The Community Leadership Center (CLC) is a service and research center at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey’s Camden Campus. The Center was created in 1990 by Dr. Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, a Rutgers Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Public Policy & Administration, in order to help revitalize the nation’s second poorest city.
The mission of the CLC at Rutgers – Camden is to foster understanding and acceptance of providing new organizational environments and strategies; and to build bridges and partnership among urban communities, academia, and organizations for dealing with race relations and urban development.
Through leadership, collaboration, and research, the Center has been recognized as a model program for revitalizing and advancing urban communities. Since 1990, the Center has spearheaded several groundbreaking initiatives and programs like the Early Childhood Literacy Initiative Preschool, the Aspiring School Leaders MPA Cohort, the Rutgers Alfredo Santiago Endowed Scholarship, and the Rutgers JumpStart program.
The Center’s most notable project has been the multimillion-dollar Rutgers/LEAP Initiative, a comprehensive effort by Rutgers to improve opportunities for Camden children and families by creating the LEAP Academy University Public Charter School in 1997. Since then all of LEAP’s graduating classes have achieved 100% college acceptance with the help of the CLC’s Centers of Excellence, which provide holistic support to students, teachers, and families.
As an established institution for change in Camden, the Center is building on these successes and continuing its mission to transform the city through leadership and education with the Rutgers Early Learning Research Academy (ELRA) and partnerships with Rutgers University, Rowan University, and Cabrini University for dual enrollment classes for LEAP Academy students.