Prudential Financial celebrates Community Grants Program recipients

Prudential Financial announced the recipients of its inaugural Prudential Community Grants Program launched in March — a $500,000 initiative that aimed to support local, community-based projects that foster stability and growth in Newark.

With $500,000 in total funding seeded for the program, $280,000 has been distributed to grantees and partners. The remaining portion of the initial funding, as well as replenishment funds, will be applied toward future grants.

“As a company that has called Newark home for nearly a century and a half, Prudential is proud to continue our support of projects that drive inclusive and equitable growth in our city through this program, which we designed to directly support residents who are creating meaningful impact locally,” Lata Reddy, senior vice president of inclusive solutions at Prudential Financial and chair of the Prudential Foundation, said. “We know a strong city is built on strong neighborhoods and understand that those closest to the challenges in our community are best positioned to solve them. We’re looking forward to seeing the direct influence the grantees and their efforts have on the Newark community.”

During a ceremony at the Prudential Tower in Newark last week, 52 community-based projects were chosen for addressing local issues and implementing changes that foster stability and growth across the five wards of Newark. They include:

  • Drama with a Twist: With the support of a licensed school social worker and registered drama therapist, Lillian Ribeiro will develop two violence‑prevention programs focused on establishing healthy, peer-to-peer relationships among more than 500 youth at Elliott Street Elementary School.
  • Girls Live, Love, Laugh: This organization will provide 300 single-parent households with limited resources the opportunity to shop for school uniforms at Kids Place in Newark and access to meals on the first day of school.
  • Weequahic Park Sports Authority: This group will hold monthly trainings to provide CPR and AED training and certification for over 300 youth, coaches and parents. The project will include the opportunity for those ages 7 to 17 to join the Public Safety Youth Explorers Club and Post as participating members to learn more about becoming a firefighter, EMT or police officer.
  • Tree House ENT Cultural Arts: This organization will work with Palm Street Block Association and the Heart of Vailsburg Block Club Coalition to provide education around the benefits of healthy and organic foods and encourage community members to become involved in community gardens.
  • Brick City Run Club: This group will create a weekly inclusive and free workout program open to the public to encourage residents to engage in regular physical activity in a safe and supportive environment.

“I congratulate all our Prudential Community Grants Program recipients and thank our partners at Prudential Financial for creating a program that directly impacts distinct groups and neighborhoods in Newark and enhances our communities,” Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka said. “Prudential shares my administration’s understanding that, when we put resources into the hands of our local leaders and nonprofit organizations, we unlock their powerful spirit of ingenuity. By continuing to collaborate on harnessing public and private resources, we will strengthen our talents and build an even more vibrant and equitable city.”

A unique and critical aspect of the program was enabling Newark residents and organizations to help choose the grant recipients. Prudential partnered with the Community Foundation of New Jersey to administer and distribute the microgrants toward the projects and programs that will support neighborhood beautification, increase resident access to opportunity and enhance quality of life.

“It is our privilege to partner with Prudential on this important community grants program,” Aaron Turner, chief philanthropic officer at the Community Foundation of New Jersey, said. “In our 40 years of putting charitable resources behind high-impact projects, we know that, often, the most effective and lasting change occurs hyperlocally. We’re proud to work with an enlightened funder like Prudential.”

Additionally, Prudential identified and partnered with intermediary organizations in each ward to assist with the program, including: Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District (Central Ward); Ironbound Community Corp. (East Ward); La Casa de Don Pedro (North Ward); South Ward Promise Neighborhood (South Ward); and Unified Vailsburg Services Organization (West Ward).

The intermediaries provided application assistance and program marketing support, and collaborated with Prudential to reach and support residents and organizations in each neighborhood. Intermediary organizations identified in each of the five wards received $10,000 in grants to support the program and provide technical assistance.

The full list of the recipients of the Prudential Community Grants Program can be found here.