July 2023 Volume 19

Fortis and Friends Foundation Launched in West Philadelphia

Dr. Earl Gordon
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The Fortis and Friends Foundation (F3) was officially launched on April 29, at The Foundation venue in West Philadelphia.

The event coincided with the conclusion of the annual Penn Relays Festival, the largest and oldest track and field competition in the United States and served as an After Penn Relays Lyme.

With a primary focus on closing the educational gaps and creating access and equitable opportunities for students, Fortis and Friends aim to foster the growth of Jamaica through student empowerment.

The organization’s goal is to enrich the educational experience of Jamaican youths, starting at the primary school level and continuing through secondary school, by partnering with schools, families, and community organizations to improve access and increase student learning outcomes.

The founding members of F3 are Kingston College Old Boys of the Mid-Atlantic and friends from various backgrounds: Education, Finance, Information Technology, Science and Medicine, and Travel. The team consists of professionals who were all educated in Jamaica and have had extensive experience volunteering for non-profit (501c3) organizations with a dedicated focus on helping schools in Jamaica succeed.

R. Perry Bloomfield, the executive director of the non-profit, introduced the officers present: Bernadette Atkinson, Erice Reid, Merrick Foster, Dwight Green, and Dr. Earl Gordon, and championed the organization’s goal of helping to secure Jamaica’s future through access to quality education and resources - one student at a time.

Consistent with the Kingston College origins of most members of the non-profit, the organization has an ambitious plan to raise 100 million Jamaican dollars to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Kingston College, which will be celebrated in 2025.

In addition, the Kingston College Learning Acceleration Initiative, which prioritizes improving equitable access to high-quality grade-level content while also focusing on the depth of instruction, will be undertaken in partnership with the school. Other programs will include the Learnit Tablet Primary School Initiative geared towards improving primary-aged children's literacy and numeracy skills. The organization will also offer Professional Development opportunities that will help teachers refine their practice.

Dwight Green gave a vote of thanks acknowledging those who had taken the time to attend the event and gave a well-deserved shout-out to the chef from Ocho Rios Jerk & Tings for the excellent Jamaican cuisine prepared for the event.

The consensus from the guests was that the event was a success and that they look forward to the progress the new organization will make in the future.

In attendance were Dave Myrie, Principal of Kingston College; Christopher Chaplin, Honorary Consul of Jamaica in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Audley Hewitt, KCOBA Florida; Alvin Binns, KCOBA GA; Prof. Neville Ying, UWI Mona; Donahue Bailey; Dr. and Mrs. Norman Smith; Chris Hunt; Mr. Roderick Ellis and Dr. Jacqueline Ellis - to name a few. Dr. Carlos Nesbeth and Everton Barrington, the other members of the executive body of Fortis & Friends Foundation Incorporated, were unable to attend the event.

To learn more about the work of Fortis and Friends and partner with them on their nation-building journey, one student at a time, visit their website: fortisandfriends.org, and follow them on Twitter and Facebook.


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