Norwescap is a private, non-profit corporation originally established in 1965 to serve the low-income population of Hunterdon, Sussex and Warren Counties. Norwescap is designated as a ‘Community Action Program’ or CAP agency which provides access to Federal programs and resources created under “Johnson’s Great Society”. In fact, First Lady, ‘Lady Bird’ Johnson herself, visited Norwescap’s first Head Start Center in Lambertville.
Over the years Norwescap has evolved into a comprehensive multi-million dollar nonprofit organization providing services to over 30,000 individuals annually in Hunterdon, Warren, Morris, Somerset and Sussex County. Our strategies general fall under six critical domains: Education; Employment; Financial Capacity Building; Health & Nutrition; Housing & Energy Services; and, Volunteerism.
Norwescap’s primary focus is on early childhood education. Norwescap current operates 8 Head Start and Early Head Start centers in Morris, Warren, Sussex and Hunterdon counties. Norwescap is also the State’s designated Child Care Resource and Referral agency for Hunterdon, Warren and Sussex Counties. Additionally Norwescap runs programs for students at Sussex County Community College, provides food to more than 20 school-based pantries and supports elementary students with various prevention programs.
Norwescap provides job training and job readiness programs to prepare unemployed or underemployed people with critical job readiness skills. Norwescap even provides limited funds for participants to earn various certifications or attend higher education.
Financial Capacity Building
Norwescap pursues several strategies to improve the financial well-being of low income individuals and families. This includes ‘matched savings accounts’ in which Norwescap will match the savings of individuals saving for a home, car, education or small business. It also includes a Family Loan Program, financial capacity workshops and classes, goal-setting, free tax preparation and other strategies and services to help families and individual meet personal and financial goals.
Health & Nutrition
Norwescap runs the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) to provide a nutrition plan and financial support for healthy groceries for new and expecting moms. We also provide free cancer screenings, community health outreach and referrals and other programs to improve health. We are also the Food Bank serving over 120 nonprofit pantries, kitchens and other hunger-relief partners in Hunterdon, Warren and Sussex counties.
Housing & Energy Services
Norwescap provides housing for seniors, staffs the homeless prevention hotline as well as providing a variety of homeless prevention strategies (rent support, case management, etc.). Norwescap also provides home repairs and weatherization services to elderly, low-income or disabled residents. Additionally, Norwescap provides direct financial assistance to individuals and families facing difficulty in paying their heating and utility bills.
Volunteerism & Civic Engagement
Norwescap recruits hundreds of volunteers annually to help deliver vital services to those that face food insecurity, the elderly, those looking to enter or re-enter the workforce and a variety of other programs, strategies and surveys that we implement to fight poverty, create opportunities and change lives. Norwescap also operates two National Service programs, AmeriCorps*VISTA and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).
From the Johnson era to 1981 Norwescap among, many other sources of funding, received direct support from the Community Services Administration through the Office of Community Services. In 1981 CSA was eliminated and the funds for CAP agencies became the Community Services Block Grant. While this change led to a dramatic drop funding, Norwescap had built a broad and diverse funding base of dozens of public and private sources and thousands of individual donors that has kept the organization thriving to this day.
In 1985, Norwescap expanded to Somerset County providing WIC and weatherization services. Later, NORWESCAP expanded to Morris County, who was without a community action program. NORWESCAP now serves approximately 30,000 persons annually in Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren counties.
The Agency has remained true to maximum participation and has a 15 member Board of Trustees that includes one-third of board members that are low income or represent low income individuals. The agency employs about 300 persons, both full and part time, dedicated to housing development, energy conservation, child care, Head Start, volunteerism, nutrition, child care referral, outreach, information & referral, food bank, case management, and utility assistance programs. The agency is administratively responsible to the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. Community Action remains an important local resource for families with Norwescap and other agencies across the country demonstrating their cost effective service delivery method which creates thriving communities.
Norwescap 50 YEAR TIMELINE
1963 – President Kennedy directs several federal departments to include “anti-poverty measures” in his legislative program.
1963 – March on Washington.
1964 (January) – President Johnson declares “War on Poverty.”
1964 (February) – Beatles appear on the Ed Sullivan Show.
1964 (August) – President Johnson signs Economic Opportunity Act creating community action programs.
February 1965 – Office of Economic Opportunity announces plans for Head Start.
1965 (July 20) – Bob Littell and others incorporate the Northwest New Jersey Community Action Program (NORWESCAP) a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
1965 (August) – Lady Bird Johnson comes to NORWESCAP to open Head Start site.
1966 (May) – Henry Ford II states “business leaders have a duty to join the “War on Poverty.”
1968 (Summer) – The Community Food and Nutrition Program starts
1969 – Woodstock, first man on the moon, Jets win Super Bowl III and Mets win the World Series.
1973 – Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) launches.
1973 – Paris Accords signed and the end of the Vietnam War.
1974 – Weatherization program begins.
1975 – Sussex gets Norwescap Head Start summer program.
1977 – Women Infant and Children Supplemental Food program (WIC) starts.
1978 – The Low Income Heating & Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP) begins.
1981 – The Community Services Administration is dismantled and the Community Services Block Grant is created.
1982 – Government Cheese distribution to feed the hungry.
1983 – Terry Newhard appointed 5th Executive Director of NORWESCAP.
1984 – First CD players hit the market at $800.
1984 – Norwescap expanded to Somerset County by providing WIC services.
1985 – Norwescap Food Bank opens.
1985 – Norwescap expanded to Morris County.
1986 – GAO study concludes community action “is a necessary and vital program for the poor.”
1988 – Norwescap Child & Family Resources program starts in Warren.
1988 – Norwescap Career & Life Transition Center for Women launched.
1990 – Norwescap WIC program expands into Sussex County.
1991 – Norwescap Family Self Sufficiency program is launched in Morris County at the housing authorities.
1993 – Norwescap kicks off ECHO housing project.
1995 – Norwescap opens Sussex Seniors Apartments for low-income elderly residents.
1996 – Speaker Gingrich agrees to dramatically increase CSBG funding.
1996 – Welfare reform signed into law.
1996 – NORWESCAP awarded one of the first Early Head Start grants.
1996 – Old Firth School transferred to NORWESCAP from Phillipsburg School District for headquarters.
1997 – Norwescap purchased and opened the Robin Hill apartments for low-income residents.
1999 – Norwescap Family Success Center opens.
2001 – Norwescap Family Loan Program launched.
2001 – Attack on the World Trade Center and other locations on September 11th.
2003 – Morris RSVP merges with NORWESCAP.
2004 – Facebook launched.
2005 – Norwescap Board of Trustees transitions to the Carver Governance process.
2005 – Listed by NJ Biz as one of the top 35 nonprofits in New Jersey.
2007 – Norwescap Cancer Education & Early Detection (CEED) program transitions to NORWESCAP from Warren Hospital.
2007 – Norwescap Circles (now Pathways to Prosperity) opens in Sussex.
2008 – First African American president elected in US.
2008 – First Norwescap greenhouse opens in Sussex.
2009 – Stimulus Package signed and NORWESCAP launches & expands several programs.
2009 – Norwescap homeless prevention services begin.
2010 – Named in the ‘Top 50 Nonprofits To Work For’ by Nonprofit Montly.
2010 – Norwescap Received NJ Business Innovation Award.
2012 – Superstorm Sandy.
2013 – Norwescap changes official name from “Program” to “Partnership.”
2014 – 150th graduate of the Individual Development Account Program graduates with a total of $8.4 million in assets purchased.
2018 – After 37 years Terry Newhardt retires, Mark Valli named CEO.