Increasing Access to Field Trips That Bring Learning Alive

What is your favorite school field trip memory? Where did that trip take you that day and since?

BusField trips have the power to awaken, hush, awe, enrich and change lives of our children by taking students out of familiar surroundings into new places, connecting classroom learning with real-life experiences and enabling them to envision themselves as future college students, researchers, artists, and leaders.

But it has become difficult for schools to fund learning opportunities outside schools.

Districts across the state are reporting sending students on fewer field trips, with an increasing number of schools passing the bill on to parent groups.

That’s why the Community Foundation of New Jersey and Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation are establishing a field trip endowment, Field Trip New Jersey, with the goal helping school children in underserved communities across New Jersey access the arts, historical landmarks, nature preserves, and college campuses.

Donate today, and the Community Foundation will match your contribution – dollar for dollar, up to $25,000.

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We know this can be done. The Field Trip New Jersey fund builds on the learning and successes of a bus fund administered by the South Jersey Cultural Alliance over the course of 13 years, which has enabled thousands of students in participating South Jersey schools to visit arts and culture institutions in their backyards. Schools reported that it exposed children to life experiences they would otherwise have been unable to engage in. It expanded their interests, increased their curiosity, and broadened their life view.

Field Trip New Jersey would make field trips possible for more students across an even wider range of disciplines and interest areas. Assuming a minimum of 50 children participate in a total of 200 trips per year, some 10,000 New Jersey schoolchildren could benefit from the Fund annually.

Here’s how it works:

  • All schools in New Jersey with more than 65 percent of students eligible for free or reduced price lunches would be eligible to apply. This eligibility would extend to all public, charter or private Pre-K-12 grade schools.
  • Each eligible school could apply for reimbursement for one field trip a year. Schools would apply between September 1 and February 15 for a field trip to be completed during the school year.
  • Applications would be available online and would be reviewed on a first come, first served basis.
  • Each school would be reimbursed for up to $500 to defray the costs of transportation and/or admission expenses.
  • Schools would work with bus companies and field trip provider to make arrangements; the New Jersey EdAventures Field Trip Fund would reimburse the school upon receipt of expenditure verification.
  • The Community Foundation of New Jersey would administer the fund, with initial logistics support from the Dodge Foundation. Other participating funders who contribute significantly to the endowment could become part of an advisory committee that oversees the Bus Fund’s development and operation.

Join us

To succeed we need your help. Our goal is to create an endowed, dedicated fund by the start of the 2016-2017 school year. We are seeking to build a pool of at least $2 million from like-minded funders who share a commitment to field trips for all students, no matter their circumstances. We would spend up to 5% of the endowment each year in support of program.

The Community Foundation and Dodge are providing seed funding to get the Fund off to a strong start, but we will need the help of other funders to create a sustainable, endowed fund that serves as many qualified districts as possible.

We hope that you are as excited about the potential of Field Trip New Jersey as we are. Working together, we know we can provide the logistical means for a larger number of New Jersey’s most disadvantaged young people to imagine brighter futures through broader exposure to arts and culture, nature and higher education.