STRIVE Celebrates 30 Years of Transforming Lives Through Employment

Event Raises Over $500,000 to Support STRIVE’s Employment Training Programs

November 12, 2015 – STRIVE International, a leading workforce development nonprofit based in New York City, celebrated its 30th anniversary last night with a Gala showcasing the success of STRIVE’s clients and the dedication of its many partners and supporters.

STRIVE’s 30th Anniversary Gala, held at New York City event space 583 Park Avenue, honored Jeffrey Clarke, CEO of Eastman Kodak, and Dee Dee Ricks, founder of RICKS Consulting Group.   Leadership awards were presented to STRIVE co-founder Sam Hartwell and STRIVE Board Treasurer Brian Friedman.  The evening was hosted by Ron Claiborne, news anchor for ABC News’ weekend edition of “Good Morning America.”

“We are thrilled that so many of our friends, partners, supporters and graduates joined us in celebrating the power of employment to help individuals and their families break the cycle of poverty,” said Phil Weinberg, STRIVE President and CEO.  “From the basement of an East Harlem housing project in 1984, STRIVE has grown today into the nation’s preeminent workforce program and a leading innovator in creating opportunity for men and women from low-income communities.”

The event raised more than half a million dollars to support STRIVE’s employment training programs, including one lucky attendee’s winning auction bid for the opportunity to have lunch with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

“I’m thrilled to receive this award tonight from STRIVE, an organization that is making sure that nobody is left behind in this rapidly evolving economy,” Jeffrey Clarke said in his remarks.  “STRIVE doesn’t just help people seeking work, it helps companies like Kodak that want to keep jobs in America.”

“My relationship with STRIVE has been one of the greatest accomplishments of my life,” Dee Dee Ricks told the audience.  “At STRIVE, I found the perfect solution for my goal of helping underserved communities.”

Attendees also heard a moving speech by STRIVE graduate Jeffrey McGee, who came to STRIVE hampered by a criminal record, and was able to embark on a successful career after attending STRIVE’s job readiness and construction training program.  “Without STRIVE I wouldn’t be here tonight.  I’d either be dead …or back in prison,” he said.  “But instead, I’m working.   I have a great job.  I have a future.”

For more information about STRIVE, please visit

About STRIVE: STRIVE is the country’s leading workforce development organization, operating in 18 cities throughout the United States.  Founded 30 years ago in New York City, STRIVE’s employment and training model helps men and women permanently lift themselves and their families out of poverty through intensive attitudinal and skills training programs that lead to sustained living-wage employment.  In 30 years, STRIVE has brought economic self-sufficiency, dignity, and a brighter future to over 60,000 individuals and their families.