Hayward Industries has donated $150,000 to the city of Newark, N.J. The funds will keep all six municipal pools open through the third week of August, allowing residents to enjoy free swimming through the end of the summer season.
After hearing a radio news story about Newark’s financial struggles, Hayward’s CEO Robert Davis contacted the city to determine the overall cost of keeping the pools open.
Hayward’s executive board agreed that the company was in a position to help. The donation was announced at a public press conference on July 29.
“We were very pleased to help out,” said Stuart Baker, vice president of business development at the Elizabeth, N.J.-based firm. “Swimming pools are our core business, so there was some alignment there. We were very happy to help give the kids another month’s worth of swimming.”
One of the East Coast’s major manufacturing and transportation centers, Newark has seen its share of financial struggles in years past. With the 2006 election of Mayor Cory Booker, the city’s economy began to show signs of revival, but the recession brought its share of new challenges.
“They had really been forced into some ‘unfortunately creative’ decisions, as Mr. Booker put it; and part of that included early closure of the pools,” Baker explained.
This isn’t the first time Davis has pitched in on a charitable gift. “The Davises are — very quietly — big givers to various organizations,” said Mike Massa, Hayward’s vice president of sales.
Massa hopes this donation will make the summer heat more tolerable for Newark’s residents, many of whom have come to depend on the pools. “On a hot summer day, people line up before they open the doors,” he said. “They get as many as 10,000 people coming through [one facility] in a day, and they’ll spend their entire day there because it’s their only way of staying cool.”