The Financial Times (FT) just published a long feature profile on Skoll Awardee Bill Strickland. Our founder Jeff Skoll was also interviewed for the article, which chronicles Strickland’s journey of ”45 years doing what he says US state schools fail to do – getting disadvantaged kids excited about learning.”
“His TED talk, ‘Bill Strickland Makes Change With a Slideshow’, accompanied by Herbie Hancock on the piano, has been watched more than 425,000 times. His book, Make the Impossible Possible, has sold more than 85,000 copies. His unconventional corporation has even attracted the attention of business academics and been written about four times by Harvard Business School. He also featured in the acclaimed 2010 documentary Waiting for ‘Superman’, which investigated the US public education system.
Backed by an impressive roster of local business leaders and charitable foundations, Strickland has opened another eight centres in the US and is aiming to found up to 100 within his lifetime. He is also in talks with potential partners in the Caribbean, Japan, Israel and the UK with a view to opening 100 more abroad. ‘I want to open in London yesterday,’ he says….
‘It costs a lot of money to keep people poor. We spend $7bn in Pennsylvania on welfare out of a $28bn budget. What I am saying is invest in young people and give them the chance to be productive citizens. You do not have to subsidise them,’ he explains. ‘We have doubled the graduation rate for inner city black and Hispanic kids. It is a methodology. We have figured this out. With all the presidential commissions and PhDs and Rand Corporation studies we still do not have the outcomes we want. But here is Bill Strickland and his arts programme with a way to double the graduation rates of kids.’”