Nineteen of New Jersey‘s colleges and universities pledged to help revitalize five cities around the state in a new initiative designed to tackle urban equality challenges.
The New Jersey Coalition of Anchor Institutions is the result of two years of planning to address challenges and engage residents in transforming their communities. The target cities are Atlantic City, Camden, Newark, Paterson, and Trenton.
In a May 31, 2017 keynote introducing the coalition, Nancy Cantor, the Chancellor of Rutgers University – Newark said the following:
“As we focus today on the impact that a coalition of higher education institutions partnering with community-based non-profits, corporations, cultural organizations and government can have in building inclusive cities and addressing urban inequality across the state of NJ, we join a broader movement, expanding to networks of similarly engaged anchor institutions in challenged cities across the nation and indeed the globe. In fact, there is general agreement in geographies near and far that, as in the late 60s and 70s, we face again the need to build structures for the long term to move the needle, replacing an architecture of segregation and inequality with an architecture of inclusion and equitable prosperity.”
She added, “Indeed, active collaboration across generations and organizations, with a sharing of power and resources and common goals is clearly at the heart of any successful university-community anchor institution effort, and while it is never easy, it is the only path likely to change what Raj Chetty called the ‘birth lottery’ effect that stymies the opportunity landscape for too many talented youth in our urban centers. If we are going to be positive agents of change, opening up the avenues of opportunity and prosperity, then we too must recognize how hard the effort will be and how much sustained commitment it will take.”
Kantor concluded, “It is high time to roll up our sleeves and learn from and with our neighbors, the very ones whose children will increasingly attend our institutions and define the future of our cities, our state, and our world. As anchor institutions, we too can help America reap the diversity bonus in our midst, if we do the hard work of collaboration and share our current prosperity with those who will make it last going forward.”
Feature photo of Newark, New Jersey skyline via Adobe Stock.