In his 20-plus years with Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), Geoffrey Canada has become nationally recognized for his pioneering work helping children and families in Harlem and as a passionate advocate for education reform. Since 1990, Mr. Canada has been the President and CEO of HCZ, which The New York Times magazine called “one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time.” In 2005, Mr. Canada was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News and World Report. He was the first recipient of the Heinz Award in the Human Condition bestowed in 1995 by Teresa Heinz and the Heinz Family Foundation. The work of Mr. Canada and HCZ has become a national model and has been the subject of many profiles in the media.
Although Mr. Canada grew up in a poor, sometimes-violent neighborhood, he was able to succeed academically. Drawing upon his own childhood experiences Mr. Canada has written two books: “Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America,” published in 1995, and “Reaching Up for Manhood: Transforming the Lives of Boys in America,” published in 1998. In its review of “Fist Stick Knife Gun,” Publishers Weekly wrote, “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.”