Following a 3-year community planning process, YBN was founded in 2003 by Executive Director Robert Clark, a graduate of the YouthBuild Boston and Public Allies DC programs, with grants from the Prudential Foundation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Robert is the first YouthBuild graduate to found a YouthBuild program.

Our first site opened in Newark’s Central Ward, one of the city’s lowest income areas. After noting the success of our initial efforts, to increase our impact, we soon launched pilot expansion programs in Newark’s Ironbound district and the City of East Orange from 2007 through 2009.

In 2009, following the successful pilot initiative, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) granted YBN $5 million to replicate its youth development model for young offenders in four (4) cities with high rates of unemployment, poverty, and crime – Jersey City, Atlantic City, Elizabeth and Passaic. That same year, YBN was among a consortium of state-wide YouthBuild programs to receive $6.5 million over 3 years from the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General (OAG).