Don and Audible’s work in Newark is highlighted in a Wall Street Journal column titled “How a Company Can Help a City.” The piece spotlights Audible’s programs to hire Newark residents without degrees and encourage employees to move to Newark; Newark Venture Partners, the venture capital firm Don founded to attract tech startups to the city; and Newark Working Kitchens.
When the pandemic hit, Newark went into survival mode. Mr. Katz quickly set up Newark Working Kitchens to help save restaurants. Using much of Audible’s $10 million in suddenly unused food-and-travel budget, the group hired local restaurants to make 200 meals a day each and then used Audible vans, volunteers and logistics code to deliver meals to the homeless, public schools and homes without food. It worked so well—750,000 meals and counting—that the program just received $2 million from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. Public funding for a proven private program: That’s a smart model.