Dan Canada

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin,
Geoffrey Canada, Dan Canada,
and Rev. Charles B. Jackson

Dan Canada uses two words when talking about his brother, Geoffrey Canada, founder and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone: courage and character. A senior quality control inspector who has worked at V.C. Summer Nuclear Station for 28 years, Dan will call on these family traits infused by their mother in his role as chairman of the Eau Claire Promise Zone. This grassroots coalition is committed to nurturing success “from cradle to college and beyond” for children in Eau Claire, a community in north Columbia that struggles with poverty and crime.

“There are lots of people who have come out of poverty and made a way and provided wonderfully for their family,” said Dan, who grew up in an area of New York similar to Eau Claire. “Many of them think about doing something to help others do the same, but they just don’t have the courage to step out into the unknown, and it takes something in your character to take time from your self-interest to involve yourself with others. Geoffrey has the combination of those two things, and without his example, I certainly wouldn’t have done this.”

The Promise Zone will follow the successful model of the Harlem Children’s Zone, which hundreds of communities across the country have emulated. In 2008, President Barack Obama called it “an all-encompassing, all-hands-on-deck, anti-poverty effort that is literally saving a generation of children.”

Geoffrey spoke in January at a fundraising luncheon in Columbia to benefit the Promise Zone. The organization is currently focused on designing its Pipeline to Success and implementing strategies to prepare children for kindergarten.

For more information about the Eau Claire Promise Zone, go to www.promisezone.org.

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