The , in partnership with the , has announced a $12.5 million community initiative to provide educational and support services to the most vulnerable young people in New Jersey's largest city.
As part of the effort, FNF will commit $1.2 million to plan and launch the South Ward Community Schools Initiative and the Newark Opportunity Youth Network (OYN). The former will work to foster the creation and ongoing support of community schools, an intervention model that provides academic, social, emotional, and health-services support to students who need it most. Among other things, the initiative will bring together community organizations and institutions to improve student achievement and youth development outside the classroom, on weekends, and over the summer. FNF funders are expected to commit up to $10 million to the effort, including an initial planning and launch grant of $600,000. To be administered by the federal , the initiative is targeted to launch in time for the 2016-17 school year.
In addition, FNF funders are expected to invest up to $2.5 million to help launch OYN, an intermediary that will provide educational and support services to some of the city’s most disconnected youth. A partnership of FNF, the City of Newark, , , the , and the and foundations, the network has identified five community-based organizations — , the , the , , and Leaders for Life — to spearhead efforts across the city's wards. The network, which expects to pick up additional partners over time, aims to strengthen the city's workforce, reduce the dropout rate, and positively alter the prospects of thousands of school-aged youth.
"The Foundation for Newark's Future is proud to invest in these smart, innovative, life-changing community initiatives that will have a profound impact on some of Newark's most vulnerable populations," said FNF president and CEO Kimberly Baxter McLain. "I would like to thank Mayor Baraka and Superintendent [Christopher] Cerf for their leadership on these issues and look forward to seeing the results these programs will produce not only in the classroom but in the lives of each of these kids."