Written by The New Pittsburgh Courier
William E. "Bill" Strickland, Jr.
To commemorate Black History Month, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he would be honoring William E. "Bill" Strickland, Jr. on Feb. 25.
Strickland is being recognized for his journey from disadvantaged minority in the civil rights era to social innovator and Founder, President and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation. Strickland¹s organization, which began in 1968 in Pittsburgh, combines adult career training, youth arts education, and social enterprise in a positive educational and emotional environment. This powerful fusion has a proven record of giving disadvantaged youth and adults the opportunities and skills they need to build a better future by removing social and economic barriers to success.
“Bill Strickland has been a strong leader in the Pittsburgh business community for over 40 years,” said Sen. Casey. “His own life has inspired others to make a positive difference in this world. By honoring Bill, we express our gratitude for his work and for the innovative educational and cultural opportunities he created that have empowered thousands of youth and adults.”
Throughout Strickland’s distinguished career, he has been honored with numerous prestigious awards for his contributions to the arts and the community, including the MacArthur “Genius” award. He is the author of “Making the Impossible Possible,” which includes his story of how a kid from a disadvantaged neighborhood in Pittsburgh would go on to lecture at Harvard and serve on the board of the National Endowment of the Arts. He is also founder of the GRAMMY® Award¬ winning MCG Jazz program, one of the most successful jazz subscription series in the United States. In 2010, President Obama appointed Strickland to the bipartisan White House Council for Community Solutions. In 2011, Strickland was awarded the international GOI Peace Award because of his outstanding contributions toward the realization of a peaceful and harmonious world for humanity and all life on earth.
Following his speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Casey will host a symposium to discuss Strickland’s contributions to the Pittsburgh community, the nation, and as a visionary social innovator whose simple philosophy “environment shapes people’s lives” has been a catalyst for a proven model for innovation and success in education. Strickland’s pedagogical model has spread beyond Pennsylvania and is having a significant impact in a growing number of communities across the country.
Currently, five MBC-affiliated centers are operational, at least two more will open in 2013, and many more are being planned in cities across the US.
“I am humbled by this honor and hope it leads more people to recognize what an impact one hopeful person can have on a struggling community,” said Strickland.
For more information about Bill Strickland and Manchester Bidwell
Corporation: www.manchesterbidwell.org <http://www.manchesterbidwell.org/>