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By Rebecca Matthews
East Palo Alto Today
Posted on October 19, 2010


Dr. Omowale Satterwhite has been to me a mentor, a stark supporter, an encourager, an advocate, a teacher, a valuable resource and I view him as an absolute friend. I am so blessed to have him in my life, and I consider it to be a privilege to have attended his “Retirement Tribute” on October 10 at College Track.

Omo believed in my abilities and he backed and encouraged me during the Neighborhood Improvement Initiative (NII) that garnered 4.5 million dollars from the Hewlett Packard Foundation for East Palo Alto. Later the Hewlett Packard Company donated over 5 million dollars to the East Palo Alto Digital Village Technology Group, which I spearheaded for three years as the chairperson of the East Palo Alto Digital Village Advisory Board. This was a truly rewarding experience for me. Some of the programs that were funded are still in existence today; touching and improving the quality of life in EPA. "Honor the work and the work will honor you."

The tribute to Omo began with a slideshow and a meet and greet with refreshments. Kelley Gulley, the President and CEO of the National Community. Tarés spoke of her father with much love and fondness. She told us that as a child growing up, he was always teaching her who she was so she would know where she was going. She said that he taught her to always remain humble and “to pay it forward,” as she shared with others what was taught to her. Tarés expressed her appreciation to all the people he helped along life's journey and to all who attended his tribute.

There was a message from Carole M. Watson, Vice Chair of the NCDI Board of Directors. Carole stated that Omo set up a transition plan so the work could continue.

Khabral Muhammad, a community activist, shared how Omo made a large impression on his life as a father figure when he didn't have a father figure in his life. He told how Omo taught him to be good father to his son and how he taught him practical leadership skills, which he implements in all of his work.

Ayodele Ankoanda Kinchen, the former Leadership Training Academy Director at the Community Development Institute (CDI) was very elequent as she spoke of the trips and retreats she took and the leadership training and education she received at CDI. She told how she was taught to teach others and how she is “paying it forward” by now instilling in her son those valuable principles Omo taught her.

After the personal sharings, Omo received several proclamations and resolutions. Marco Montenegro, NCDI’s Director of Programs and External Relations, presented Omo with a proclamation from the City of East Palo Alto and Muisi-Kongo Malonga, a program assistant for NCDI, presented him with a resolution from the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

Scope of Work (partial):

- 40 year resident, leader, advocate for social justice and pioneer for change & the betterment of our community
- BA in elementary education with minor in secondary education and math; a Masters degree in education and a minor in mathematics, a Ph.D in education with a minor in psychology
- A champion for children - A key leader in East Palo Alto’s incorporation as a city - Served as an assistant to the Ravenswood City School District’s superintendent
- Served as the Vice Chair for the East Palo Alto’s Municipal Advisory Council - Served as Vice Chair to the San Mateo Planning Commission - Served on EPA first City Council
- Founded CDI - Community Development Institute to provide organizational development and technical assistance to community based agencies along with training in strategic planning, development, team building and conflict resolution
- Founded the Leadership Training Academy (LTA )
- Founded the Professional Development Consulting Training Institute (PDC) - In the past 25 years, conducted training services for over 1100 organizations in 85 cities in 40 states
- Founded the National Community Development Institute (NCDI) to combat poverty in low-income communities
- Is the recipient of the following awards: - Unsung Hero Award from KQED Public Television - Unsung Hero Award from the Peninsula Community Foundation - Community Service Person of the Year Award from the National Council of Negro Women, Golden Gate Section
- Served on numerous boards, including Applied Research Center and Urban Habitat (Oakland, CA) . His legacy continues with a 10-10 Fundraising Initiative & the Omowale Grassroots Leadership Fund
- See the NCDI website at http://www.ncdinet.org/ for details. This will help grassroots organizations to get up and running when they meet the proper criteria to become eligible for the fund. Save the date: NCDI presents... The State of Communities of Color Convening & Omowale Legacy Luncheon; Saturday, December 4, 2010 at the Oakland Museum of California in Oakland, California.

This was just a snapshot of what transpired on the auspicious occasion of Omo’s Retirement Tribute. There were many others, during this occasion who had words of appreciation and inspiration because of the leadership of our dear Dr. Omowale Satterwhite. We know, that this is just a semi-retirement for him for he will still be around. Love you Omo! To see pictures from the event, go to His legacy continues with a 10-10 Fundraising Initiative & the Omowale Grassroots Leadership Fund - See the NCDI website at http://www.ncdinet.org/ for details. This will help grassroots organizations to get up and running when they meet the proper criteria to become eligible for the fund.

Save the date: NCDI presents... The State of Communities of Color Convening & Omowale Legacy Luncheon; Saturday, December 4, 2010 at the Oakland Museum of California in Oakland, California. This was just a snapshot of what transpired on the auspicious occasion of Omo’s Retirement Tribute. There were many others, during this occasion who had words of appreciation and inspiration because of the leadership of our dear Dr. Omowale Satterwhite. We know, that this is just a semi-retirement for him for he will still be around. Love you Omo!

To see pictures from this event go to: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=241674&id=789230039

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