President and Chief Executive Officer
John Valverde is the president and CEO of YouthBuild USA. He joined YouthBuild in 2017 after decades of work as an advocate creating access to opportunity for formerly incarcerated people and those who have historically been defined by their challenges instead of their potential.
John began working with imprisoned individuals in 1992 to ensure access to HIV/AIDS counseling, high school equivalency instruction, alternatives to violence programs, and college education. In 1998, he co-founded Hudson Link for Higher Education, the first privately funded accredited college program in New York’s prisons.
As a leader of lived experience who was incarcerated at the age of 21, John is a true reflection of the importance of the healing and equity of second chances and example for the young people of YouthBuild who are seeking their own second chance.
John is a Marano Fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Sector Skills Academy; a Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow; co-chair of the National Service, Civic Engagement and Volunteering pillar of the Partnership for American Democracy; a member of the New York State Council on Community Re-entry and Reintegration; a member of the Leadership Council of 24/7: The People’s Filibuster for Gun Safety; and an elected member of the Council on Criminal Justice. He holds a Master of Professional Studies in urban ministry from the New York Theological Seminary and a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science from Mercy College.