Pratt Institute and the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership (the Partnership) recently announced a collaboration to expand the reach of PrattCard, Pratt’s student and faculty identification card, to businesses on the Myrtle Avenue commercial corridor at the start of the Fall 2009 semester. Once in place, Pratt students, faculty, and staff will be able to put a cash balance on their cards similar to a debit card that can be used to shop or dine at participating Myrtle Avenue businesses.

This is the first time that PrattCard, which is already in use at the Pratt cafeteria, Prattstore, Pratt Copy Center, and all campus computer lab facilities, will be available for use outside of campus. The program will be open to approximately 6,200 students, staff, and faculty, and to 150 eligible businesses on Myrtle Avenue. It is expected that a smaller number of businesses will participate in the pilot program beginning in the fall.

“By conservative estimates, Pratt purchases at least $5 million of goods and services from local businesses, which in turn employ more citizens who purchase goods and services from additional local establishments” said Pratt President Thomas F. Schutte. “This initiative is yet another step in strengthening the relationship between the Pratt Community and Myrtle Avenue,” he added.

“In the current economic climate, finding innovative ways to encourage foot traffic and boost local spending on Myrtle is more important than ever,” commented Michael Blaise Backer, the Partnership’s executive director. “We appreciate Pratt’s continued commitment to spurring local economic development in Clinton Hill.”

The Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership provides supplementary sanitation, beautification, and promotional services to the retail district between Flatbush and Classon Avenues. Assisting Pratt with the expansion of the PrattCard for use off campus is just one of the strategies the Partnership is pursuing to increase avenue foot traffic, boost local business revenues, and to capture an increased share of local spending dollars. A comprehensive list of participating Myrtle Avenue businesses will be available when the program launches in late August, once Pratt students return for the fall semester.