Newark School System $100,000,000 Matching Donation
When Zuckerberg made his $100 million pledge to Newark schools last fall, some wondered what the young Palo Alto billionaire had to do with Newark. After all, Zuck is a middle-class kid who went to elite schools in New England. So why Newark? As much as anything else, Zuck’s donation represented a vote of confidence in Booker and his vision for education reform.
But there was a catch. Zuck made his pledge contingent on Newark raising $100 million in matching funds, which would bring the total amount of the donation to $200 million. Needless to say, raising $100 million as the economy emerges from the worst recession in 80 years is easier said than done. But the mayor’s on his way.
$43 million down, $57 million to go.
Newark is New Jersey’s largest city, and it’s been decimated by decades of poverty, crime and mismanagement by corrupt party bosses, negligent administrators and a country that appeared to care little about the city’s fate. In in 1995, the state seized controls of Newark’s schools after declaring them a failure. Currently, Newark’s school system has 40,000 students and an abysmal 50% graduation rate.
If anyone has a shot of turning Newark around, it’s Booker, who was elected mayor in 2006 with a whopping 72 percent of the vote.