For Immediate Release Contact: Nancy Parello, (973) 643-3876
October 22, 2010
Newark Coalition Kicks Off Anti-Poverty Efforts
Newark leaders, residents and volunteers gathered yesterday to kick off annual efforts to help Newark residents claim valuable tax credits and learn other ways to build financial security.
The Newark Asset Building Coalition, a powerful group of business, civic and community leaders, held its 9th Annual Asset Building Coalition Kickoff Breakfast. The coalition provides tax assistance, financial education and other avenues to help Newark residents build assets. Advocates for Children of New Jersey is a leading coalition partner.
These efforts have resulted in thousands of Newark low-income families building savings accounts, buying houses and opening businesses, coalition members said.
This year, the coalition honored two people instrumental in that success – Maryanne Evanko, president of the NJ Coalition for Financial Education, and Anthony Santiago, Newark City deputy chief of staff.
Evanko has worked for years to expand financial literacy courses to schools throughout New Jersey. This year, for the first time, students will be required to take a financial literacy course in high school. Her organization also provides financial education training to teachers throughout New Jersey.
“I was stunned, honored really, but I’m accepting this on behalf of the New Jersey Coalition of Financial Education,” Evanko said. “It’s a team effort.”
Santiago, who joined Mayor Cory Booker’s staff in August, worked for many years for Newark Now, where he helped create “Financial Empowerment Centers,” places where people can go to get a range of help with financial matters. He also helped establish the Bank on Newark, which brings together financial institutions to help people to open bank accounts.
In addition, the coalition recognized Newark resident James White, who used his earned income tax credit to buy a 3-family house for himself, his wife and three children. White said the tax refund was instrumental in helping him realize the dream of home ownership.
Also recognized where the dozens of people who staff the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites that spring up around the city during tax time to help residents claim valuable tax credits. The coalition is recruiting more volunteers, with the goal of increasing the number of sites where residents can get tax help.
Deputy Newark Mayor Stefan Pryor and City Councilwoman Mildred Crump both praised the coalition’s efforts, noting that these anti-poverty efforts have become even more important during these tough fiscal times.
“Asset building makes better people and stronger communities,” Crump said.
Learn more about the Newark Asset Building Coalition.
To view event pictures, go to www.facebooks.com/acnjforkids