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NEWARK — Thanks to the generosity of Prudential and Sprint, and as part of both corporation’s commitments to My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBKA) to support boys and young men of color across the country, City of Newark youth and their families now have increased access to the internet to pursue educational endeavors, access job opportunities and more.

The Connect Newark program, organized by My Brother’s Keeper Newark (MBK Newark), recently launched at an event at the City Hall Rotunda in Newark, where registered young people and their families participated in workshops and received wireless devices equipped with wireless connectivity.  Accountability for the young people is built into the program, as the recipients are required to participate in a literacy program or take part in computer coding activities to maintain access to wireless service.

“Connect Newark provides Newark youth the opportunity to not only access the Internet, but also to sharpen skills that enhance their academic prospects and drive career readiness,” said William Simpson, director, My Brother’s Keeper Newark. “Tying literacy and coding initiatives to this program typifies MBK Newark’s focus on providing holistic support structures for our youth.”

The event was made possible by Prudential, which provided a $375,000 grant to increase access to high-speed WiFi internet access for Newark’s residents.  This grant is part of Prudential’s almost $14 million commitment to My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge.  Sprint committed approximately $1.9 million in free broadband service as part of its larger $5 million commitment to My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. The free broadband service is part of the $100 million pledge Sprint made toward the ConnectED initiative in 2014.

“Sprint is proud to partner with MBK Alliance and MBK Newark to offer free broadband connectivity to more than 1,000 students within the Newark, New Jersey, Unified School District,” said Jim Spillane, director of the ConnectED program at Sprint. “Together, we’re providing young men of color with access to the resources and information they need to achieve their highest educational potential.”

Newark is one of over 200 communities to accept the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge to increase access to opportunity for boys and young men of color locally.  The city is also home to Prudential, which has maintained its headquarters in Newark for more than 140 years and committed almost $400 million in investments to revitalization efforts of the city.

“We are pleased to continually see how our investment in Newark helps the residents of this great city, especially the youth,” said Lata Reddy, vice president of corporate social responsibility at Prudential and president of The Prudential Foundation.  “By partnering with MBK Newark to give young men of color access to the internet, we are keeping our promise to help close the opportunity gap while also helping them reach their full potential.  Our mission is to create opportunities for people to achieve both financial and social mobility, and Connect Newark is a perfect example of how we are bringing this mission to life.”

Sprint and Prudential are founding partners of the MBKA.  Marcelo Claure, president and CEO, Sprint and Lori Dickerson Fouché, president, Annuities, Prudential Financial, both sit on the MBKA Board of Directors.

Born out of President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge, MBKA is an independent nonprofit organization aimed at uniting the business and nonprofit communities to eliminate gaps in opportunity and achievement for boys and young men of color in the United States.

"Prudential and Sprint's respective commitments to Connect Newark speak volumes,” said Joe Echevarria, MBKA Board Chair.  “It is a tangible demonstration of their desire to ensure access to opportunity for the young people in the City of Newark.  MBKA is fortunate to have both Prudential and Sprint represented on our founding Board of Directors, and we look forward to continued collaboration with them to support our boys and young men of color across the country."

Learn more about MBKA. 


About MBK Alliance

My Brother's Keeper Alliance (MBK Alliance) is an independent, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) born out of President Obama's call to action to ensure all of our nation's boys and young men of color (BYMOC) have equal opportunity to live up to their full potential. In order to improve life outcomes, MBK Alliance is working to elevate the voices of our nation's BYMOC and to unite business, philanthropy, nonprofit, government, community leaders, and youth around this critical work. This collaborative, cross-sectoral movement led by MBK Alliance is breaking down barriers that BYMOC disproportionately face along the life path to create lasting social change.

Contact: [email protected]