In 1970, Stephen N. Adubato founded The North Ward Educational and Cultural Center in a storefront on Bloomfield Avenue.
The Center purchased the abandoned Clark Mansion, which previously housed the Prospect Hill Country Day School, a financially troubled private school that could not restore or maintain the historical integrity of the facility.
The name was later changed to The North Ward Center. The impetus for the NWC came from Monsignor Geno Baroni. He convinced Stephen N. Adubato to leave his position as a Newark teacher, and devote his time to organizing the NWC.
The North Ward Center was born out of the turmoil and despair following the Newark Riots in 1967. At the time, the North Ward was the primary home of Newark’s large Italian-American population.
In 1970, Mayor Hugh Addonizio, an Italian-American, was defeated in a bitter and divisive election by Kenneth Gibson, who became the city’s first African-American mayor.
Mayor Gibson supported the efforts of the NWC to help stabilize the once divided neighborhoods of Newark.