Prudential Financial today announced $30 million in grants to support 17 non-profit organizations in Newark, including some of the city's most enduring institutions like the Newark Museum, the Newark Public Library, NJPAC and the NJ Symphony Orchestra.

The grants will also go to support community projects in the city's five wards, including a long-awaited community center in Newark’s Fairmount Park, a state-of-the-art synthetic turf field in the Central Ward, and arts programs in Clinton Hill as well as private and charter schools.

The grants are in addition to Prudential’s annual grant-making budget and build on the more than $1 billion the company has committed toward the revitalization of its home city in the past decade alone.

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“The $30 million in grants recognizes the vital partnerships Prudential has with many community-based organizations. This support will strengthen their infrastructure and capacity to better serve Newark’s residents today and tomorrow,” said Lata Reddy, senior vice president of diversity, inclusion and impact for Prudential.
      
Newark has undergone a transformation over the last decade, which Prudential attributes to an outgrowth of a partnership between local government, businesses and community organizations.

While that partnership has created a thriving, walkable, 24/7 city with access to quality jobs and education, the company said challenges remain particularly acute beyond the downtown corridor, in neighborhoods that are home to most of Newark’s nearly 282,000 residents.

Community-based organizations are often called upon to meet the immediate demand for services, resources and amenities in these neighborhoods, but face increasing difficulty building their own financial stability and flexibility. 

According to a 2015 Nonprofit Finance Fund survey, nearly two-thirds of Newark nonprofits have less than three months of cash in reserve.

“Strong and vibrant communities thrive when diverse organizations contribute to a city’s future,” Reddy said.

Prudential said the 17 nonprofits receiving the grants offer high-quality education, robust cultural experiences, basic needs programs, and safe parks and recreation facilities:

Arts and cultural institutions: New Jersey Performing Arts Center, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Newark Arts Council, Newark Museum, Newark Public Library and Newark School of the Arts.

Private schools and charter networks: KIPP NJ, St. Benedict’s Preparatory School, St. Vincent Academy and Uncommon Schools’ North Star Academy.

Parks and recreation organizations: Branch Brook Park Alliance, Military Park Partnership and the Trust for Public Land

Social service organizations: The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Newark Ironbound, Urban League of Essex County and the YMCA of Newark & Vicinity

A grant will also support the Nonprofit Finance Fund to extend the impact of the fund’s Newark Resilience Initiative, which builds the capacity of nonprofit organizations to become financially sustainable and improve their ability to withstand economic change. 

The Nonprofit Finance Fund will serve as an intermediary organization to deploy capital and provide financial education workshops to organizations that supply vital services such as after-school programs, mentorship, food banks and employment opportunities to residents across the city.

The grants may go a long way in helping fulfill community goals in neighborhoods long characterized by blight, including the community center in Fairmount, part of a deal brokered by the city four years ago between Public Service Electric & Gas and the 100-year-old Urban League of Essex County. The deal transformed a controversial public utility development project—the PSEG McCarter Switching Station—into additional space for the center, affordable housing and a new destination for urban art.

The Newark Arts Council intends to use its grant to nurture local arts and educational creativity at the Fairmount site, as well as expanding its ArtStart program to sponsor classes, concerts and artists’ work in Clinton Hill, Fairmount and Lincoln Park.

The Trust for Public Land will use the funding to complete the third phase of its seven-year-long renovation of Jesse Allen Park in the Central Ward, which will include new synthetic turf to replace a well-worn soccer and baseball field.