The Founders

Jeffrey Newman

Jeffrey Newman

President and CEO

Jeffrey got his start as a mainstream journalist, moving to NYC in 1997 as senior editor with and, a position created specifically for him. A year later, given a unique opportunity, he left journalism to launch a groundbreaking Wall Street-based financial website for the LGBT market, as well as serve as the founding President and CEO of; he made history with the first live streaming of a gay wedding to an audience of more than one million which inspired a “Will and Grace” episode in the process.

He later spearheaded the restructuring of then media and travel giant Spafinder, overseeing its 100-person call center, TV and radio programs and award-winning magazine, positioning it to be purchased the next year.

Like many, Jeffrey’s life changed in the aftermath of 9/11 and he branched off on his own with Jeffrey Newman Consulting for the next decade and half until launching his 501(c)(3) nonprofit Together Helping Others Inc and its Backpacks For The Street program, along with his husband Jayson Conner.

Aside from his work with the homeless for more than a decade, Jeffrey was an early crusader in the fight against HIV and AIDS, at a time when there was much fear and stigma about the epidemic. He has been open about his own journey having come out as HIV-positive in 2001. Newman is also an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights and suicide prevention, especially among our at-risk LGBT youth.

Jayson Conner

Jayson Conner

Executive-Vice President and Chief Creative Officer

Jayson is a long time advocate for the homeless, spending much of the last decade and a half working with his husband at NYC soup kitchens and food pantries, and later taking a leadership role with the Greenpoint Hunger Program from 2008 until 2018 when he left to launch Together Helping Others Inc, and its Backpacks For The Street program with his husband Jeffrey Newman.

Homelessness is something Jayson knows all too well, having been homeless himself from 2002 to 2004, first in San Francisco, and then in New York City.

“It was soul-crushing. You never know where you’ll find respite day after day, or if you’ll eat or find warmth. One time I fell asleep in the park and woke up to find my belongings stolen,” he says. “It’s a humiliating way to live. I used to steal clothing from laundry rooms just to have clothes to wear.”

What finally changed was meeting Jeffrey, who showed him compassion and helped him find his footing. “I’m grateful to have survived. And now I get to help others who are out there trying to survive.”

Sober since 2015, Jayson is open about his struggles with alcohol and drug addiction as well as body dysmorphia, something he often talks about on social media.

In 2020, named Jayson one of its most inspiring LGBT people in its annual NBC Out Pride feature.

Barkpacks For The Street CCO (Chief Canine Officer)

Stewie Conner Newman

  092318 Stewie BFTS Logo 300x291 - Leadership


110418 Stewie Tuna - Leadership
122518 Stewie Guatamalans Christmas - Leadership
020619 Stewie Sleeping Bags - Leadership
Join The Movement
premade image 03 - Leadership

Read Stories Of Hope


Sign up to today receive a monthly newsletter with inspiring stories about how BFTS has helped give hope to people living on the streets.

Proving that being homeless doesn't mean hopeless.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This