New Jersey American Water presented a ceremonial check for $950,000 Oct. 7 to support an initiative aimed at boosting homeownership, raising area incomes, increasing job opportunities and sparking economic development in Camden.
Administered through the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit (NRTC) program, the funding will go toward “My North Camden!” — a project submitted by Camden Lutheran Housing Inc. (CLHI) and six local partners.
At the presentation ceremony, New Jersey American Water President Mark McDonough said “My North Camden!” will “be a transformational development that empowers the community and betters the lives of North Camden residents.”
The campaign, which encompasses nearly a dozen activities, “exemplifies the exact kinds of projects the NRTC program is meant to support,” said McDonough, who added, “We are proud to support Camden Lutheran Housing in this endeavor and look forward to their continued work.”
Since 2010, New Jersey American Water has provided $10 million in grants to community initiatives through the NRTC program. The Camden-based water utility has given $8.95 million of that funding to revitalization projects in its hometown.
As part of the NRTC program, the state seeks out projects aimed at spurring renewal in distressed neighborhoods through multiyear strategies developed by residents and local nonprofits. Projects approved are then listed in a pool from which companies select the ones they want to financially support.
New Jersey American Water’s application to award a grant to the “My North Camden!” project was approved in December 2021, according to the DCA.
Brandi Johnson, CLHI executive director, said, “This funding opportunity represents the dedication and commitment of a number of North Camden stakeholders, partners, residents and neighbors. All of us at Camden Lutheran Housing are inspired to lead this work on their behalf and fulfil their life-long legacies.”
She went on to thank New Jersey American Water and the DCA “for their support of our efforts to improve the lives of the North Camden families we serve.”
Camden Mayor Victor Carstarphen also cheered the news.
“We are grateful to American Water for supporting the revitalization of Camden’s neighborhoods though the use of NRTC funding for ‘My North Camden.’ We remain hyper focused on building strong neighborhoods and improving the quality of life across the City. This is another step in the right direction and demonstrates the extraordinary level of collaboration taking place in Camden,” he said.