Promise Parent Leadership Academy (PPLA) and Clemente Veterans’ Initiative (CVI) Newark

Two Hyperlocal, Anchor Institution Initiatives to Engage the Urban Community




anchor institution, education, humanities, parent engagement, veterans, community engagement, university-community partnerships, Newark


Urban and metropolitan colleges and universities can play an important role in innovative, equitable community revitalization. This is especially true for universities that also function as anchor institutions; there is both a challenge and an opportunity for such urban anchors to conduct their work in a manner that engages the community proximate to campus and improves the lives of its residents. This paper presents the Promise Parent Leadership Academy (PPLA) and Clemente Veterans’ Initiative (CVI) Newark as two examples of how an urban, postsecondary anchor institution can establish and nurture hyperlocal initiatives to improve outcomes for underserved residents. PPLA and CVI Newark, established in 2017 and 2019, respectively, have emerged as novel, impactful, and scalable initiatives that move beyond the typical one-way flow of intellectual capital generated within the confines of a university. Instead, PPLA and CVI Newark actively engage community members in meaningful, intellectually rigorous work that adds value to the institution, program participants, and greater Newark. Data from program evaluations indicate that participants of both programs—most of whom are adults of color from low-income households—gain personal and professional skills that bolster their confidence, critical thinking, and quality of life.

Author Biography

Marcus Anthony, Rutgers University-Newark

Marcus hails from Columbus, Ohio. He received a BA in Political Science from Miami University, earned a MA in Educational Leadership, Management, and Policy from Seton Hall University, and a PhD in the Urban Systems program at Rutgers-Newark. Marcus has worked in the Newark Public Schools (NPS) and served variously as a teacher, as subject chair and as a vice principal. Since 2008, Marcus has recruited and mentored students from the Newark public schools for the W.E.B. Dubois Scholars Institute at Princeton University. He has served as Chief of Staff for the W.E.B. DuBois Scholars Institute and has expanded partnerships with school districts and has collaborated with pharmaceutical companies to secure funding that provides high school students with opportunities to participate in the Accelerated Learning Academy, a STEM program housed at Princeton University.

Marcus served as Acting Director of Teacher Education in the Department of Urban Education which required him to build strong relationships with school districts in Newark, Jersey City, and elsewhere. Currently, Marcus directs a mentoring program for Newark and East Orange African American males, Becoming Role Models for Successful Manhood. At Cornwall, he serves as Senior Program Director and is responsible for managing program initiatives- especially the Promise Parent Leadership Program —  program evaluation, and conducting research to promote positive academic outcomes for students.