Paul Tough

Writer & Speaker

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Good Magazine

In the current issue of Good Magazine, there’s an article about the Promise Neighborhood initiative, including this point/counterpoint on the importance of leadership:

Taking something that works in one place and transplanting it to another is made more complicated when the original has a charismatic, strong leader, with raging success at bringing in philanthropic and corporate donations, and a board of trustees representing some of the most influential businessmen and financiers in the country. “One of the real challenges for Promise Neighborhoods is that we can’t clone Geoffrey Canada,” said Michael Rebell, a professor of law and education at Teachers College.

But Paul Tough, the author of Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America, who has written about Canada and the Harlem Children’s Zone since 2004, has a different perspective. “It does not require a cult of personality,” he says. “It does not require a charismatic leader.” Tough envisions the model looking “different in different cities. In some it might be based mostly in the local government; in others it might be built around a non-profit or a church.”

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