Founded in England in the late 19th century, Newman Houses (or Newman Centers or Clubs) foster community among Catholic college students attending secular institutions; in the U.S., the first Newman Club was established at the University of Pennsylvania in 1893.

Newman Centers can now be found on or nearby the campuses of many non-religious colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and are often supported by local dioceses, parishes, and alumni.

In 1969 the Newman Foundation was established as a non-profit corporation independent of the Diocese of Syracuse. It was originated by the first chaplain at the Newman House, Fr. Steven Valenta, OFM Conv.
Fr. Steven Valenta was at the Newman House at Binghamton University from 1969 when the house was bought until July 1973 when Fr. Robert Sullivan arrived.  Fr. Bob was with the Newman House until August 2008.

The Newman Foundation, and ultimately the Newman House itself, was established primarily to provide a home-away-from-home for students.