NJEDA approves enhancements to Sustain & Serve program; to open Phase 3 funding

$10M in funding available in unique program where nonprofits spend grant money buying meals from restaurants in need for those in need

Applications for a new round of Sustain & Serve NJ funding will open early next month. A Wednesday announcement from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which distributes the funding, follows approval of enhancements and $10 million in funding for a unique program where nonprofits spend grant money buying meals from local restaurants in need for those in need.

The NJEDA’s Sustain & Serve NJ program provides eligible entities a grant of between $100,000 and $2 million to fund these purchases and the distribution of those meals at no cost to recipients.

Applications are expected to open March 1 and close April 1. (Click here to apply.)

Through the first two phases of Sustain & Serve NJ, the NJEDA awarded more than $34 million to 31 organizations across the state since March 2021. The program has already supported the purchase of more than 3 million meals from over 400 New Jersey restaurants in more than 120 municipalities statewide.

Gov. Phil Murphy said the program offers a multitude of benefits to New Jersey and its communities.

“In addition to supporting the nonprofit organizations that play a crucial role within their communities, the program also helps local restaurants keep their doors open and their employees paid, while connecting individuals facing food insecurity with much-needed meals. We believe that Sustain & Serve NJ can be a national model for other states as they emerge from the economic impact of the pandemic,” Murphy said.

Tim Sullivan. (File photo)

“Under Gov. Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey is taking a holistic, multiagency approach to combating hunger, and Sustain & Serve NJ is a vital piece of that strategy,” said NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan. “Not only does this program help fuel our state’s overall economic recovery by enabling restaurants to hire and retain staff, but it also supports organizations that are providing nutritious meals to people statewide who may not otherwise have access to them.”

The NJEDA will hold an informational webinar at 10 a.m. March 2 for potential applicants to learn tips and advice for applying. The webinar will also include a walk-through of the application.

The NJEDA made several enhancements to the Sustain & Serve NJ programs between Phase 2 and Phase 3 based on feedback from Sustain & Serve NJ grantees and from the community. This includes raising the cap that the NJEDA will provide per meal from $10 per meal to $12 per meal, as well as allowing grantees to use a portion of their grant to support organizational implementation and operational costs. It also includes limiting eligibility to nonprofits with the following NAICS codes:

  • NAICS code 611 (Educational services);
  • NAICS code 62 (Social assistance and health care organizations);
  • NAICS code 813 (Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional and similar organizations);
  • NAICS code 92 (Public administration).

In Phase 3, the NJEDA is also lowering the threshold of past purchases that applicants must show to demonstrate eligibility for the program. Applicants now must demonstrate a history of purchasing at least 1,500 meals costing at least $25,000 between March 9, 2020, and the date of the application launch — lowered from 3,000 meals and $50,000, respectively, in past phases. Up to 50% of past purchases (i.e., up to 750 meals and $12,500) can be from donated meals from restaurants if the applicant can produce invoices from restaurant donors verifying the number of meals and monetary value of the donated meals.

Complete eligibility, as well as programmatic changes, can be found here.