In the early, dark days of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were plenty of opinions flying around. But not many people with the power to make decisions had a real pulse on how community members felt on critical issues. 

In Newark, New Jersey, Project Ready – a social-justice organization dedicated to tackling inequities in health, education and civic engagement – dedicated themselves to providing policymakers with the answers to key questions:

Did families want schools to be closed for in-person learning? What information – and misinformation – was most widespread about COVID-19? How could policymakers incentivize youth to get vaccinated? How did families want school districts to confront learning loss?

PACE worked with Project Ready to guide this entire process, laying out a research and media strategy to conduct the appropriate polls, synthesize and analyze the findings and promote them across the state of New Jersey. Through a series of polls, we secured dozens of media placements, delivered findings to Newarkers through a targeted digital campaign, and prepared presentations for key members of state and city government. 

PACE also supported Project Ready in its direct service to the Newark community – helping to organize food and technology giveaways, creating an interactive map of food distribution centers, and building an online platform for community engagement about key issues. 

We were proud to support a longstanding partner as they pivoted to confront the pandemic head on, and help their community in its hour of need.