A good basketball player can be counted on to pivot and score. The City of Newark has long embodied this concept and the Newark Regional Business Partnership (NRBP), greater Newark’s leading business organization, is a proud stakeholder dedicated to helping to provide wins for Newark’s businesses and residents.
Since 2017, NRBP has run a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiative, which provides programming on the value of DEI in the workplace and encourages policy development that enhances the business environment. Like the city, NRBP recognizes the impact of systemic racism on communities of color. The organization also understands the importance of diversity of thought within a company as well as the need for true inclusion of employees. The initiative targets NRBP’s small to mid-sized members, which are less likely to have a staff member who is focused on this area. The DEI initiative has been especially valuable to NRBP members as national events have brought racial and economic inequity to the forefront and, combined with the deep impacts of the pandemic, caused more companies to prioritize DEI.
Newark, too, is committed to increasing equity and its efforts include an array of creative solutions, such as the land bank program and the guaranteed income pilot program. “NRBP is excited by the city’s range of initiatives to improve economic conditions for residents and increase opportunities for business ownership and success,” states Maya Curry, NRBP’s vice president, communications and diversity, equity & inclusion. “We are committed to leading and supporting in all the ways we can.”
Though it wasn’t initially apparent how long or strong COVID-19’s impact would be on the business community, NRBP immediately worked to identify the challenges its members were facing and implement new ways of connecting them to critical resources. The pandemic affected all employees, but hit those of color the hardest and continues to do so.
“Our members had to transform their business models quickly so we needed to pivot our programming and services to be there for them in whatever way they needed,” recalls NRBP Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Barbara E. Kauffman. Keeping their employees and staying afloat were identified as top priorities. NRBP helped its members access a variety of resources and programs, including loans, grants and emerging health and safety information.
As pandemic recovery continues, NRBP’s online programs remain a valuable resource that will complement a return to in-person events. “We’re able to showcase the extraordinary array of talent that exists among our 400 members that other members can take advantage of,” adds NRBP President and CEO Chip Hallock. “We strive to develop long-lasting business relationships and our experience shows us that when two good people meet, it can prove highly productive down the road.”
Visit newarkrbp.org for more information.
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