Geoffrey Canada to Receive 2009 John W. Gardner Leadership Award

Independent Sector has announced that it will honor Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone, with the 2009 John W. Gardner Leadership Award at its annual conference in Detroit, November 4-6.

Sponsored by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, the $10,000 award recognizes individuals whose leadership in the nonprofit community has been transformative; who have mobilized and unified people, institutions, or causes that improve the lives of others; and who exemplify the leadership and ideals of John W. Gardner, Independent Sector's founding chair.

Since 1990, when he joined the Rheedlen Centers for Children and Families as president, Canada has worked to help children and families in Central Harlem break the cycle of generational poverty. Launched by Rheedlen in 1997, HCZ offers a comprehensive set of educational, social service, and community-building programs that benefit thousands of low-income children and families — nearly 11,000 children and 6,600 adults in 2008 alone — and is working to perfect a community-development model that can be replicated across the country.

"Geoff's commitment to rigorous reporting and evaluation, operating accountably and transparently, all while delivering a creative and innovative program that has impact, sets a precedent for other nonprofit organizations," said Independent Sector president and CEO Diana Aviv. "His example continues to inspire many individuals to follow in his path of creating a nation of greater opportunity for all."