United Way of Northern New Jersey serves communities across five counties which account for 1,700 square miles with 1.2 million residents. It is a region with amazing resources, expertise, and talent. Fifty Fortune 500 companies have headquarters or major facilities in this area.
As we all know, the problems of our communities do not stop at county lines. United Way of Northern New Jersey combines the strengths, diversity of skills and experience, and rich histories of six United Ways to create more impact, grow more resources, be more influential stewards of our combined assets, and have a greater impact on our local communities.
Despite being one of the wealthiest areas in the country, there is a large, often hidden, low-wage population living throughout our communities. United Way conducted a study of our economic hardship across our state. What we found was startling – and has radically shifted the way we think about the communities we serve. We discovered a population we now call ALICE which stands for “Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.”
These individuals and families live in the gray area between abject poverty and some semblance of financial and social stability. ALICE residents are our hard-working neighbors whose income puts them above the poverty line but below the level of self-sufficiency. What is startling is that research shows that nearly one-third of our northern New Jersey residents fall into the ALICE population.