Category Archives for "The Urban League of Essex County"

Championing Financial Empowerment: The Urban League of Essex County

The Urban League of Essex County enables community empowerment and life changes through its Savings Programs, fostering financial independence and security.

The Urban League of Essex County is dedicated to empowering communities and changing lives. One way it achieves this is through its Savings Programs. These initiatives are designed to instill financial discipline and independence among participants.

Financial Empowerment Through Savings

This year, an impressive 66 individuals enrolled in ULEC’s Savings Programs have collectively saved a total of $30,765. This achievement is both about the monetary value saved as well as the potential for a more secure financial future that it represents for these individuals and their families.

The Greater Newark Holiday Fund’s Role

The GNHF serves as a pillar of support for agencies like ULEC. Its mission centers around raising funds to aid social service agencies across northern New Jersey. By doing so, it enables 11 organizations to continue providing essential services to those in need throughout the year.

The GNHF recognizes the importance of financial education and independence, and ULEC’s Savings Programs align perfectly with this vision. By supporting the GNHF, you’re indirectly contributing to the success of initiatives like ULEC’s Savings Programs.

Will you join the movement and give today? Join the Greater Newark Holiday Fund in bringing hope to New Jersey residents in need. 

A Year of Impact: The Remarkable Achievements of Urban League in Building Stronger Communities

The Urban League of Essex County works tirelessly to create a positive impact in our community. In a year’s time, they helped 10 families achieve their dream of homeownership! 🎉🏡

But their work didn’t stop there. In addition to helping families purchase homes, they also assisted 77 people in avoiding foreclosure. This means 77 families were able to keep their homes, maintain stability and continue building their lives without the fear of losing their safe haven.

The ULEC mission has always been to empower communities and change lives, and these numbers represent real families who are now living better because of this work. At the Holiday Fund, we are proud to partner with this incredible organization.

As we look forward to the next year, here’s to more dreams realized, more homes saved, and a stronger, more vibrant community for all of us.

Want to make a difference in New Jersey alongside organizations like ULEC? Your donation to the Holiday Fund can help our partner agencies do more. Visit today.

Homelessness to Hope: How the Urban League Helped Latisha Coleman

This is how Latisha Coleman overcame a troubled past with the help of the Urban League of Essex County.

After growing up in a household of domestic violence, she became a teenage mother and suffered from low self-esteem after spending years in an abusive relationship. However, with the support of the Urban League, she enrolled in a GED program, received career-readiness training, and secured an apartment for her family. Latisha expressed interest in becoming either a daycare worker or a home health aide because of her desire to help others and her love of children.

Latisha’s success shows that it’s never too late to turn your life around. Support organizations like the Urban League by donating to the Greater Newark Holiday Fund today!

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Take Control of Your Finances with the Help of ULEC’s Financial Opportunity Center

It’s every person’s dream to be financially free, and Anthony Bygrave is proof that it can be done. With the help of the Urban League of Essex County (ULEC) Financial Opportunity Center, Bygrave went from unemployed and discouraged to financially independent and inspiring. 

After losing his job as a forklift operator in July 2015 and facing unemployment, Bygrave found himself in need of assistance. He was referred to ULEC by a family friend and after attending some initial training sessions and meeting with a financial coach, Kamilla Johnson, his life quickly changed for the better.

Bygrave increased his credit score by 90 points, opened both checking and saving accounts, moved into an apartment on his own, purchased a used car, and decreased his debt by more than $11,000. 

He now feels financially independent, thanks to the services provided by ULEC and Johnson. Bygrave’s success story serves as an inspiration to others looking to take control of their finances. Here’s what she has to say about her client’s achievements: 

“I am elated every time a client commits to coaching and reaches their goal; I feel privileged to be a change agent in the process,” she said. “However, I constantly remind my clients that they are the masters of their own lives, and I am just a facilitator helping them.”

Will you give ONE donation this year and support the work of ELEVEN critical agencies like ULEC? Visit and select ‘donate’.

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Urban League of Essex County

Urban League of Essex County helps to create jobs, teach new skills, and educate the future. This mission is accomplished through various programs, including:

Four Areas of Service

1. Ensure that children are well educated and equipped for economic self-reliance in the 21st century by offering the best foundations for education and job skills possible.

2. Protect civil rights by eradicating all barriers to equal participation in the economic and social mainstream of America by offering seminars, community outreach events, voter education and civic action opportunities.

3. Focus on neighborhood revitalization by undertaking resident driven plans to reverse the patterns of segregation and disinvestment, prevent displacement, and promote equitable revitalization throughout all communities.

4. Help adults attain economic self-sufficiency through good jobs, home ownership, entrepreneurship and financial literacy by offering seminars, study groups, job networking, remedial skills training and technology training.


Since its founding in 1917, the organization’s mission has been to help African Americans and disadvantaged residents achieve social and economic self-sufficiency has supported that ideal.  

When ULEC began more than 100 years ago, leather factories, iron works, breweries, and other factories thrived along the Morris Canal. Black workers streamed into Essex County from the South, escaping Jim Crow oppression and drawn by the plentiful jobs and available housing stock.

The Urban League was formed to improve the social, economic, and moral conditions of these new arrivals, who found that discrimination had followed them northward, despite the greater opportunities. 

Make ONE DONATION to the Holiday Fund and support 10 life-changing organizations in New Jersey.

ULEC Founder William Ashby said, 

“The Urban League at that time was the only organization whose purpose and aim might give direction to the solution of some of the problems.” 

Solutions by Numbers

The following numbers give a snapshot of the impact ULEC has had on Northern New Jersey. 

During the pandemic, ULEC has:

  • Disbursed over $40,000 in emergency cash assistance during the pandemic
  • Distributed over $100,000 in emergency rental assistance.
  • Provided over 200,000 pounds of food during the pandemic.
  • Over 250 young people have participated in the Newark Kids Code Program since 2018.
  • 175 people attended ULEC’s In-person and Virtual First Time Home Buyer Workshops in 2020.
  • In 2020, the Urban League of Essex County helped 10 families purchase their own homes and 77 people avoided foreclosure.
  • 66 individuals enrolled in ULEC’s Savings Programs combined to save $30,765, even during the pandemic.

A Story of Hope

Isaac Oppong’s financial circumstances were trying, difficult, and unpredictable before being introduced to the Financial Opportunity Center (FOC).

Upon enrolling in the FOC, Mr. Oppong had no savings, was under-employed and had an unscored FICO credit profile due to insufficient credit history. 

After attending a mandatory financial capability workshop Oppong was intrigued and eager to enroll in multiple services provided by the FOC. 

He quickly began financial coaching sessions and took advantage of the Twin Account program, a matched savings client-incentive product. 

Within 18 months, Oppong saved over $5,000 toward emergency savings and the purchase of a car. 

“My situation has gone from stressful to hope filled, I feel I can achieve any goal I set,” said Oppong.

Now he consistently saves 15% of income and plans to enroll in an employer-based retirement plan this year. Now he says:

“I am so thankful I came to that first financial workshop and now have a financial coach. I changed my path in the direction I want — success!” 

Read more of Oppong’s story on the ULEC website.

Join the League

Individuals can partner with ULEC when they become members of the league, divided into three types:

  1. General
  2. Guild
  3. YPs

Guild and YP members can participate in skilled volunteer opportunities, whereas general volunteerism can be achieved through a general membership. More member information can be found on the ULEC website. Learn more about volunteering for ULEC on the Volunteer Match website

Learn more about the impact they’re making in New Jersey on the Urban League of Essex County website.

Urban League of Essex County Helps Neighborhoods Come Alive

Are you familiar with Littleton Avenue?

In 2012, Littleton Avenue was well-known as a run-down, high-crime block. 

For more than a decade, Urban League of Essex County, along with local residents and community associations, have worked together to revitalize neighborhoods. 

As part of the group’s initiative, the Urban League of Essex County built four new, affordable homes on Littleton. This started a positive chain reaction —

Homeowners, residents, business owners, and stakeholders came together to contribute ideas for further improvements.

Then, private investments were generated

Next, a group of dedicated candidates received paid, on-the-job training in construction trades 

Then the revitalization happened….
New sidewalks were constructed. 
Decorative lighting fixtures were installed
Welcoming landscaping was placed

Today, Littleton Avenue has one of the lowest levels of crime in its area and is known as a “model block” within Newark City’s plans for equitable development. 

But it’s more than just improving infrastructure—neighborhoods are being healed. 

As part of their work implementing sustainable and equitable development policies in high-poverty residential neighborhoods, ULEC advocates hearing residents’ voices.

They also work tirelessly to provide job and financial training for families and youth and coaching for local leadership development.

As one resident puts it:

“I’ve been on the block and I’ve seen it go up and down, but this is the best that it has ever been in 30 years.”

It’s amazing to see the great things that happen when people invest in their own communities. We are so honored to support ULEC as one of our eleven social service agencies.

Learn more about the investments and community initiatives of Urban League of Essex’s community initiatives here.