Newark launches program to raise $100 million for minority-owned businesses

City of Newark
Photo credit Mack Rosenberg/WCBS 880
By WCBS Newsradio 880

NEWARK, N.J. (WCBS 880) — One New Jersey city has created a fund to support minority-owned businesses.

Newark officials on Monday said the city will look to raise $100 million for the businesses in an effort to close the wealth gap. 

Mayor Ras Baraka stressed that the wealth gap is staggering. In fact, a New Jersey Social Justice study found white families in the state have a median net worth of $309,000. Meanwhile, Black and Hispanic families have a median net worth of $7,020 and $5,900.

“New Jersey is one of the wealthiest states in the nation, the most prosperous states in the nation, but in Newark a third of the people live in poverty,” Baraka said.

The fund, dubbed “40 acres and a mule,” will have money coming from large corporations, such as AT&T, PSE&G and New Jersey Community Capital. The name of the fund is in reference to what was promised, but never given to Blacks after the Civil War.

“We need these anchor institutions and financial institutions in the city that make billions of dollars in the footprint on Newark and along its corridors to contribute to the wealth and success of the majority of its residents,” Baraka said.

New Jersey Community Capital President Wayne Meyer said his group contributed funding, because they recognize the struggled minorities face in starting a business in comparison to White residents.

“The structural challenges to Black and brown communities face an access in capital, startup capital, access to credit. In Newark we see that all the time,” he said.

So far, $2 million has been raised for the fund. 

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