Determined to Educate, Inc. is honored to welcome our 2018 Honorees and present them with awards in our humblest gratitude. Prepare for an extraordinary and very inspirational evening.
President of Harlem Children’s Zone
In his 30 years with the Harlem Children's Zone, Geoffrey Canada has become recognized internationally for his pioneering work helping children and families in Harlem and as a passionate advocate for education reform.
In 1990, Mr. Canada became the President and Chief Executive Officer for Harlem Children’s Zone, which The New York Times Magazine called “one of the most ambitious social-policy experiments of our time.” In July 2014 th , Mr. Canada passed the position of CEO to Anne Williams-Isom, but continues as President.
In April 2014, Forbes Magazine selected him as one of “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.” In May 2011, Mr. Canada was named to the TIME 100 list of most-influential people in the world.
In 1997, the agency launched the Harlem Children’s Zone Project, which targets a specific area in Central Harlem with a comprehensive range of services. The Zone Project today covers 100 blocks and aims to serve more than 10,000 children.
The New York Times Magazine said the Zone Project “combines educational, social and medical services. It starts at birth and follows children to college. It meshes those services into an interlocking web, and then it drops that web over an entire neighborhood….The objective is to create a safety net woven so tightly that children in the neighborhood just can’t slip through.”
The HCZ Project is the model for the Federal Promise Neighborhoods initiative. President Barack Obama called HCZ “an all-encompassing, all-hands- on-deck, anti- poverty effort that is literally saving a generation of children,” and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called Mr. Canada “an extraordinary innovator and one of my heroes.”
Delegations from around the world have visited the Harlem Children’s Zone to learn about its comprehensive model, from Iceland to New Zealand, from Boston to the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma.
The work of Mr. Canada and HCZ has become a national model and has been the subject of many profiles in the media. Their work has been featured in the documentary Waiting for “Superman,” as well as on 60 Minutes, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Black in America 2, Nightline, Anderson Cooper360°, The Charlie Rose Show, This American Life, and articles in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and The Associated Press.
In September 2008, Houghton-Mifflin published Whatever It Takes, by Paul Tough, a detailed look at the work of Mr. Canada and the Harlem Children’s Zone.
Mr. Canada grew up in the South Bronx in a poor, sometimes-violent neighborhood. Despite his troubled surroundings, Mr. Canada was able to succeed academically, receiving a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College and a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. After graduating from Harvard, Mr. Canada decided to work to help children who, like himself, were disadvantaged by their lives in poor, embattled neighborhoods.
Drawing upon his own childhood experiences and at the Harlem Children’s Zone, Mr. Canada has written two books: Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America, published in 1995 by Beacon Press (and reissued as a graphic novel in 2010), and Reaching Up for Manhood: Transforming the Lives of Boys in America, published in 1998 by Beacon Press. In its review of Fist Stick Knife Gun, the magazine Publishers Weekly said, “a more powerful depiction of the tragic life of urban children and a more compelling plea to end ‘America's war against itself’ cannot be imagined.”
For his years of work advocating for children and families in some of America’s most-devastated communities, Mr. Canada was a recipient of the first Heinz Award in 1994. In 2013, he received the National Freedom Award from the National Civil Rights Museum. In 2004, he was given the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education and Child Magazine’s Children’s Champion Award. He received the 2009 John W. Gardner Leadership Award from the Independent Sector and the 2008 Posey Leadership Award from Austin College. He also was given the 2011 William E. Simon Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Social Entrepreneurship.
He has also received the Heroes of the Year Award from the Robin Hood Foundation, The Jefferson Award for Public Service, the Spirit of the City Award from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the Brennan Legacy Award from New York University and the Common Good Award from Bowdoin College. He has received honorary degrees from Harvard University, Bowdoin College, the University of Pennsylvania, John Jay College, and Bank Street College.
A third-degree black belt, Mr. Canada is also the founder (in 1983) of the Chang Moo Kwan Martial Arts School. Despite his busy schedule as head of HCZ, he continues to teach the principles of Tae Kwon Do to community youth along with anti-violence and conflict-resolution techniques.
In 2006, Mr. Canada was selected by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as co-chair of The Commission on Economic Opportunity, which was asked to formulate a plan to significantly reduce poverty. In 2011, he was appointed to the New York State Governor's Council of Economic and Fiscal Advisors.
Mr. Canada is also the East Coast Regional Coordinator for the Black Community Crusade for Children. The Crusade is a nationwide effort to make saving black children the top priority in the black community. This initiative is coordinated by Marian Wright Edelman and the Children’s Defense Fund.
Mr. Canada joined Harlem Children’s Zone, Inc. (then called the Rheedlen Foundation) in 1983, as Education Director. Prior to that, he worked as Director of the Robert White School, a private day school for troubled inner-city youth in Boston.
The National Book Award-winning author Jonathan Kozol called Mr. Canada, “One of the few authentic heroes of New York and one of the best friends children have, or ever will have, in our nation.”
Editor- in- Chief Emeritus of Essence Magazine and Founder, National Cares Mentoring Movement
Susan L. Taylor is synonymous with Essence magazine, the brand she built—as its fashion and beauty editor, as editor-in-chief and editorial director. For 27 years she authored of one of the magazine’s most popular columns, In the Spirit. For nearly three decades, as the driving force behind one of the most celebrated Black-owned businesses of our time, Susan Taylor is a legend in the magazine publishing world.
She was the first and only African American Woman to be recognized by the Magazine Publishers of America with the Henry Johnson Fisher Award—the industry's highest honor—and the first to be inducted into the American Society of Magazine Editors Hall of Fame. She is the recipient of the NAACP President's Award for visionary leadership and has honorary degrees from more than a dozen colleges and universities.
A fourth-generation entrepreneur, Susan grew up in Harlem working with her father in his women’s clothing store. She founded her own cosmetics company, a first for Black women, which led to the beauty editor’s position at Essence. She is the author of four books: In the Spirit: The Inspirational Writings of Susan L. Taylor; Lessons in Living; Confirmation: The Spiritual Wisdom That Has Shaped Our Lives, which she coauthored with her husband, Khephra Burns; and her most recent, All About Love, Favorite Selections from In the Spirit on Living Fearlessly. She is a much sought-after speaker, inspiring hope and encouraging us to reclaim our lives and create sustainable communities.
She is an avid supporter of a host of organizations dedicated to moving the Black community forward, but her passion and focus today is the National Cares Mentoring Movement, a call to action, which she founded in 2006 as Essence Cares. The Cares mentoring movement is a massive campaign to recruit one million able adults to help secure our children who are in peril and losing ground. “Not on our watch!” she says. “Our children are the mothers and fathers of our tomorrows, and their future is in our hands.” The goals of the Cares movement are to increase high school graduation rates among African American students, end the violence in Black communities and the over-incarceration of our young. “Creating safe, top-tier schools in every underserved community in this nation is the mandate—and it’s doable,” Taylor says.
Susan is a cofounder of Future PAC, the first national political action committee devoted to providing a network of support and sources of funding for progressive African American women seeking federal and state-level political offices. She is cochair with Danny Glover of Shared Interest, a capital campaign to raise money to build housing in the rural areas of South Africa, and serves on the boards of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. She has worked passionately to help restore the lives of people in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region who were devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Member of Legendary Group 'New Edition', Music Industry Executive
Mr. Michael L. Bivins Born and raised in Boston, Mass! At the age of 8 yrs old he fell in Love with Basketball and played in every park and gym throughout the city looking for the next trophy. The streets and hallways of Orchard Park Projects and the older kids, men and women inspired his fashion and hustle mentality.
In 1978 Child hood friends Ricky Bell and Bobby Brown helped to create the legendary Group New Edition. By 1983 Ronnie DeVoe and Ralph Tresvant joined the group then came Super producer Mauruce Starr, who produced their first #1 single Candy girl which launched their careers and made them teen sensations throughout the world.
Basketball & Music was synonymous in their early videos and album art work. When hip hop was making its way in the 80's on radio late night mix show and clubs, the group also got introduced to Queens, NY’s trio Run DMC. The evolution of R & B and Hip Hop was high on the charts and paved the way for the first major concert tour together.
Later on Mr. Bivins launched his record label “Biv 10” and the careers of “Boys 2 Men”, “ABC” and “702”. He was on making the Band 4 with Sean (P-Diddy) Combs and later co-host “The Apollo” with “Gladys Knight” & “Doug E Fresh”. The music industry has been saving lives as well as losing lives that contributed to this thing called entertainment. Awards and accolades are great. They give a good feeling of accomplishment; especially when you know you’ve done it from your heart and soul always giving back.
Mr. Bivins new company “SportyRich” Enterprises is the home for the “Life & Style of Everyday People".
Thank you From Teasha & Michael Bivins aka Bivfam.....
President / Chief Operating Officer
Lynne Holden, M.D.--President
Dr. Lynne Holden is working to change the face of medicine. She is the energetic President, Chief Executive Officer and visionary of MIM. Dr. Holden provides the overall leadership, recruits volunteers, facilitates program development, creates organizational strategy, and establishes collaborative partnerships. Dr. Holden earned her B.S. in Zoology from Howard University. After graduating Temple University School of Medicine and completing her residency in Emergency Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine-Jacobi/Montefiore Emergency Medicine Residency Program, she is now a practicing Emergency Department Physician at Montefiore and serves as its Residency Site Director of the Emergency Medicine Residency Program. She is also an Associate Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she Co-chairs the Admissions Committee.
Her many accolades and awards include:- The Albert Einstein College of Medicine Leo Davidoff Society Teaching Award –2002
Andrew Morrison -- Chief Operating Officer
As one of Mentoring in Medicine’s original visionaries, Andrew Morrison has utilized his 25+ years of award-winning marketing skills to assist the organization with strategic planning, fund development, outreach and new programs. He is credited with creating, “Morgan’s Big Biology Test” – a hip-hop science stage play, the virtual summer science camp and planning MIM Day – a mentoring event in several cities on the same day. In addition he has spearheaded MIM’s efforts in Montana with the Crow Indians, and in Anchorage with the Alaskan Native Americans.
Mr. Morrison is an accomplished entrepreneur who has built several million dollar revenue businesses in the areas of direct marketing, design and training. He is the founder of Small Business Camp, an entrepreneurial training and marketing services firm that provides high-impact strategies for entrepreneurs, executives and non-profit leaders. In this capacity, Mr. Morrison has trained hundreds of individuals from Hawaii to Nigeria. He has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and was featured in the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Entrepreneur Magazine, Crain’s Magazine and The Network Journal 40.
Under 40. Mr. Morrison received a B.S. (Electrical Engineering) from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.