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Our Leadership

Robert Guarasci

Message from Our Founder & CEO

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Since 1994, New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC) has worked to change the landscape in the City of Paterson. While we provide services city-wide, our main focus is a 95-block area we call the Great Falls Neighborhood, with the majestic Great Falls at its center. Our bold vision is that all 8,000 children living or going to school in this neighborhood will graduate from high school ready for college and a career.


As I write this in March of 2024, we begin a year of 30th anniversary celebrations.  When I founded NJCDC in 1994 with my friend Rob Long, we only had two staff and an AmeriCorps national service program. Over the past three decades, we’ve grown a lot, providing more and more vital services to the people of Paterson. And even though we’ve faced a pandemic and other challenges,  our work continues to expand as the need for our programs and services continues to increase.


We’re thankful that, throughout the years, we have been able to continue connecting with our community and supporters in meaningful ways. Today, NJCDC serves well over 4,000 children and families each day through a variety of programs and services:

  • We’ve built more than 200 affordable and service-enriched housing units for Paterson individuals and families.

  • We serve youth from preschool to high school and beyond and have helped students go to colleges that include Yale, Harvard, UPenn, Stanford and, of course, Rutgers.

  • We created the Great Falls Youth Center, each year providing hundreds of young people with a safe place to learn, grow, prepare for college, and have fun.

  • We founded and support the Community Charter School of Paterson, providing 900 students in grades K-8 with an education that benefits from a culture of excellence and high expectations.

  •  We help hundreds of Paterson residents achieve financial stability through the Paterson Financial Empowerment Center, and even more residents find assistance at our Neighborhood Help Center.

  • We’ve built over 15 parks and playgrounds to give residents safe places to explore outdoors and are currently part of an effort to rehabilitate Paterson’s Westside Park, designed by the Olmsted Brothers.


With the help of many friends and supporters, we’ve accomplished a lot over the past 30 years—and the future is exciting!  There are many projects in the pipeline—new affordable housing, a new youth performing arts center, and more—that I’m looking forward to.


As we move into the next 30 years of serving Paterson, I welcome you to peruse our website and learn more about our programs, services and special initiatives. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, which you can do here. Thank you for your interest in NJCDC!

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Senior Management Team

You can e-mail our staff members using their first initial and last name

Robert Guarasci

Founder & CEO

Kathie Mendez

Chief Financial

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Michael De Blasio

Chief Real Estate Development Officer

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Robin Murray

Director of Residential Operations

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David Gelman

Chief Program Officer

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Parshu Shah

Chief Development

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Eddie Gonzalez

Special Assistant to the CEO / Director of Community Outreach

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Board of Trustees

Martin Vergara II

Morgan Stanley

Anthony Coscia

Vice Chair
Windels Marx

David Berninger

OceanFirst Bank

Carline Morrison



Donald F. Buckley

TD Bank

Eric Daleo

Gateway Development Commission

Nita Das

Financial Planning &
Analysis Professional

Etta Denk

Bank of America

Ulises Diaz


Robert Garrison

Laborers’ International Union

Robert Guarasci

NJCDC Founder & CEO

Victor J. Herlinsky Jr.

Sills Cummis

William Pascrell III

Princeton Public Affairs Group

Kenyatta Stewart

City of Newark

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of Every Dollar Donated goes directly to our Programs & Services

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Children and Families Served Daily

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Affordable/Supportive Housing Units Built


Support Our Work!

We at NJCDC are keenly aware of the challenging economic times. 92 cents of every dollar donated to NJCDC goes directly to programs which help families, teens, children and people with disabilities.

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