EAST ORANGE/ORANGE, NJ — Thursday the NJ FAM Fund, a private investment vehicle with the goal to raise $100 million to combat and reduce social and economic inequalities resulting from systemic racism was launched. NJ FAM stands for New Jersey Forty Acres and a Mule. The fund will provide direct capital for New Jersey’s Black and Latinx business owners and communities, which traditionally suffer from the greatest barriers in access to these resources. 

NJ FAM was thought of by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka in partnership with other mayors of urban areas.The coronavirus pandemic and continued growing needs for minority businesses sparked partnership interest across the state.  

The fund operates in collaboration with assistance from New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC) and an advisory board, Mayor Ras Baraka of Newark, Mayor Dwayne D. Warren of Orange, Mayor Ted R. Green, Mayor André Sayegh of Paterson, Mayor Frank Moran of Camden, Mayor Reed Gusciora of Trenton, Mayor Tony Vauss of Irvington, and Mayor Marty Small, Sr. of Atlantic City.

“When the difference in median net worth between White families and Black/Latinx families is nearly 200%, that is much more than a social disparity. That kind of gap is representative of the inequitable financial policies that have kept Black and Latinx businesses and families behind the national curve for decades," said Mayor Green. "This initiative is how we start to bring balance to the communities that have been devastated the most. This is how we make amends and bring generational wealth into our communities."

According to the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, the median net worth of New Jersey’s white families is $309,000, while the median for New Jersey’s Latinx and Black families is just $7,020 and $5,900, respectively—one of the worst racial wealth gaps in the nation. The objective of the NJ FAM fund is to close these gaps by providing Black and Latinx business owners with a more level playing field with their competitors.

“While the racial wealth gap is a national struggle, it is especially salient in Newark. Minority businesses have always faced more roadblocks than their counterparts and the pandemic has only worsened the issue. The NJ FAM Fund aims to help these businesses reach their full potential in these tumultuous times,” said Mayor Baraka. “These investments will be a tremendous tool for the minority business community in Newark, and we are incredibly grateful for this generous support.”

Visit NJFAMFund.org to learn more, sign up for updates and preview the applications.