Our History

In the early 1970’s, the city of New Brunswick was plagued with urban decay.

Many businesses and residents chose to leave the city for the suburbs. Weighing a similar decision, Johnson & Johnson contemplated a move of their World Headquarters from where it was founded in 1886. Before doing so, Johnson & Johnson commissioned a study to determine if there was a willingness from the community to work in partnership to revitalize the city. The results stated that there was a strong potential and a sense of urgency from the community to revitalize the city. Therefore, Johnson and Johnson remained in the city, built a new headquarters, and established a private/public partnership to manage the revitalization process. On July 1975, New Brunswick Tomorrow was officially organized, with a Board of Directors representing all segments of the community, and John J. Heldrich, Johnson & Johnson’s Executive Committee member, elected as chairman.

Since 1975, New Brunswick Tomorrow (NBT) has focused on improving the quality of life in the City of New Brunswick. In its initial years, NBT focused on creating “brick-and mortar” revitalization plans that its sister organization, The New Brunswick Development Corporation, would implement. However, by 1980, the organization adopted the philosophy that a city cannot be revitalized by brick-and-mortar alone. Therefore, NBT focuses on the social issues that affect its city residents. As we move further into the 21st century, we invite you to help us write a new chapter in the continuing growth and history of our city.

About Our Founder John J. Heldrich

John J. Heldrich is one of New Jersey’s most remarkable business and civic leaders. Heldrich combined his career as a top executive at Johnson & Johnson with a record of leadership and commitment to public, community, and civic service. He retired from Johnson & Johnson in 1991 after 41 years of service that included serving as corporate vice president of administration, as well as being a member of the executive committee and board of directors. He was the driving force behind the successful redevelopment of New Brunswick, and founded and chaired New Brunswick Tomorrow for its first 20 years. Heldrich is the founding chair of the New Jersey State and Employment Training Commission, the state agency responsible for preparing the state’s workforce to meet the demands of employees and the economy. In addition, he chairs the Heldrich Center’s National Advisory Board.