Education. Values. Community Service. Leadership. Mentoring.
The Chris Canty Foundation began as a football camp in 2007 and developed from there into a grassroots initiative, steeped in a rich heritage of spirituality and service. Reverend Shirley Canty always taught her boys that if they worked hard, their work would be rewarded. She and her husband, Joseph Canty Sr., a former pro basketball player and community advocate, taught their boys to believe in education, to forge strong personal values, and give back to the communities they lived in. The Canty family legacy continues through the work of the Chris Canty Foundation.
When Chris and his brother Joseph came up with the idea for the Foundation, they set out to combine what they had been taught as kids and translate it into a platform where kids from all walks of life could connect with community leaders and mentors as well as enrich and fortify their educational experience.
Joseph utilized his gift of organizing people in the community and took guerilla marketing to new heights as he branded the foundation while pounding the pavement passing out flyers, distributing endless business cards, meeting with volunteer teens, adults, and college interns to help bring awareness to the newly formed Chris Canty Foundation. Armed with a small army of enthusiastic supporters, Joseph shared the mission of the Foundation with small businesses and corporations.
Chris’s idea of a winning business model, which differs little from an NFL team, includes hard work, discipline, education, leadership, and communication. These values are taught and modeled through the Foundation’s mentoring program. As the Foundation support base continues to gain strength, so does its focus on the entirely of each youth – mind, body, and spirit – all elements are focused on through the various programs offered.
The ultimate goal of the Chris Canty Foundation is changed lives. Through mentoring, education, community service, and leadership summits, youths are given direction and support and as a result, their lives are positively impacted in enduring, meaningful ways. As Rev. Shirley Canty puts it, “…the Chris Canty Foundation is about an all-out effort to help children achieve their personal best; their personal best not only in school but their entire self, and to give back to their community.”
When asked about the future direction of the Foundation, the Canty family is united in their response: the Foundation will become self-sufficient and self-supporting while continuing to move toward implementing programs that directly impact youth and their communities. Programs like Cleanup for Change which has grown from 700+ to 1,200+ volunteers citywide is a prime example of what united teamwork can accomplish.
The Chris Canty Foundation’s mission remains true to its beginnings as it continues to expose youth to as many opportunities as possible. The Foundation leaders know that once youths have been given the chance to enhance their total development, they will take that newly found knowledge and fortitude into their own communities to create neighborhoods filled with champions. The end result creates a generational impact of passion and commitment.