Civic Wellbeing

Civic Wellbeing


Newark Community Court

Newark Master Plan

Community Youth Mapping (CYM)

Newark Nonprofit Registry

Newark Immigrant Civic Engagement (NICE)

Youth to Youth Know Your Rights


Newark Community Court


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Newark Master Plan


The Center for Collaborative Change was the lead on Civic Engagement during the creation of  the Newark Master Plan.




A Master Plan is a guide that sets up the rules for land use in a community. They  create a long term vision, of how the city should prioritize and grow it’s resources.  When created with an active community engagement element a Master Plan becomes a way that the people can help shape what their city will look like.

The Center for Collaborative Change worked to insure that Newark’s Master Plan was developed in partnership with Newark’s communities. The process for developing the various Master Plan elements included collaborations with City leadership and agencies working each day to make Newark a healthy, prosperous, and livable city. Experts, from community members to practicing professionals, provided a wealth of knowledge to ensure the viability of the actions within the Master Plan.



Over the course of 2011 and 2012 we heard from residents, business owners, community organizations, and many dedicated citizens who care about Newark and participated in neighborhood workshops to share their ideas and goals for Newark’s future.

The City engaged community members at a total of 20 public meetings held at various locations throughout Newark.

Round 1 

At nine meetings in July 2011, the City worked with residents to identify critical assets, issues, and opportunities in each neighborhood. One major outcome of these sessions was a formal inventory of neighborhood-level information and analysis, which helped inform the development of immediate actions and long-term planning priorities.

Round 2 

At two open house-style meetings in December 2011, the City presented for public review and comment: (1) outcomes from the first round in July; (2) draft goals, objectives, strategies, and actions for each Master Plan element; and (3) a draft land use plan and future land use map of the entire city.

Round 3 

In May 2012, the City held another nine meetings in Newark’s neighborhoods. The goal of the third round of meetings was to present final drafts of all Master Plan elements, as well as introduce key components of the revised Zoning Ordinance, for public review and comment.


The Master Plan takes a systems approach that considers the role of the “physical layers” of the city (e.g., open space, housing, transportation, infrastructure, etc.) to facilitate job creation, grow healthy neighborhoods, and build a city of choice within the region. The Plan also sets the framework for a new Zoning Ordinance that will ensure future development activities are consistent with Master Plan goals.


A Copy of the Master Plan can be downloaded at the Newark City Website. 




Community Youth Mapping (CYM)


Our goal at the Center is to improve people’s lives in measurable ways while ensuring an inclusive change process that responds to the priorities of its community members.  Youth are the majority in our city, and the investments they make in themselves and their community are critical to Newark’s ability to thrive.

Community Youth Mapping (CYM) is mobilizes youth as catalysts and contributors to positive community change. In teams of 5, supervised by young adults of college age, youth canvass their neighborhoods and interview other youth to identify resources and opportunities that exist in their community. They plot conditions and land uses on city lot and blocks in order to inform government and nonprofit community development activities, and also cultivate skills of observation, narration, and interviewing in order to layer qualitative data and subjective analysis over the hard data plotted on their maps.


CYM was originally established in Newark by Deputy Mayor for Neighborhood Engagement, Margarita Muñiz, in 2009.  The Center assumed leadership and coordination of CYM in 2011 and delivered the program in partnership with the Newark Youth One-Stop Career Center and the Youth Education and Employment Success (YE2S) Center.


Summer 2011

Over the course of eight weeks during the summer of 2011, 30 Newark youths, ages 14-17, were divided into teams and supervised by five college-aged students. The summer started with a week of training and an overview of the neighborhood development efforts that CYM would inform. Youth mappers were introduced to the concept of community assets and asset mapping with structured guidance on what to look for when canvassing the targeted areas. The curriculum was specifically designed for teens and conducted in a facilitated workshop format. The teams visited each of the city’s wards and collected concrete, lot-level data on the needs and assets they identified in each neighborhood.  The information they collected on 10,700 lots was compiled, analyzed, and shared with City officials and community partners who used the to inform the development and implementation of:

  1. the City ofNewark’s Master Plan and
  2. the Strong Healthy Communities Initiative.

CYM includes youth in essential community development now, while also building their interest and capacity to be our future civic leaders. In 2011, we found that through their participation in CYM, youth mappers gained a better understanding of neighborhood challenges and productive ways to address them. They were further able to develop skills in critical thinking, internet-based research, data analysis, and presentation. All participants completed an exit survey in which the results indicate:

  • 64% of the participants increased their interest in the well-being of their neighborhood;
  • 86% of the participants improved their communication skills;
  • 90% have increased their knowledge of healthy food access.

Summer 2012

This summer we completed our second annual community youth mapping project where we we able to:

  • Offer 30 Newark youth summer employment
  • Conduct 500 youth-to-youth surveys
  • Map 5,000 lots
  • Take over 200 photos of abandoned properties
  • Create accurate geographic maps of properties
This year’s program had three main components:
  1. Leadership development: a specially designed curriculum to teach leadership and research skills
  2. Asset Mapping: identifying uses and conditions of neighborhood properties
  3. Youth-to-Youth Surveys: giving youth a voice in program and policy development in their City



Newark Immigrant Civic Engagement (NICE)



When people leave their home countries in search of a better life, they can face many challenges. Everyday tasks like searching for a place to live, figuring out the bus system or reading labels in a grocery store can be difficult. To aid in that change The Center for Collaborative Change created the Newark Immigrant Civic Engagement (NICE) project to  help individuals and families successfully transition into their new communities through language acquisition, civic engagement and job training programs.

NICE, created opportunity for immigrant communities to learn about, understand and ultimately participate in local government – enabling them to make an even greater contribution to their new community.

Many immigrants are originally from countries with different systems of government, and need aid in understanding how local government works in Newark. NICE aims to  make the immigrant community comfortable participating in a community dialogue by  helping immigrants navigate the barriers of language and location.

By partnering with neighborhood organizations that work with immigrant residents, the Center for Collaborative Change provided civic classes and discussions about local government structure and procedures – in languages and in locations determined by neighborhood leaders to be most accessible and welcoming. In addition, participants have the opportunity to meet with local officials through visits to City Hall, Municipal Court and other public settings.

The NICE curriculum introduced immigrants to the different branches of Federal, State and local government and how each branch operates. Participants also learn about how a bill becomes a law, their local judicial system and how to contact their local legislator – helping to provide immigrants in Newark with the tools to affect positive change in their local communities.



The Newark Nonprofit Registry



Newark is home to hundreds of city-wide and community-specific organizations that work everyday to improve the quality of life of our citizens. The programs offered by these groups are as varied and diverse as the people they serve, but all have the common mission of making Newark a safer, fairer, and more prosperous city for all of its residents and visitors.

The purpose of the Newark Nonprofit Registry is to help the local nonprofit community achieve its goals by providing four fundamental services:

  1. Establishing a comprehensive database of organizations in the city so that existing and potential nonprofits might collaborate on projects and not re-double the efforts of others. This will also serve to clarify where services are lacking and needed.
  2. Enhancing the vital relationships between nonprofits and private businesses and individuals by providing potential sources of funding with a clear picture of Newark’s nonprofit landscape. This will allow sponsors to easily find organizations that they would like to support.
  3. Educating the citizens of Newark about the services that are available to them. (If you are an individual seeking nonprofit services you may also call United Way’s resource helpline for complete and personalized support by dialling 2-1-1 on your telephone).
  4. Providing an internet presence to organizations that may otherwise be unable to have one.

In short, we help nonprofits and community organizations achieve their goals by informing them, their sources of funding, and those they serve.




Youth-to-Youth Know Your Rights



The Center’s Youth-to-Youth “Know Your Rights” Training program was designed to promote youth civic engagement and leadership development for Newark youth. With support from the Black United Fund of New Jersey, this project offered 10 Newark high school students an opportunity to learn about civil rights and community-police relations and then train other Newark youth.

By giving Newark youth tools to address the issue of police-youth relations in a constructive, appropriate manner, the “Know Your Rights” training program aimed to empower young people to stand up for their rights, educate them on how to interact with law enforcement in a positive and pro-active manner, and help to ease tensions between the Newark Police Department and the Newark community at large.

A group of high school students were selected for their demonstrated leadership qualities and interest in learning about their legal rights, engaging in meaningful discussion regarding police-youth relations, and playing an active role in the revitalization of Newark. After four intensive training sessions, these students were prepared to give lead their own trainings. The Center held four events where our trained students taught other Newark youth about their rights and about how to we can improve police-youth relations.