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Newark Charter School Seeks to Give Back to Its City With Gift Cards


Great Oaks Legacy Charter School gives teachers gift cards that can only be used at Newark businesses

In New York, Governor Hochul is urging everyone to shop local for Small Business Saturday on Nov. 26, and in Newark, a charter school is trying to help Newark businesses. Last year it started giving its teachers gift cards for the holidays that can only be used at businesses in Newark. Jared Taillefer is the head of Great Oaks Legacy Charter School.

“It’s like a bit of an anticipation for this each school year, like what are they gonna come up with,” he said, “and I think teachers have always been happy with the things that we got them to show appreciation even if they are some smaller things like candles and bath salts, like I named, those things go a long way for teachers.”

Taillefer said the cards went over big last year with neighborhood businesses.

“We heard a lot of feedback from small businesses, in particular the ones in and around the school, that teachers were using those gift cards at a really high rate and so it made us feel good,” he said.

“There was even one small restaurant that was like, you know, cause last year a lot of people still weren’t going out if you remember, that was Omicron, and he said, ‘You know, when you all started doing this it really helped keep my business afloat, I just saw an influx of people.’”

Research has shown that for every dollar spent at a local business, more than 70 cents stays in the community versus 40 cents for every dollar spent at a national chain.

You can buy the gift cards too at thenewarkgiftcard.com.

In addition, the school buys teacher appreciation gifts from the local community through Makerhoods, an organization in Newark that brings together local creative businesses, entrepreneurs, and residents.

Janice Kirkel is a lifelong award-winning journalist who has done everything from network newscasts to national and local sports reports to business newscasts to specialized reporting and editing in technical areas of business and finance such as bankruptcy, capital structure changes and reporting on the business of the investment business.