NEWARK, NJ — Newark, like many cities around the world, is at a critical point in its history. And there needs to be a new paradigm of corporate responsibility to move forward, advocates say.
Earlier this week, Newark got a boost in this direction when audiobook giant Audible announced it will be creating a “Global Center for Urban Development” in the city. The Amazon-owned company said it will use the new center to run its social justice initiatives in 14 cities across the globe.
“At a time of unprecedented crisis, Newark’s historic comeback is dependent on continued support from companies, philanthropies and governments working together,” Audible founder Don Katz said.
“With the Global Center for Urban Development, Audible aims to draw upon global best practices, cutting-edge analysis and elite talent to amplify its impact in Newark and beyond by establishing new paradigms that advance equitable development in cities everywhere,” Katz said.
Audible, which is owned by Amazon, relocated to Newark in 2007. According to company spokespeople, since then, it has launched a series of community programs such as:
Founding and launching the social impact early-stage investment fund Newark Venture Partners
Introducing the “Live Local” program that incentivizes Audible employees to live in Newark with after-tax subsidies
Creating the Audible Interns and Scholars programs alongside the Cornerstone program focused on creative Newark resident employee development
Launching Newark Working Kitchens, which has helped to reopen 25 local restaurants and deliver more than 440,000 meals to underserved Newarkers in a 23-week period
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka commended the company for choosing to locate its new center in the Brick City, and said it aligns with his vision for an “inclusive and equitable” future.
“We need all corporations to take an active role in helping to accelerate our recovery,” Baraka said.
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AISHA GLOVER: ‘WE ARE AT A CRITICAL JUNCTURE’
To help get the ball rolling, Audible has recruited a familiar face in Newark’s business community: Aisha Glover.
Glover, who previously served as CEO of the Newark Alliance, will join Audible as vice president of urban innovation on Oct. 5.
Prior to leading the Newark Alliance, Glover served as the president and CEO of the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation, where she oversaw efforts to attract real estate development, businesses and more than $3 billion in development funds to Newark, leading the city to be shortlisted for Amazon's second headquarters.
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According to Audible:
“A seasoned economic impact executive, Aisha Glover has a proven track record of spearheading equitable economic development programs throughout the region. Glover has more than 15 years of experience as an agent for economic empowerment and social justice. At the Newark Alliance, she worked closely with Mayor Ras Baraka to push for inclusive economic growth, helping to align dozens of corporations and private institutions with Newark’s needs, attracting billions of dollars in real estate development, and advancing citywide economic empowerment initiatives, including workforce training and women entrepreneurship programs.”
“Under Glover’s leadership, the Alliance and its corporate and institutional membership base has advanced a Hire Buy Live initiative, helping over 2,020 Newarkers secure employment within these institutions, increased local procurement spend with small businesses, and expanded opportunities for homeownership and relocation into the city. Prior to leading the Newark Alliance, Glover served as the President & CEO of the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation, where she oversaw efforts to attract real estate development, businesses and more than $3B in development funds to Newark, leading the city to be shortlisted for Amazon's second headquarters. Glover also served as the Vice President of External Affairs at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, where she led strategic partnership development, community engagement, public affairs and fundraising to help establish Navy Yard as a global model for urban industrial development.”
“We are at a critical juncture in Newark and in many cities around the world,” Glover said. “We’ve seen how corporations are beginning to step in to fill the gaps to help drive equity, and with Audible’s leadership and backing, the Global Center for Urban Development will be at the forefront to create a new type of urbanism.”
“My commitment to developing deep community, corporate and government partnerships have generated strong results for Newark, and I am energized to bring similar innovative and inclusive solutions to bear in Newark that not only help the city recover, but ensure that it thrives,” Glover added.
The Newark Alliance congratulated their soon-to-be-former CEO luck and wished her luck at her new job.
“On behalf of the board, I would like to congratulate Ms. Glover on this new, exciting endeavor at one of Newark’s core anchor institutions,” said Lata N. Reddy, board chair. “She has made many solid contributions since joining the Alliance nearly two years ago. Under her leadership, Glover has significantly strengthened operations and energized the organization to ensure continued exceptional results across our anchor partners.”
The Newark Alliance board of directors said they will determine the organization’s next steps at their meeting later this week.
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