Announcement, News, Press Release

The GreenLight Fund Launches GreenLight Greater Newark, its 11th Site

Jan 19, 2022

Greater Newark


Fund to commit $6 million in Greater Newark over the next five years to lead a community-driven process, matching unmet needs with proven programs that remove barriers to prosperity

Newark, NJ – January 19, 2022 – The GreenLight Fund, with support from more than 50 local philanthropic investors, today announced GreenLight Greater Newark as the 11th GreenLight Fund site. Through its effective model that connects communities with proven social innovations from across the country, the organization will partner with Greater Newark residents and leaders to tackle locally-identified unmet needs, address deep-rooted disparities and create opportunities for children and families to thrive.

“The Newark region’s strong philanthropic and nonprofit ecosystem, along with the commitment of local community, government and business leaders to find innovative ways to address persistent challenges, make the region one where GreenLight’s model is poised to make a significant impact,” said John Simon, co-founder and board chair of the GreenLight Fund and a managing director at Boston-based venture capital firm Sigma Prime Ventures.

GreenLight Greater Newark will be focused on breaking down barriers to inclusive prosperity compounded by racial inequities. In partnership with the local community, over the next five years, four evidence-based programs addressing four different community-identified needs will scale to Greater Newark, one each year, to drive significantly improved results. Everything throughout each selection process will be determined, decided and implemented by the GreenLight Greater Newark team locally. With partnerships and ongoing community collaboration, the selected programs will be embedded locally, growing reach and ensuring sustainability in order to create opportunities for individuals and families to move out of poverty.

“During my administration, we have seen a great deal of new and expanded philanthropic interest in Newark. The launching of the GreenLight Greater Newark Fund, with its $6 million investment in our city, is an occasion for celebration and action,” said Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “The GreenLight Fund pledges to truly listen to the community’s voice as they enter Newark and make decisions about investments. Together, we will continue to focus on empowering communities, where collaboration and cross-sector partnerships to solve problems are the norm.”

“GreenLight brings a framework that’s working in ten other cities. Once the community identifies an unmet need, we find a proven program to address that need, one with the best local fit and demonstrated scalable impact,” added Simon. “Social innovations addressing seemingly intractable problems exist across the country. The GreenLight model matches those with communities that need them, helping children and families reach their goals.”

In 2021 alone, GreenLight’s 37 partner organizations reached more than 380,000 children and families across ten GreenLight cities with their innovative, replicable and effective programs.

“We’re partnering with GreenLight Greater Newark because they believe as we do the best way to take on challenges in our community is to do it with our community,” said Rutgers Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor, “Their shared commitment and locally-rooted model led by Newarkers will support even greater cross-sector collaboration, bringing effective and sustainable programs and positive results. We’re excited to have GreenLight Greater Newark as a new partner in creating equitable growth and cultivating the talent of Newark.”

GreenLight Greater Newark will be led by an executive director with deep roots in Newark who will work in collaboration with the local community to address disparities and barriers to prosperity by: conducting an annual process to elevate issues not yet being addressed; supporting innovative, entrepreneurial organizations with demonstrated, measurable results elsewhere in the country to come to Greater Newark to address those issues; and galvanizing local community support to help programs reach and sustain impact.

In other GreenLight cities – Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Kansas City, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Twin Cities – the GreenLight Method has been used to make progress on a wide variety of issues including early childhood literacy, college access and persistence, food insecurity, teacher effectiveness, community safety, poor health outcomes, the digital divide, family income and asset-building, and youth aging out of foster care.

Mateus Baptista, Deputy Director, Panasonic Foundation explained, “After hearing about the impact of GreenLight’s work in other cities, as they’ve brought innovative, proven models that were needed to those cities, the Panasonic Foundation was excited to get involved with GreenLight Greater Newark and see what we can accomplish together.”

Kate Annis, Executive Director, Devils Youth Foundation also shared her enthusiasm for GreenLight’s success in other cities, “When we learned about GreenLight Fund’s unique and innovative model that partners locally to identify gaps and then addresses those gaps by bringing proven solutions with the greatest potential for impact, we knew we had to get involved. With their track record of success, we’re looking forward to partnering with GreenLight in Greater Newark to help build brighter futures, especially for our youth.”

An incredible, diverse coalition of investors has come together to enable the launch of GreenLight Greater Newark. The record setting $6M Fund has been made possible by the following co-founding funders: AeroFarms, Steve & Luana Alesio, MCJ Amelior Foundation, Bain Capital, Bank of America, David & Allison Blitzer, Broadridge, Debra & Kenneth Caplan, Community Foundation of New Jersey, The Leon and Toby Cooperman Family Foundation, Wayne & Jodi Cooperman, The Della Rosa Family Foundation, Deloitte, Devils Youth Foundation, The Fournier Family Foundation, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, NY Giants, Tim Gokey, Matt & Liz Goldberg with support from Lumina Foundation, Megan & John Hagerty, Meg & Tom Healey, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, iHeartMedia, Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Metrowest NJ, Jewish Federation of Greater Metrowest NJ, Peter & Dana Langerman, Mary Beth O’Connor, Helen & Thanassis Mazarakis, McCarter & English LLP, the Newark Emerging Leaders Initiative, John & Laura Overdeck, Panasonic Foundation, The Prudential Foundation, Eileen & Les Quick, Laura & David Rosenberg, Lyn Rosensweig & Bruce Schnelwar, Rutgers University Newark, Rachel Schwarz & Marc Schiffman, Sharon & James Schwarz, MacKenzie Scott & Dan Jewett, Susan & John Simon, William E. Simon Foundation, Sara Naison-Tarajano & Orestes Tarajano, Stephen & Heather Thomas, United Way of Greater Newark, The Weidhorn Family, Kim & Finn Wentworth, Zack Widmann & Kim Hirsh, Larry & Gayle Wieseneck, Wiley, Wilf Family Foundations, and John & Suzanne Willian.

Tanuja Dehne, President and CEO of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation shared her enthusiasm for GreenLight adding Greater Newark as its 11th site, “At the Dodge Foundation, we prioritize networks, movements, organizations and leaders closest to the harms of inequities who have been historically excluded from investment and opportunity. I’m excited about our investment in GreenLight Greater Newark as their model, driven by local community needs, will surface critical perspectives and strategies informed by community members, positioning those closest to the challenges to influence decisions about the places where they live and work.”

“We are energized by the strong spirit and commitment to equity in Greater Newark and are eager to get started,” said Margaret Hall, GreenLight Fund CEO and Co-founder. “Once our GreenLight Greater Newark executive director is in place, likely this quarter, we’ll launch our first selection process. We’ll engage deeply across all sectors of the community and begin to take specific action against a community-identified unmet need in order to ensure real, measurable change.”

The local executive director will form a Selection Advisory Council and partner with that inclusive group of Greater Newark leaders and residents from businesses, nonprofits, philanthropy, the community and government in the annual 9-12 month GreenLight process. Together, annually, they will identify focus areas not yet being addressed, perform diligence and select an organization for investment and community impact. The first selection is expected to be made in 2023.

“One of the reasons we partner with GreenLight is their inclusive approach to bring evidence-based programs to communities,” said Shané Harris, president of The Prudential Foundation. “This collaboration helps continue our efforts to promote financial freedom and close the racial wealth gap for residents in our hometown.”

“By listening to what’s needed and then finding evidence-based programs to address community-identified challenges in our region, GreenLight’s approach aligns well with Newark’s culture of collaboration. Our family is thrilled to support this effort and look forward to the long-term impact this will have in the community,” added Jodi Cooperman.

“We’re excited to partner with GreenLight Fund as they launch in Newark. Their innovative approach to targeting and implementing focused solutions and their track record of success made it a really easy choice for us. As a global leader in research and education, our mission is to unlock human potential and we can’t think of a better partner than GreenLight Fund to help do that in our local community in Newark.” – Shari Hofer, Senior Vice President Marketing, Wiley

“The GreenLight vision to tackle the most pressing family and youth issues in high poverty areas with a systematic approach to scaling nonprofit solutions and doing that in a highly collaborative way with the community, deeply resonated with me. I think there are so many great things happening in Newark and I’m thrilled to be part of the journey.” – Stephen Thomas, Managing Director, Bain Capital

“I’m excited to be involved in GreenLight’s innovative approach to solving problems in the city I grew up in and can’t wait for the sustainable solutions that will arise from this program.” – Alvin Toha, Member, Newark Emerging Leaders Initiative