Geoffrey Canada is the author of Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America and was the recipient of the first Heinz Award in 1994 for his work as president/CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone, Inc. in New York City. He was chosen as an award recipient for his passionate concern for children and his selfless determination to make their lives safer and saner. Mr. Canada enjoys a national reputation as both an advocate for and expert on issues concerning violence, children and community redevelopment. In May 1994 Mr. Canada was the host of a national PBS special, Jobs: A Way Out? He has also frequently appeared on CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, The Today Show, Nightline and many other television and cable programs, both nationally and locally.
Mr. Canada, who grew up in the South Bronx, has dedicated his life to helping children who grew up in conditions similar to those faced by his family secure both educational and economic opportunities. Prominent among his many efforts are the Harlem Children’s Zone’s Beacon Schools, Harlem Peacemakers Program and Community Pride Initiative. The Beacon School programs provide support 12 hours a day, 365 days a year to children and families in Central Harlem. His newest initiative is the Harlem Children’s Zone Project, which will work with all of the children and families in a 24-block area in Central Harlem.
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 number one priority in the Black community. This initiative is being coordinated by Marian Wright Edelman and the Children’s Defense Fund.
Mr. Canada holds a BA from Bowdoin College and a MA in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Before joining Harlem Children’s Zone, Inc., he served as director of the Robert White School, a private day school for troubled inner city youth in Boston.