This article, written by ALR executive(s), originally appeared in Environmental Protection
magazine, May1999 issue, Business Talk column, p. 19. This column is geared towards service professionals who work on brownfield projects, but may also be useful for other business sectors.
People and news
Michael Schneider, spokesman for The Prudential Company of America, Newark, N.J., discussed some of Newark's problems and what Prudential is doing to help. Good corporate citizenship is "just flat out good business," he said.
In 1977, Prudential established the Prudential Foundation, which is the company's philanthropic arm. The foundation has an annual budget of about $20 million. Since it was established, the Prudential Foundation has given away about $300 million. Brownfields are part of the work carried out by the foundation.
One of the projects Prudential has helped along is the New Jersey Center for the Performing Arts (NJPAC), previously a brownfield site. Prudential has donated $6.5 million to the project. The total amount contributed by foundations to this project is $14,740,000. The arts center has cost $180 million and acts as a catalyst for other development; it has encouraged developers and users to invest in nearby buildings that have been vacant for years. The center drew half a million visitors in its first year of operation. This has brought people back to Newark and its hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Prudential further improved the area by turning a 12-acre eyesore across from the arts center into an attractive open space on the Passaic River.
NJPAC is only one Newark development Prudential is backing. Another is the Science Park Project. This 50-acre development will have a big effect on the city. Environmental remediation and physical improvements are only part of the equation. The project will also provide jobs to residents, while at the same time raising education standards. This will ensure that residents are ready to step into the newly created jobs.
Foundations like Prudential cultivate neighborhoods by preparing them for brownfield development. They can be valuable partners in your brownfield efforts.
Foundations fill gaps between public and private efforts.
Identify off-site problems that might prevent your brownfield project from going ahead. Find out which foundations may be willing to help resolve the problems.
Foundations can contribute more than capital. They can add expertise and connections that are invaluable to the revitalization of a blighted area.
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