Giving Back Against All Odds

Today, Against All Odds’ education services component generates its largest source of funding and programming. Roughly 90% of its $2 million budget is derived from federal Department of Education grants, which are used to staff 15 full-time paid employees and 150 part-time employees. The organization also has more than 50 volunteers. Other funding comes from individuals, such as the $10,000 donation given collaboratively by talk show host Wendy Williams and Procter & Gamble Co.’s My Black is Beautiful campaign after Carter appeared on The Wendy Williams Show in February.

“My personal story is the sole reason why I’m in this position,” says Carter, whose nonprofit also operates one of Newark’s Family Success Centers, located in the Seth Boyden public housing projects where she once lived.

In 2007 the City of Newark created an initiative with a mission to strengthen families and neighborhoods by developing networks of comprehensive services and resources that promote child and family well-being with the goals of seeing fewer cases of child abuse and neglect, and keeping children out of the foster care system. Since she doesn’t receive funding for the center she operates, she uses $250,000 from her nonprofit’s operating budget to keep the doors open. Carter meets monthly with 11 other independent nonprofits who also run Family Success Centers to exchange ideas, discuss funding opportunities, and share events and certification opportunities.

The success center offers families services such as healthcare enrollment, referrals to drug and alcohol treatment centers, gang prevention, job readiness, and effective parenting skills. The center serves the hundreds of families that reside in and around the Seth Boyden projects.

“Every day we have young people who are not on the streets because they are coming to my community center. We have a parent who is in rehab because I picked her up in my car and drove her to rehab. Those are the successes for me, and that’s real for me,” says Carter, explaining why she funds the center despite city budget cuts.

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