Welcome to our newly redesigned website!
For 99 years, the Urban League of Essex County has served disadvantaged individuals and families - working to improve lives by giving help, hope and the tools needed to access America’s social and economic opportunities...
"All God's Children Need Walking Shoes"
-- Maya Angelou
Donating your unwanted, gently used shoes can help others walk the next mile.
Life is complex, and our circumstances and actions will set us upon many paths. Some of those paths lead to long-term well-being, and some don't. We applaud the accomplishments and contributions of the many who are moving on highways that enable them access the social and economic opportunities that America has to offer.
We reach out to the many whose paths have been rocky, may be at a stand-still right now, but are determined to travel new roads to productive lives. For these individuals, their journeys will be long and difficult in ways that most of us will never know. They need sturdy "walking shoes" to get them to where they want to go.
In 2015, we established a social enterprise, ThriftWORKS, to be a catalyst for individuals looking for a new opportunity to access workforce opportunities. Many in our communities want to work, but have multiple barriers to employment. ThriftWORKS combines community recycling, supportive job readiness and skills training, and retail thrift to provide transitional employment for the "hard to employ".
About Our Leader
Since becoming its President and CEO in 2004, Vivian Cox Fraser has led the Urban League of Essex County’s growth and transition from a social services agency to a comprehensive community development corporation.
Leveraging her distinguished corporate career in world-class organizations such as Prudential, Credit Suisse and CIGNA, Mrs. Fraser has successfully guided The League’s organizational progression - establishing a Community Employment Center, a job-creating social enterprise, affordable housing development and strategic community organizing. These programs play a vital role in its mission to promote economic empowerment as a key driver for social change.
Mrs. Fraser’s own personal history drives her commitment to advance economic and social justice for all. She was taught early on that education was critical to improving one’s future. Growing up in Washington, DC, she lived “first-hand” the disparities of location - where geography determines access to resources that determine the future opportunities of so many urban youngsters.
Recognizing that quality education paves the pathway to economic opportunity, she ensures that it is integrated into every program and service area at The League.
Vivian is a graduate of Goucher College and Yale University, where she was a National Science Foundation Fellow while earning her Master’s Degree in Economics. She is married and has three daughters.