Newark is a participant in the Cities of Service Guiding Opportunities program. Through the program, participating cities engage residents and other local stakeholders to create Opportunity Zone investments that benefit local communities. Cities of Service provides each city with $25,000 and two years of technical assistance and places two full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members in each city hall to build capacity for resident engagement.
In 2018, Newark was named one of ten winners of the Cities of Service City Hall AmeriCorps VISTA Love Your Block competition. Cities of Service awarded each winning city $25,000 to be used for mini-grants and provides ongoing technical assistance and resources to support the efforts of citizen groups and local nonprofits to fight property blight through home repairs, lot transformations, and community cleanups.
Newark is also one of seven cities that took part in the Cities of Service Prepared Together program. A large part of Newark is covered in impervious surfaces, such as roads and housing developments, which make it particularly susceptible to flooding. In addition, an absence of trees and green space has created an urban heat island effect, warming the city to unnaturally high temperatures. The Prepared Together program engaged citizen volunteers to maintain existing green infrastructure as well as plant trees, install rain barrels, and develop cool roofs, all of which have helped it become better prepared to face disasters related to extreme weather.
Newark has been a member of the Cities of Service coalition since 2017, when Mayor Ras Baraka signed the Declaration of Service.
Mayor Ras Baraka
Mayor Ras Baraka has lived and worked in Newark for more than four decades. As mayor, his highest priority is public safety and he works to improve the quality of life of all Newarkers.
Chief Sustainability Officer Nathaly Agosto Filión
As Chief Sustainability Officer, Agosto Filión serves as the leading sustainability strategist and helps to make Newark a healthier and greener city. Prior to joining the City of Newark, Filión focused on connecting communities to resilience resources, as well as climate and sustainability training opportunities.