Newark one of four Model Communities recognized for efforts to reduce violence;
The Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance will provide MBK Newark
with support to continue equitable outcomes around education and workforce development

Newark, NJ—May 10, 2023— Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced today that President Barack Obama has named Newark as one of four cities nationwide to be designated as a My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Model Community. The My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, a program of the Obama Foundation, has created a new initiative that seeks to expand the implementation of evidence-based practices and impact communities across the country. Newark was selected from a network of hundreds of cities that have an evidence-based track record of success in positively shifting outcomes for boys and young men of color. Each MBK Model Community represents a tangible example of the systems-level impact that communities can have when working to achieve the MBK Milestones. The MBK Milestones are six key life milestones that research shows are especially predictive of later success, and where interventions can have the greatest impact. Mayor Baraka joined President Obama onstage at an MBK Impact in Action event in Chicago, Illinois to share the city’s efforts to reduce violence.

“I am incredibly proud that Newark has been named an MBK Model Community,” said Mayor Baraka. “It is invigorating and uplifting to see the spread of this holistic collaboration to treat the national epidemic of violence as a public health crisis. That same spirit of collaboration has brought hope and healing to our city in the most tangible, measurable ways through the launch of the City of Newark’s Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery. Newark is eager to share our success in reducing violence with other communities, and we look forward to learning from other communities who have achieved other key milestones. MBK Newark has had a profound impact on the lives of our residents, and I look forward to working with them as they embark on a renewed challenge to address the remaining five MBK Milestones that will improve outcomes for our boys and young men of color.”

“In 2014, in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death, I challenged every community in the country to implement strategies to help boys and young men of color,” said President Obama. “Today, I’m proud to see the incredible impact My Brother’s Keeper Alliance communities are having – helping hundreds of community leaders across the country solve problems for the next generation. Thanks to the tireless efforts of MBK communities, cities like Newark have changed the odds – creating opportunities for our young people to achieve their full potential. The MBK Model Communities initiative represents the next phase of the MBK Alliance’s work to help communities take on their biggest challenges – and I look forward to continuing this work alongside them for years to come.”

“The My Brother’s Keeper Alliance is proud to recognize Newark as an MBK Model Community, demonstrating their commitment to Milestone Six: All Youth Should Remain Safe from Violent Crime,” said Dr. Adren Wilson, MBK Alliance Executive Director. “Through the new MBK Model Communities initiative, the MBK Alliance has identified four communities that exemplify the tangible impact that can be achieved when implementing evidence-based practices. The leadership of the Mayor’s Office and MBK Newark has been instrumental in reducing shootings in Newark by 35 percent in just the last year, and bringing homicides to a 60-year low, reducing homicides by 55 percent since 2013. The MBK Alliance is confident that Newark will continue to serve as a beacon of hope and best practices for other communities to follow, ensuring boys and young men of color have access to the resources and opportunities they need to thrive, including the opportunity to remain safe from violent crime.”

Each selected MBK Model Community has achieved a significant impact in at least one of the six MBK Milestones by instituting programming and initiatives that have positively shifted outcomes in the educational or violence reduction ecosystems throughout their municipal areas. Newark was chosen for demonstrating impact in MBK Milestone Six: Remaining Safe from Violent Crime.

“Since 2014, MBK Newark has supported boys and young men of color in transcending circumstances for themselves, their families, and our community,” said Mark Comesañas, Executive Director of MBK Newark. “The progress we have made around MBK Milestone Six, keeping youth safe from violent crime, is impressive. Over the next five years, we look forward to swimming further upstream to focus on education and workforce development through MBK Milestones one through five and having Newark serve as a national model for advancing equitable outcomes.”

The Newark Opportunity Youth Network (NOYN) will lead the Model Communities initiative for MBK Newark. Joining a coalition of major cities that have aligned their work for boys and men of color with a focus on opportunity youth, MBK Newark was embedded into NOYN in 2019. Looking ahead, MBK Newark will be looking to build upon the work to reduce violence in Newark with the goal of achieving the other five key life milestones that will help in achieving equitable outcomes boys and young men of color: entering school ready to learn, reading at grade level by 3rd grade, graduating from high school, completing post-secondary education or training and successful employment.

Over the next five years, MBK Newark will start building the infrastructure toward implementing a comprehensive plan to achieve the remaining MBK Milestones. The Obama Foundation’s MBK Alliance will provide MBK Newark with the necessary support to continue implementing systems-level change in these areas and to grow their impact in other areas within their municipal infrastructure, including building systems of support, closing the opportunity gap for young men of color, and creating new pathways for continuing education, job training, and employment. Specifically, the MBK Alliance will provide MBK Newark with:

  • Access to direct coaching, evaluation support, and peer-to-peer learning 
  • Direct resources, including an $800,000 grant ($400,000 a year for two years) 
  • Ongoing technical assistance for their work

“Prudential is proud that our hometown of Newark has been recognized for the impact it is having by improving outcomes for boys and young men of color,” said Lata Reddy, Senior Vice President of Inclusive Solutions at Prudential Financial, Chair of The Prudential Foundation, and Advisory Council Member of the MBK Alliance. “MBK Newark has led an effort to combine evidence-based solutions with community-driven strategies, leading to tangible changes including a safer environment for our young men. The leadership of the Mayor’s Office, along with the engagement of local stakeholders across the city, is testament to the power of collaboration to solve the complex challenges facing our communities.”

Prudential was a seed investor and has served on the Advisory Council of My Brother’s Keeper Alliance since its inception in 2014. In partnership with the Mayor’s Office, the company also helped establish MBK Newark and focused on strengthening the local ecosystem of community partners to drive positive change for boys and young men of color in the city. Over the past decade, the company has invested $1 billion in Newark to create inclusive pathways of opportunity across the community.

By investing in and spotlighting Newark as an MBK Model Community, the MBK Alliance intends to seed other communities across the country with knowledge, best practices, and resources so that they too can achieve systems-level impact in the lives of boys and young men of color.


The My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, a program of the Obama Foundation, leads a cross-sector national call to action focused on building safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color where they feel valued and have clear pathways to opportunity. In addition to providing ongoing support to its network of nearly 250 MBK Communities and mobilizing individuals and institutions to take action, the MBK Alliance works to accelerate impact in local communities through direct investments of funding, training, and other essential resources.


Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a global financial services leader and premier active global investment manager with approximately $1.4 trillion in assets under management as of March 31, 2023, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees help make lives better by creating financial opportunity for more people by expanding access to investing, insurance, and retirement security. Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise, and innovation for nearly 150 years. For more information, please visit


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