First look
“Out of the Ashes Came Hope”

Coming in Spring 2013

"50 People I Admire"
by Monsignor William J. Linder
(third in a series)

In my nearly 45 years here at the helm of New Community, I have met some most interesting and influential people. Many of these individuals are mentioned in a book I am currently working on about my life.

Special recognition will be given to all 50 at New Community's 45th Anniversary Gala taking place on March 9, 2013.

Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement

Dorothy Day, who co-founded the Catholic Worker Movement with Peter Maurin in 1933, was a friend to bishops and cardinals, while being critical of the Church's wealth and support for war and war preparations. She and a group of women fasted for ten days in 1963 in Rome, at Vatican Council II, wanting the bishops to condemn all war. Her writings were about her strong beliefs and views on social issues of transforming people, building community, and being of service to the poor. Her faith and influence were wide reaching and after her death many people voiced their support of the canonization process, citing Dorothy Day's life as an example that has inspired them to prayer and action for social justice.

"Dorothy Day was a very influential figure to many Catholics, including me, because she was the reason I became a priest! Although many consider her life controversial, to me she was a good person who lived her life in servitude of God, and she dedicated her life to helping the poor and denouncing war, of any kind. I clearly remember looking forward to reading her articles in the Catholic Worker, and she was also one of the reasons I started The Clarion. You will never see a paid advertisement in our NCC publication because I believe in keeping the information free from special interest – yet another thing Dorothy Day taught me."

Monsignor William J. Linder

Paul N. Ylvisaker, Educator and Urban Planner

Paul N. Ylvisaker championed cities and the urban underclass as a planner, government official, foundation executive and educator. Dr. Ylvisaker headed President Lyndon B. Johnson's Task Force on Cities and helped forge his model-cities program. As the Ford Foundation's public affairs director, he funneled money to social programs predating the federal war on poverty. Under Gov. Hughes, Ylvisaker, who had been the former head of the poverty program for the Ford Foundation, served as the first New Jersey Commissioner of Community Affairs.

"The '60's spawned a national movement of volunteerism with the emergence of The Peace Corps and VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America). It trickled down close to home for me, when I volunteered my time with an advocacy group in Trenton that focused on poverty and early childhood education. This program later turned out to be the precursor to the Head Start program and President Johnson's War on Poverty. His work in this area served me well when we were in the embryonic planning stages of New Community. I had great respect for Paul and admired the work he was doing. It was Paul who encouraged me to go back to graduate school. And when the state offered to pay my tuition to attend Fordham University, where I majored in sociology, I couldn't refuse."

Monsignor William J. Linder

Thomas Kean, 48th Governor of New Jersey

In 1981, Kean became Governor of NJ on campaign promises to foster job creation, clean up toxic waste sites, reduce crime and to preserve home rule. He also received the endorsement of President Gerald Ford his second time running for governor.

"Tom was instrumental in working with Newark and Prudential in securing the land and our social investment loans to build the Pathmark. Not only that, he helped many of our contractors and staff members when we needed to build some of our most needed housing properties. These properties today provide our residents with decent, safe, affordable housing."

Monsignor William J. Linder


Robert Curvin, Ph.D.

Robert Curvin is a world-renowned expert on urban politics, economic development and social policy. His career included many board leadership and executive positions and he is currently a Distinguished Senior Policy Fellow at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. Curvin was one of the founding board members of the New Community Corporation and has remained a loyal friend and supporter of NCC. From 1978 to 1984, Curvin served as a member of the New York Times Editorial Board. Curvin was a leader of the Congress of Racial Equality in Newark during the turbulent 1960's. Commenting on the period, Curvin said: "Of all the activities I have been involved in, none was more gratifying than the efforts we made to tear down the discriminatory barriers in employment, housing and criminal justice for minorities."

"Bob and I worked very closely together - in the trenches - helping those in need during those horrible days of the riots. It affected our outlook on Newark in many ways, but a lifelong friendship grew out of it. We knew we had each other's back and over the years his support for NCC as we 'rose out of the ashes' was truly remarkable. We thank him for all his efforts."

Monsignor William J. Linder

Charles W. Engelhard, Jr.

Businessman Charles W. Engelhard, Jr., who headed Engelhard Industries, gave New Community its first grant, which the New Community Foundation refused and instead asked for a loan. The purpose of the "loan" was to create a credit history for NCC and its future plans for housing development. Engelhard also chaired NCC's "Operation Understanding," which was one of New Community's first initiatives to heal the pains of racism and bring people of all races and religions together to help rebuild Newark.

"As a result of Operation Understanding, Charles Engelhard saw in us (NCC founders) what we had yet to see in ourselves - the drive and opportunity to grow a new community. Back then, $190,000 was a lot of money, and not only did he provide the loan, he also provided his engineers, legal and real estate department heads to help us with our housing development. We had an entire team of experts at our disposal, it was amazing."

Monsignor William J. Linder

Harry Lerner

In the 1960's, Harry Lerner was the powerful Democratic Chairman of Essex County. He helped fight for a much-needed institution of higher learning right in the heart of Newark, in the Central Ward. That institution, Essex County College, almost didn't happen. Most of the county officials wanted the college to be located in West Essex, but as we know, the main campus is today located in Newark with a smaller annex in West Essex.

"Harry had been a cab driver and was all "anti-suburbs," especially when it came to those in the suburbs who wanted to hijack Essex County College. He really believed that ECC should be in Newark and it was Harry who appointed me to the committee that established the college and its location in Newark. Harry really never forgot his roots."

Monsignor William J. Linder


Primary Bio source: Wikipedia

© New Community Corporation, 2008