Three started to scramble financially.
In 2013 it closed its doors for good.
When that happened, says After Three’s
former CEO, Mark Valli, the state lost “a
wonderful organization that didn’t just
fund high-quality after-school pro-
grams, but also elevated the importance
of expanded learning time in the con-
sciousness of the state’s citizens.”
The Christie administration’s deci-
sion to severely cut support of programs
like After Three was precipitated by
the state’s slow recovery from the 2008
recession and reflected a growing trend
in New Jersey and across the nation
toward attrition in government funding
for services deemed nonessential.
Nationwide, federal, state and local
governments provide the overwhelm-
ing majority of funding for nonprofits,
including social-welfare, education and
Farts organizations. Additional funding comes from the private sector, primar- ily individual donors, who account for oughly 80 percent of private giving.
The rest comes from corporations and
organizations whose principal purpose
is to make grants to individuals and
nonprofits in need.
When governments cut funding to
nonprofits, it is often assumed by policy-makers that the private sector will pick
up the slack. But the recession that hit
the state budget so hard also walloped
New Jersey’s individual donors and corporations and eroded the endowments
of private foundations.
While private giving has rebounded
somewhat from the recession, nonprofits
“are still in a period of trying to come out
The Funding Gap
Although private donations are on the rise, New Jersey’s nonprofits
have yet to recover from recession-driven government cuts in support.
By Leslie Garisto Pfaff