In October 2010 LaVar Young was tapped by Newark Now’s Board of Directors and its Founder Cory Booker to be the President and CEO of Newark Now. In his capacity as President, LaVar oversees the daily operation, budget of 3.5 million dollars and overall direction of Newark Now. Newark Now was founded in 2003 to provide Newark residents with skills, tools, and support to transform their neighborhoods. After a robust outreach effort, Newark Now’s work began with seven brave grassroots organizations.
Today, those seven organizations are some of the most successful grassroots organizations within the City of Newark and have been joined by many more organizations that partner with Newark Now to improve their neighborhoods. Over the years, Newark Now’s work has evolved. Today, it is an intermediary organization that partners with municipal government, residents, grassroots organizations, and the philanthropic community to catalyze the achievement of positive outcomes throughout the city. The organization channels the efforts and energy of the grassroots community to improve safety, economize independence, and civic participation.
During his time at Fathers Now, LaVar was instrumental in bringing national attention to Fathers Now for its exceptional outcomes with fathers in transition. Participants are men who have lost their jobs and homes, or who are re-entering the workforce following incarceration and seek to assume greater responsibility for and contribute to the lives of their children. During the past 8 years LaVar has held leadership roles for several Newark based organizations, as well as, municipal government. His hands-on approach allows him to build relationships with businesses and city agencies, benefiting any program he is involved with. As Deputy Director of the Newark Best Men program, he implemented abstinence teaching practices and self esteem building workshops for male students at six Newark public schools. In 2004 LaVar was hired as the Director of Mentoring Programs at Big Brother Big Sisters, and continued to act as Interim Executive Director until 2006. As Operations and Policy Manager for the Deputy Mayor of Neighborhood Engagement in the City of Newark. LaVar was influential in securing funding in the amount of one million dollars from the National League of Cities for disconnected youth in the city of Newark.
Recently LaVar was highlighted in the “I AM NEW JERSEY” profile by the Star Ledger for his work in the City of Newark, and was invited to the White House for a round table discussion on fatherhood initiatives with President Obama where he received The National Volunteer Service Award. This past January LaVar received the Martin Luther King Visionary of the Future Award from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. LaVar and Fathers Now have been featured on CNN’s Building up America, USA Today, and Man Up, a documentary on a Fatherless Nation.