With a Focus on New Jersey, the Burke Foundation Supports Early Childhood and Arts Education

Princeton University Art Museum. EQRoy/shutterstock

Princeton University Art Museum. EQRoy/shutterstock

As we’ve covered at IP in the past, the Johnson & Johnson family of companies has a global foundation with dozens of programs related to health, disaster relief, and humanitarian aid. But one of Johnson & Johnson’s long-time CEOs, James “Jim” E. Burke, also established his own grantmaking foundation with his wife. By comparison, Burke’s foundation has much more of a local focus and centers giving on New Jersey.

Here are a few details to consider about the James E. and Diane W. Burke Foundation.

Two Main Types of Grantmaking

Since 1989, the Burke Foundation has been on the local grantmaking scene in Princeton, New Jersey. The couple cared deeply about the issues of early childhood development and arts education, and these are the top two funding categories of the foundation still today. Nurture Grants support programs for children’s early years, and Spark Grants fund arts programs for underserved youth.

Early childhood grants target the birth-to-five demographic to increase the number of healthy births, ensure children are raised in safe and nurturing homes, and boost kindergarten readiness. Meanwhile, arts portfolio grants target access to arts programming to help underserved children develop new skills, be engaged, and express themselves. The arts were very important to Diane “Didi” Burke, who was an art history major and painter. She dedicated much of her life to the arts and was a trustee for prominent local art groups, including the Princeton University Art Museum.

An Eye for Innovative Models

While early childhood and art education are the main giving categories here, the Burke Foundation is also interested in learning about brand-new and up-and-coming models that are particularly innovative. To address these interests, the foundation has an innovation portfolio in which is invests in changemakers. This is where the foundation focuses on health and equity challenges to provide financial support, mentorship, and technical support to nonprofits that are working to accelerate new approaches to persistent problems.

All About New Jersey Children

Across all funding areas, the Burke Foundation is primarily concerned with New Jersey’s children. New Jersey was the couple’s home, and the foundation continues to have a statewide focus to support children who live here. Past local support has gone to Young Audience New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania, the Princeton University Art Museum, and the Princeton Healthcare Foundation.

An Invitation-Only Policy

New Jersey nonprofits should know that the Burke Foundation only accepts proposals by invitation only and does not consider unsolicited grant requests. The founding couple’s son currently oversees the foundation and serves as its president and chairman. Otherwise, the foundation has a dedicated staff with six professionals and welcomes general questions submitted via online form. There’s also a newsletter to subscribe to and receive foundation-related updates.

Learn more about this grantmaker’s local giving in IP’s full profile of the Burke Foundation.