From the Executive Director:


“Toward New Horizons”…Touching people’s lives in many ways…


Social Services NJ Focus411 Executive Director

Maritza Aráuz, Executive Director

During this unprecedented period of economic and social instability, the FOCUS Board of Trustees has been working diligently with its staff to secure resources that diminish the negative impact created by the pandemic and address the demands for racial and social justice.  In 2021, 5,502 families were supported when they faced food insecurities, when they needed rental assistance, or when parents needed support with their children’s schoolwork and assistance for their aging parents with 27 collaborations and partners.

FOCUS was established in Newark, New Jersey in 1967. The following year, 1968, the city was confronted by violent racial disturbances (riots) that left a bleak aftermath, testing FOCUS’ capacity to provide support to the community. Ever since then, and up to the present time, FOCUS has strived to deliver proven, effective and outstanding programs for the community aiming at making a difference in the lives of all its stakeholders: the old and the very young, women, men, and children of all races and walks of life have benefited from their participation in FOCUS programs and initiatives in the City of Newark, the County of Essex and the State of New Jersey at large.

FOCUS provides social, educational and emergency services, playing a critical role for individuals and families as they strive to make their way through these unique times. We are humbled by the strength and resilience of our partners and the community members we serve.  We were challenged on so many fronts—financial, operational and relational, but we also sought to create an opportunity to build skills and tools to enable FOCUS to grow even stronger.

As we work and learn, we are reminded to not only navigate difficult challenges, but also improve along the way and be better prepared to meet the needs of the communities we serve.  FOCUS has the capacity to help communities build toward a better tomorrow. It’s clear that FOCUS possesses a well-practiced process for continuously building and strengthening organizational resilience that contributes to community progress and individual achievement.

With that in mind, FOCUS strives to reach underrepresented and underserved groups, focusing on minorities; especially young women and men of color that otherwise would not get opportunities to have their needs met. The FOCUS after-school program in the city’s public schools is a good example. The program addresses scholastic improvement, remediation, and mastery through a proven, effective, project-based educational curriculum that addresses civic engagement and encourages students to build collaboration and cooperation skills. The initiative also utilizes student projects and turns them into community volunteering experiences.  FOCUS was flexible and resilient in the face of this unprecedented crisis and continued to serve the hundreds of Newark residents of all ages that depend on us each day.  We expect to emerge as a stronger and more effective organization in maximizing limited resources to provide valuable human services to advance the community toward self-sufficiency, growth, empowerment, and a better quality of life.


Thank you for visiting the FOCUS Hispanic Center for Community Development, Inc. website.


Maritza Arauz
Executive Director