Joe Gibbs YFT Founder and Chairman
Former Washington Football Head Coach, Joe Gibbs has devoted his life to helping others to reach their highest potential. In his professional life, this resulted in huge successes in professional football and on the auto racing circuit. In his personal life, he has applied his coaching skills to helping disadvantaged and troubled youth. In 1982, during the football strike, Coach Gibbs taught bible study to young men who were being sheltered by the DC government.
What he saw troubled him deeply. Most of the boys had been in some trouble with the law, were truant from school or suffering from the consequences of the disintegration of their families — but he also saw in them their desire to change. He realized that unless they could get away from the negative influences around them, they stood little chance. If these boys could live in a nurturing family-like setting, receive extra educational support, counseling and instill godly principles he was sure many of them would be able to turn their lives around. What they needed, in short, was a fresh start.
Coach Gibbs and a few local businessmen traveled to Texas to visit a Christian group home for boys which was funded in part by Coach Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys. They saw what was being done through the private sector to assist at-risk youth. They realized immediately that this was what they wanted to do for they youth in the DC Region. In 1983, Coach Gibbs incorporated Youth For Tomorrow and organized the first YFT fundraising dinner and auction, raising enough money to buy 137 acres in the country near Manassas, Virginia.
It was Joe Gibbs who reached out to the business community and convinced supporters like William A. Hazel and others in the construction industry to put bricks and mortar to the dream. Youth For Tomorrow, New Life Center officially opened in August 1986.
In 1988, YFT was struggling financially. Coach Gibbs sought the wisdom of Dr. Gary L. Jones, a former UnderSecretary of the U. S. Department of Education, Chairman of the Fairfax County School Board, and Executive Director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation as a business consultant. Dr. Jones guided the development of Youth For Tomorrow’s fundraising events, worked with the Board of Trustees, and advised on all aspects of the YFT program. In 1996, Founder and Chairman Joe Gibbs named Dr. Jones Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Youth For Tomorrow.
New facilities have been added over the years–always with the support from the private sector community.In January 2000, Youth For Tomorrow launched a $13.1 million Capital Campaign to construct a school for grades 7-12, a physical education facility and residences to permit YFT to expand to serving girls. In the fall of 2003, when the new building was dedicated, the Board of Trustees surprised Joe by naming it the Joe Gibbs Center for Academic and Physical Education.
The dream — the vision — Joe Gibbs started by reaching out to just a few young men 1986 now serves thousands of boys and girls in our homes. Thanks to Joe Gibbs’s “game plan for youth”, there truly is a place that can change young lives.
“I believe there is nothing more important in life than what we leave behind in terms of how we have helpedothers. Years from now no one will remember who had a great season or who won the Super Bowl. That’s why Youth For Tomorrow is so important. For each young man or woman that we help, we start a chain of good results because he or she will influence his or her own spouse and children and others around them. And they will pass along what they have learned to others. What will last in this world is what kind of influence we have had on others.”
– Joe Gibbs, Founder and Chairman