A Q&A on “Plainfield Promise”
In September 2016, Mayor Adrian O. Mapp wrote on his blog about “Plainfield Promise,” a plan to support education and financial literacy, similar to "Oakland Promise." He spoke again of it in his 2017 State of the City Address, tracing his own educational journey and suggesting a $500 bank account for every kindergartner to foster financial literacy, as well as tuition for college-eligible students who can't afford to pay on their own. An initial plan to sell city-owned paintings to launch the program did not work out. At the June 18, 2018 City Council meeting, the governing body approved a “dedication by rider” resolution for Plainfield Promise and Mapp announced a $50,000 donation. Here is a Q&A update on Plainfield Promise.
1. What does the "dedication by rider" do for Plainfield Promise?
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The dedication by rider sets aside funds that can only be used to carry out the mission of the Plainfield Promise. Funds placed in trust by way of this dedication can only be used for the expressed purpose.
2. You mentioned a $50,000 donation. Who was the donor?
The donor was “200 Plainfield Avenue Urban Renewal”.
3. How can individuals and organizations donate to Plainfield Promise?
As soon as the dedication by rider is approved by the DLGS (Division of Local Government Services) a bank account will be established and anyone will be able to donate. The city will make the information known to the general public and appeals for donations will be made. In the meantime potential donors can contact Mr. Ron West, Director of Finance.
4. What are your goals going forward for Plainfield Promise? Is there a timeline for implementation? When do you expect the first students to go to Union County College?
My goals for the Plainfield Promise are as follow: 1) to ensure that every graduating high school student is able to go on to college if s/he desires to do so without money being a barrier. 2) provide support to students who would rather learn a trade than go to college, and 3) to open a college savings accounts for students entering first grade, within the Plainfield Public School district, so as to promote financial literacy at an early age and to provide a head start on saving for college or trade school.
We do not have a hard timeline for implementation or for when the first group of students will enter UCC or another college. The implementation will be dictated by the amount of money in the fund and the pledges that we are seeking; our implementation will be informed by these and other factors.
5. What is the status of the $500 bank deposit program for newborns? (See "Brilliant Baby" on Oakland Promise.)
The Plainfield Promise is a work in progress and we will provide a status update at the appropriate time.
6. Who will administer the program? Is there any staff and how can qualified people get hired or volunteer their talents?
You are getting ahead of us. The goal is to have partners who will work with the city on all aspects of the Plainfield Promise. At some point in the near future there will be structure to the Plainfield Promise that will be shared with the public at large. In the meantime, people who are looking to volunteer can reach out to Mr. Ron West, Director of Finance.