College Attainment Campaign Receives $1.5 Million From Newark Foundation

On June 10, at Rutgers University-Newark's Center for Law and Justice, Kimberly Baxter McLain, President & CEO of the Foundation for Newark’s Future, announced a $1.5 million grant for the Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC). Dedicated to supporting education for Newark’s children by funding innovative programs, the Foundation awarded the grant in support of NCLC’s goal of raising the percentage of college-educated residents from 17% to 25% by the year 2025.

Participating in the announcement were Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Essex County College President Gale Gibson, Robert Johnson, Dean of the Rutgers Medical School, and Monica Hall, Coordinator of the Abbot Leadership Center's Youth Media Symposium, who spoke of their hopes for the NCLC’s coordinated citywide effort, launched in January.   

Acknowledging that Newark's 17% post-secondary education attainment rate (citizens graduating from college or receiving equivalent credentials) is low compared to that of other US cities, some of which achieve rates higher than 30%, the mayor said, "we need a pipeline from school to university instead of school to prison."   Dr. Gibson spoke of a shared "sense of urgency" and a need to strengthen "linkages between education and career and workforce opportunities." 

Ms. Hall said Newark's high school students must be able to "imagine themselves going to college."   It was her participation in a Youth Media Symposium as a Newark high school student, she said, that led to her own sense of possibility and "full tuition Dr. MLK Scholarship to Seton Hall University."   

The NCLC's 60 partnering organizations include educational institutions such as Rutgers-Newark, NJIT, Essex County College, Pillar College, Bloomfield College, and Newark Public Schools; the City of Newark and municipal agencies such as the Newark Housing Authority and the Newark Workforce Investment Board (NWIB); and businesses such as and City National Bank.

The grant of $1.5 million is the largest thus far received by the Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies at Rutgers University-Newark, which coordinates and administers the NCLC's 25% by 2025 effort.   Other financial support for the project has included a $170,000 grant from the Lumina Foundation, which is heading a national effort to increase college attainment, and a $75,000 program management grant from the Victoria Foundation.  

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