Founder, Harlem Children’s Zone | Board Member, XQ Institute
The founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone talks about how to motivate and “hook” our young people on learning through their passions.
In October of 2020, “City and State’s the Power of Diversity: Black 100” recognized Geoffrey Canada as one of the most influential Black individuals in New York Politics.
Geoffrey Canada is internationally renowned for his pioneering work helping children and families in Harlem, and as a thought leader and passionate advocate for education reform.
From 1990 to 2014, Mr. Canada served as the president and chief executive officer of the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), which The New York Times called “one of the most ambitious social-policy experiments of our time.” In 2011, he was named to TIME’s 100 list of most influential people in the world and, in 2014, was named one of Fortune’s 50 greatest world leaders. He stepped down as CEO in 2014 and continues to serve as president of the HCZ and Promise Academy Boards.
Under his visionary leadership, HCZ has become a national model and the subject of significant media attention. Mr. Canada and HCZ have been featured in the documentary Waiting for Superman, as well as on 60 Minutes, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Anderson Cooper 360°, Black in America 2, The Charlie Rose Show, This American Life, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and AP.
Mr. Canada grew up in the South Bronx in a poor, sometimes violent neighborhood. Despite his troubled surroundings, he achieved great academic success, receiving degrees from Bowdoin College and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.