Kent Amos has the Answer: Adoption, Schools, Education
Kent Amos with Ronald Reagan The other day Your Business Blogger was honored to have breakfast with a great American, Kent Amos. Kent is a former Vice President of Xerox who knows a bit about selling and strategy.
He’s got a Purple Heart for war wounds in Vietnam. And he still loves a fight. He’s proof that you can combat the minions at city hall and win.
Kent and his wife wanted to raise their family in Washington, DC, his hometown. But there were challenges with the schools and the local children, as noted by Brookings,
So instead of running away from the problem, my wife and I decided to do something about it directly. My son brought home three boys, who needed the kind of support that our family could provide, and what we did was adopt them. And over an 11 year period we adopted 87 children into our home. We sent 73 kids to college, 61 have graduated from college, 14 have advanced degrees. I spent about $600,000 of my own money on this effort, another $400,000-some from Xerox, over a million dollars we’ve pumped into the D.C. public schools, prior to anything they’re doing with charter schools
But local government needed education too. Especially on the Amos no-nonsense business approach to solving problems on kids and schools. When the city children’s agency knocked on his door asking for his license to work with all the children (quietly studying) about his house — Amos shows them his driver’s license. The bureaucrats were not amused, but were eventually persuaded.
“I don’t need a license to raise my kids,” Amos told me as he tells the story. And he is right.
But sometimes even the nurturing environment Kent created wasn’t enough to protect some of his kids from the violence they tried to escape. It was with the murder of his son Andre that Kent realized he had to do more. Kent remembers, “When I was summoned to the hospital where my son lay on a morgue slab with four bullet holes pumped into him, I made a promise to him that whatever caused this to happen, I would use all my resources to see to it that it went away.” Andre was one of five children Kent lost to violence, and from those tragedies, Kent realized he had to not only work to change people, but the communities they lived in as well. He resigned his position at Xerox to devote himself to saving these kids full-time…
“When I started the Urban Family Institute, I always had one thing in mind—that this was only going to be in business long enough to change the structures that cause me to be in it in the first place. You don’t walk away from a Fortune 50 company to do this because it’s the smart thing to do. The reason why you do this is because you made a promise to your children who have died violently in the streets, you made a promise when you were born, when you came through corporate America, when you made the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, and all these other symbolic actions, that you have to be a good citizen. I am doing nothing but being a good citizen, doing what I am supposed to do to see to it that this great nation, this great city, this great community, this great people, continue to prosper. We must work hand in hand to continue to reach back to those who have not yet found their way out of this morass.”
Amos is an ordained deacon for Washington’s Shiloh Baptist Church. And chairman of the Shiloh Community Development Corporation. Kent Amos loves his family and Jesus, kids and his country. By adopting dozens and dozens of children Kent Amos is salt and light for this generation, and the next.
Thank you (foot)notes:
More on Kent Amos at the jump.
Kent Amos applied his expertise and experience as a corporate executive, entrepreneur, community leader, and father figure to more than 87 children in establishing CAPCS in 1998. The school was the outgrowth of the nonprofit, community-based Urban Family Institute which Mr. Amos earlier founded to provide support and services to those living in disadvantaged neighborhoods in cities around the country.
Mr. Amos plays an active role in the community, serving in leadership positions including Vice President of the DC Library Foundation and Founding Chairman of the DC Commission for National and Community Service. He was one of the founders of the DC Charter School Association. Mr. Amos was a member of the Board of Trustees of Lincoln University and serves on the Delaware State Board of Visitors and the National Black Leadership Roundtable.
A former executive with Xerox Corporation, Mr. Amos was President of The Triad Group, a management consulting firm. He served as an U.S. Army officer in Vietnam and holds a B.A. degree from Delaware State University.