News & Events

< Back to News Listing


June 9, 2017

Ocean County College Receives Multiple Grants And Donations To Support Storycorps And The Telling Project In Ocean County

Ocean County College was recently awarded a number of grants and donations to support the much anticipated Beyond the Classroom Stories of Service. The purpose of the Beyond the Classroom series is to engage both OCC students and members of the community on important topics in a safe environment that explores the human spirit.

Ocean County College’s Repertory Theatre and The Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts will produce a program to give voice to the stories of Ocean County’s active military and veterans’ community.  The grants and donations will bring the community together to better understand the sacrifice military personnel and their families give to the country.

Those grants and donations include:

  • A $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) – Arts Engagement in American Communities (AEAC);
  • A $10,000 donation from The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation;
  • A $2,000 donation from the New Jersey Historical Commission;
  • A $1,250 grant from the Ocean County Tourism Advisory Council; and
  • A $1,000 grant from the Ocean County Cultural & Heritage Commission.

The main program begins with the cooperation of StoryCorps and The Telling Project. This group will curate stories of Ocean County veterans and create a play to give the community a new perspective of the lives of veterans.

StoryCorps is America’s oral history project that started in 2003.  More than 60,000 interviews with over 100,000 participants have been collected. Recordings are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress so that future generations can hear the stories.

In July, StoryCorps will come to the Ocean County College campus to record interviews.  With the help of Joint Base McGuire – Dix – Lakehurst personnel, local VFW groups, the American Legion, local senior communities, OCC’s Oral History Project, and advertising, a large number of veterans will be reached.

After the interviews, The Telling Project will create a play that will tell the story of veterans from the Jersey Shore. The OCC Repertory Theatre Company will perform the play during November, coinciding with Veterans Day.

According to NJ Advance Media, Toms River has the largest veteran population in the State of New Jersey.

“It is important that our veterans’ stories be heard, archived, and told for future generations,” explained Mark Wilson, OCC Director of Cultural Affairs.  “By combining an oral history of StoryCorps with the play-writing of The Telling Project, we will be able to accomplish our goal of letting members of the community understand the history of our veterans. The oral histories and play will be an additional resource for teachers to share with their students and a resource for communities across New Jersey.”

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support the excellence and diversity of arts programs across the country, including organizations like Ocean County College that make the arts accessible to people in Ocean County and further enhances the vitality of their community,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu.

About Ocean County College: For 50 years, Ocean County College (OCC) has provided area residents with the opportunity to benefit from higher education.  A public two-year community college sponsored by Ocean County, the State of New Jersey, and the students of OCC, the College is located on 275 picturesque acres in the beautiful county seat of Toms River, NJ.  A publicly supported, comprehensive, open admissions institution, OCC is committed to providing high quality, postsecondary associate degree and certificate programs, and other learning opportunities on its Main Campus in Toms River, at the College’s Southern Education Center in Manahawkin, and at off-campus sites located throughout Ocean County.  For more information about Ocean County College, call 732-255-0400 or visit

About National Endowment for the Arts: The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is the federal agency that supports and funds the arts to give all Americans the opportunity to experience creativity and participate in the arts. NEA programs and funding support thousands of activities in communities large and small across the country. To learn more about the National Endowment for the Arts, please visit Follow the conversation about this and other NEA‐funded projects on Twitter at @NEAarts

About The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation:

The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation uses philanthropy to increase citizen activity and economic development opportunities through the arts, healthcare and education. The Foundation is a proactive grant maker heavily active in the communities it has targeted to make an impact in, and is committed to identifying leaders and teams who it feels can bring their organizations to the next level, and beyond. Since 2013, it has invested over $12 million in the community, with an additional $16 million committed. Visit

About New Jersey Historical Commission:

The New Jersey Historical Commission is a state agency dedicated to the advancement of public knowledge and preservation of New Jersey history. Established by law in 1967, its work is founded on the fundamental belief that an understanding of our shared heritage is essential to sustaining a cohesive and robust democracy. Visit

About Ocean County Tourism Advisory Council:

This project is funded in part by a grant from the Ocean County Board of Freeholders. The Ocean County Tourism Advisory Council and the Ocean County Tourism Grant Committee is part of the Ocean County Department of Business Development and Tourism. Explore more at

About Ocean County Cultural & Heritage Commission:

The Ocean County Cultural & Heritage Commission encourages creative and cultural expressions through inclusiveness and education. The Commission is the primary leader and catalyst in promoting the arts and cultural heritage in Ocean County. Visit