AT&T is working with organizations across the country to create economic opportunities and foster upward mobility for Black, Brown and underserved communities that face long-standing social inequities and higher unemployment.
In Newark, AT&T is teaming up with two groups that share those common goals: The Newark Community Street Team (NCST) and Invest Newark. AT&T recently contributed a combined $175,000 to these two organizations to help reduce violence, provide jobs and support local businesses.
“Social and economic injustice are so prevalent throughout the country that it is imperative for our residents and small businesses to have opportunities that will empower and uplift,” said Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “We are thankful for AT&T’s continued commitment to Newark in helping us ensure equality and opportunity for our Black and Brown communities, for supporting our initiatives, and for believing in our city.”
NCST, which was founded by Mayor Baraka as a community-based, violence-reduction program, views violence, homelessness and racial injustice as public health issues and uses holistic, public health approaches in their strategy to reduce violence in the city. AT&T contributed $100,000 to NCST to support programs that assists community members with clearing obstacles that prevent them from achieving a job, housing, and that provide safe passage for students attending schools. NCST has many tenets including: 1) offering wellness support through confidential wellness evaluation and therapeutic counseling and mental health services; 2) social service assistance that assists participants in obtaining birth certificates, social security cards, credit checks, and other important personal documents needed for employment, home ownership or banking accounts; 3) program provides up to 40 hours of life skills training and support; 4) free legal services to address barriers to employment and self-sufficiency; 5) job training and referrals services.
“NCST is excited to team up with AT&T to advance the Mayor’s vision of ensuring that public safety is a shared strategy that includes complementary practices to law enforcement in reducing violence and crime in Newark. Public Safety is not just the absence of violence, it’s also the presence of wellbeing and the infrastructure to support victims and survivors in the respective healing journey,” said Aqeela Sherrills, director, NCST.
Thousands of residents and businesses in Newark have been adversely affected by the unexpected economic downtown associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. It is known that the hundreds of small, often minority-owned businesses in the City of Newark are a major part of the fabric of the community, but many of them are not able to sustain any short-term closings or income disruption without having to suspend or discontinue their operations.
AT&T contributed $75,000 to Invest Newark for a Small Business Emergency Grant Fund to provide working capital grants in amounts up to $10,000 to qualifying small businesses Recipients can use grants from Invest Newark for accounts payable, inventory, equipment, business compliance, licensing renewal, utilities, business capacity, legal, financial services, rent, insurance, business taxes, PPE supplies or most business-related items.
“Invest Newark thanks AT&T for its great contribution to economic justice for African American and Latinx businesses operating within the City of Newark. As part of the NWK FAM Fund (Newark 40 Acres and a Mule Fund), this contribution will provide traditionally inaccessible capital and technical assistance to Black and Latinx businesses. In doing so, these businesses will hire local, buy local, and rebuild their own neighborhoods in a way that creates a virtuous cycle of economic empowerment among a diverse and historically disadvantaged population,” said Bernel Hall, President and CEO of Invest Newark.
This support is part of AT&T BelievesSM, which harnesses our employees’ generosity, supports it with company resources and joins with collaborators to make an even bigger impact on local communities and society at large. This is part of a broader $10 million effort by AT&T to address social inequality through support for education and career readiness programs for underserved people and cultivating Black technology development and entrepreneurship at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
“We know there is much more that must be addressed when it comes to racial inequities across every facet of society – education, health care, economic opportunities and jobs – across our communities,” said Charlene Brown, president, AT&T-New Jersey. “We continue to work diligently in Newark and across New Jersey to address education, workforce and other needs in underserved communities. At AT&T, we also BELIEVE in them.”
Brown added that AT&T has been working with several organizations in Newark this year to help them deal with the challenges presented by COVID-19. These groups include the United Way of Greater Newark to provide food and basic needs for impacted residents in Newark and the Newark Summer Youth Employment Program. All told, including the two contributions announced today, AT&T and the AT&T Foundation have contributed more than $325,000 to organizations in or programs that benefit Newark this year.
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