2019 Gala Honoree: Bob Guarasci, Founder/CEO New Jersey Community Development Corporation
Robert F. Guarasci is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC), whose mission is to create opportunities to transform lives in New Jersey’s third largest city, Paterson. Starting with 2 employees in 1994 and currently celebrating its 25th anniversary year, NJCDC now employs 150 people and has an annual operating budget in excess of $12 million.
NJCDC operates a variety of programs and services that include a preschool for inner-city children, an Innovative Academy high school, an AmeriCorps program, supportive housing for people with disabilities and youth aging-out of foster care, job training initiatives, and youth programming. NJCDC has invested over $75 million in brick and mortar projects throughout its neighborhood, including 150 units of affordable housing. Additionally, Bob and NJCDC founded the Community Charter School of Paterson, with 900 students in grades K-8.
Prior to starting NJCDC, Bob served for four years as Executive Assistant to New Jersey’s Commissioner of Human Services, where he worked on issues ranging from welfare reform to an expansion of community-based services for vulnerable citizens. Bob’s current professional interests include the revitalization of Paterson and the Great Falls Historic District, replication of the Harlem Children’s Zone model for child and family well-being, the creation of supportive housing for individuals with disabilities, comprehensive youth development programs for at-risk youth, and the intersection of healthcare and community development.
Bob serves as a gubernatorial appointee to the Board of Trustees of William Paterson University and the Paterson Housing Authority. Additionally, Bob serves on the boards of the Paterson Alliance, a consortium of non-profit agencies serving Paterson residents, as well as the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey.
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