Department of Human Services

NJ Human Services Opens Third Round of Grant Funding to Create Inclusive and Healthy Communities for Individuals with Disabilities

$2.8M in Grants Available to Non-Profits, County and Municipal Governments 

February 7, 2023

(TRENTON)The New Jersey Department of Human Services today announced that non-profits, and local county or municipal government agencies can now apply for the 2023 Inclusive Healthy Communities Grant Program (IHC) to help communities across New Jersey support the health and well-being of individuals with disabilities where they live, work, learn and play.

            First launched in January 2021, the IHC Grant Program is an initiative spearheaded by the Human Services’ Division of Disability Services (DDS) to support communities and ensure that the voices and needs of people with disabilities are included in healthy community planning. A core principle of the IHC grant program is the concept of advancing policy, systems and environmental change. The grantees work towards systemic change.

            The Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University partners with DDS to manage the IHC grant program and provide technical assistance to grant recipients in implementing projects across New Jersey.

            “Since the inaugural launch of the IHC Grant Program over two years ago, we have seen meaningful progress for disability inclusion and addressing access challenges in the disability community through the ongoing work of our grantees. We look forward to building on this momentum as we open this next round of funding,” said Commissioner Sarah Adelman. “We urge those interested to learn about and apply for the program, so we can continue our work in creating safe, healthy and accessible communities for all.” 

            “At Human Services, we believe that through inclusivity we can help improve our communities and the health of all New Jerseyans, and this additional funding allows more community members to join this impactful effort,” said Deputy Commissioner for Aging and Disability Services Kaylee McGuire. “Like-minded organizations will join and enhance the ongoing efforts of 24 communities already working on a range of solutions to help build more equitable communities for individuals with disabilities. Everyone deserves access to the support they need to experience a healthier life.”

            Applicants can submit proposals for grants of up $250,000, which will fund efforts for two years. Funds used may not exceed $125,000 per year.

            Capacity-building is the first requirement applicants must meet before they begin implementation activities. The purpose of capacity building is to grow and advance collaborative partnerships, incorporate disability inclusion into existing healthy community planning efforts to identify key priorities, and develop strategies that will result in lasting change in the community.

            Once this requirement is satisfied, implementation activities can be enacted. Examples of implementation activities that create environmental change include the installation of adaptive playground equipment, accessible trails/paved paths, wheelchair battery charging stations in community settings, color-schemed signage, community gardens with raised beds, curb cuts and voice-automated pedestrian signals. Another example is seen through the work of one of the program’s inaugural grantees, the Ocean County Health Department, which now offers inclusive community vegetable gardens at the Toms River Field of Dreams.

            Implementation activities are expected to create policy and systemic change. For example, as a grantee in South Jersey, the Rowan University Foundation is working to increase awareness of and address barriers to physical, sexual, and reproductive healthcare for women with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

            “People with disabilities can experience inequalities in aspects of life that contribute to health and well-being, and it is important to change this. Through this ongoing initiative, we aim to help communities create inclusive community resources and practices so that people with disabilities can achieve better health outcomes. We are proud to help improve the quality of life for all New Jerseyans and look forward to a third cohort joining ongoing efforts to create foundational change throughout our state,” DDS Executive Director Peri L. Nearon said.  

            Previous grant recipients who have received a capacity building grant must detail in their proposal how their capacity-building activities will contribute to their proposed work plan. Previous grant recipients who did not receive a capacity building grant are expected to dedicate at least 25% of their budget and timeline to activities focused on inclusion and meaningful engagement of people with disabilities in order to guide the overall initiative.

            Interested applicants are required to submit a letter of intent to apply by 5:00 pm on March 3, 2023 here. Upon submission, applicants will receive a unique PIN and link to submit their proposal.

            Proposals must be submitted by 5:00 pm on March 31, 2023.  

            Interested applicants can learn more about the program and previous IHC grant recipients here.