One of Pittsburgh’s own has been selected to serve on the recently formed White House Council for Community Solutions. Manchester Bidwell Corp. CEO Bill Strickland will serve on the 25-member council with other representatives from around the country.

“The purpose of the council is to try to identify leading best practices in the country to solving community issues,” Strickland said. “The president was interested in finding programs around the country that are getting results for youth particularly.”


Strickland has had a long history of working with youth through his leadership over Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, Bidwell Training Center, and National Center for Arts and Technology. He has also played a key role in the creation and maintenance of MBC’s operational affiliate centers in Cincinnati and Cleveland, Ohio, Grand Rapids, Mich., and San Francisco, Calif.

“I really think it’s the work that we’re doing in Pittsburgh that’s come to the attention of the president. The employment thing is really important,” Strickland said. “Some of the work we are doing around the country got the attention of the president. He is very interested in how we’re going to take this idea across the country. The president was very clear. He wants to see what lessons can we learn from programs that work that will allow us to replicate those programs.”

President Barack Obama signed an executive order to approve the council Dec. 14., creating the first council of its kind. The council will be composed of leaders from non-profits, corporations and foundations who have shown a record of commitment to social innovation and civic engagement.

“These impressive men and women have dedicated their lives and careers to civic engagement and social innovation,” said President Obama in a press release. “I commend them for their outstanding contributions to their communities, and I am confident that they will serve the American people well in their new roles on the White House Council for Community Solutions. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

In addition to providing advice to the President on solving specific community needs the council is charged with enlisting leaders in the non-profit, private, and philanthropic sectors to make progress on key policy goals. They will also be responsible for providing strategic input and recommendations to help the federal government promote greater innovation and cross-sector collaboration as well as highlighting those making a significant impact in their own communities.

The other members are Patty Stonesifer, chair of the Board of Regents for the Smithsonian Institution; Byron Auguste, senior partner at McKinsey & Company; Diana Aviv, president and CEO of the Independent Sector; Paula Boggs, executive vice president, General Counsel and Secretary of Starbucks Coffee Company; Jon Bon Jovi, chairman of the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation; John Bridgeland, CEO of Civic Enterprises; Jim Canales, president and CEO of The James Irvine Foundation; Scott Cowen, president of Tulane University; John Donahoe, president and CEO of eBay Inc.; Michael Fleming, executive director of the David Bohnett Foundation; David Friedman, lead director and chair of Edison Properties/HNB Private Trust; Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International; Michele Jolin, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress; Michael Kempner, founder, president, and CEO of MWW Group; Steven Lerner, founder and managing partner of Blue Hill Group; Maurice Lim Miller, founder, CEO and president of the Family Independence Initiative; Laurene Powell Jobs, founder and chair of the Emerson Collective; Norman Rice, CEO of The Seattle Foundation; Kristin Richmond, co-founder and CEO of Revolution Foods; Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation; Nancy H. Rubin, co-chair of Amnesty International’s 50th Anniversary Year; Paul Schmitz, national CEO of Public Allies; Jill Schumann, president and CEO of Lutheran Services in America; and Bobbi Silten, chief foundation officer of Gap Inc.

The council will begin meeting in February to set up a schedule and timeline for how they will proceed.

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