Preparing the next generation of civic and community leaders to build healthier communities
New Jersey Community Development Corporation
Preparing the next generation of civic and community leaders to build healthier communities
New Jersey Community Development Corporation
Grant Award Amount

New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC) is leading this three-year project, in which a total of 30 youth from Paterson, ages 14-21, are receiving guidance from trained community-based coaches, to better understand topics around population health, develop leadership skills, and implement self-designed projects to make their communities healthier. By the end of this project, the youth participants will have the skills, knowledge, and confidence to work with municipal governments, cross-sector coalitions focused on health, school boards, and other organizations to build healthier and more vibrant communities. The youth will also participate in a statewide alumni network to stay connected to their peers as they continue on their leadership paths and move into the next phases of their lives. To advance this work in Paterson, NJCDC is partnering with the Passaic County Health Coalition, the NJHI-funded Passaic County Food Policy Council, the City of Paterson, the YMCA, Paterson Public Schools and others to engage youth representing a cross-section of the community to make a long-term impact on Paterson. These Paterson youth represent one of 10 New Jersey communities supported by the NJHI: Next Generation Community Leaders initiative.

In the first grant year, a team of Paterson youth worked to implement crime prevention through environmental design strategies and in Summer 2018, revitalized Costello Park and surrounding areas. For their Summer 2019 project, a new youth team worked to increase community members’ access to green spaces and social connectivity by partnering with Habitat for Humanity and the United Way to revitalize neighborhood gardens.  Follow the team on Instagram, plus

  • See an overview of all of the Next Generation Community Leaders teams’ summer projects here. View a summary of the 2018 summer projects here.  Learn more about their 2019 summer projects here.
  • Get a statewide view of this work, and connect with the nearest team at #NJLeaders2030.
Grant Recipient

Kiersten Jones
Interim Project Director
(973) 413-1600

Hear alumni from the first-year Next Generation Community Leaders teams reflect on their work, the value of meaningful experiences and authentic adult-youth partnerships, and share new insights that developed a broader perspective.

View recommendations from this initiative:

Atkins, B. and Hart, D.  Principles for Engaging Youth as Partners to Build Healthier CommunitiesGrantmakers in Health – Views from the Field. January 28, 2020.


Follow the latest news coverage regarding NJHI: Next Generation Community Leaders:
Seeds of Hope, as Well as Fruits and Vegetables, Continue to Bloom on Once Seedy Lot, S. (2020, July 22).

Paterson: Teens Construct Greenhouse at Community Garden
Paterson Press/ Rumley, E. (2019, August 10).

YouthCares Program Heads to Camden and Philadelphia
NJCDC blog. (2018, July 30). (2017, August 7).
NJ Spotlight
. (2017, July 12).
SNJ Today. (2017, July 12).


View All: NJHI 2017: Next Generation Community Leaders