Press Releases

July 29, 2021

Bob Woodson Announces Retirement & Succession Plan at Woodson Center’s 40th Anniversary Celebration

Posted By Woodson Center


Thursday, July 29, 2021

Bob Woodson Announces Retirement and Succession Plan at Woodson Center’s 40th Anniversary Celebration

Board of Directors to Initiate One-Year Executive Search For Next President

WASHINGTON, DC – Civil rights veteran and president of The Woodson Center, Robert “Bob” L. Woodson Sr., today announced his retirement plan at the organization’s 40th anniversary celebration at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C.  Mr. Woodson and Board Chairman Gregory Snyder announced that the Board of Directors would initiate a selection process for the next president this fall with the goal of naming a successor in 2022. After his retirement , Mr. Woodson will continue serving as president emeritus, working with the new president to carry out the organization’s mission in new innovative ways, while imparting The Woodson’s Center’s principles to the next generation.

“I could not be more excited about the next chapter of The Woodson Center,” said Bob Woodson. “I have been honored to work with underserved communities across America, and I am excited to help this organization continue its mission in new creative ways, while passing on our principles to younger Americans. Our grassroots leaders have always epitomized American values in action: I can think of no better defenders of our nation’s founding values in the next generation than these neighborhood heroes.”

Woodson founded the Woodson Center as the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise in 1981, with the conviction that grassroots leaders held the key to solving the problems of low-income communities. The Woodson Center has worked for four decades to empower indigenous leaders in troubled neighborhoods to address issues in their communities through initiatives that increase public safety, spur upward mobility, and inspire racial harmony in America.

The 84-year-old Woodson continued, “This Center was founded upon the principles that those suffering the problem must be involved in the creation and implementation of the solution; and that the principles of the market economy should be applied to the solutions of societal problems. These values are much bigger than me – they are time-tested principles that we must unite around to apply to the problems of today, and the challenges of tomorrow. We are putting into place a process to ensure that the Woodson Center will be at the forefront of promoting upward mobility and personal responsibility as solutions to education, poverty, crime and racial division for decades to come.”

“Bob Woodson is a national treasure,” said Gregory L. Snyder, Chairman of the Board. “His work with The Woodson Center has remained true to the principles that allow people to be agents of their own uplift. We’re grateful for his people-focused service, and look forward to working with him to find this type of servant leadership in the next president. We appreciate the many people who have supported this work over the years, and invite those who care about redemption, personal agency and individual responsibility to join us in promoting these values to future generations.”

“On behalf of the staff and neighborhood grassroots leaders who have been supported by Mr. Woodson and The Woodson Center, we are forever thankful for his faith in us,” said Sylvia Bennett-Stone, Director of the Woodson Center’s Voices of Black Mothers United initiative. “When many of us felt forgotten and we lacked a voice, Mr. Woodson amplified our stories and our solutions. The work of The Woodson Center is life-changing, and we are all excited about continuing it for many years to come, with Mr. Woodson’s guiding principles as a platform for excellence.”

The new leader of The Woodson Center will be joining at a pivotal moment in the organization’s history. In addition to continuing its long-standing grassroots alliances, Violence-Free Zones, and anti-poverty Community Affiliate Network, The Woodson Center has launched 1776 Unites and Voices of Black Mothers United over the last year to address the distinct public safety and racial crisis facing American civic life in the 21st century.

Early in his activism, Mr. Woodson was a civil rights activist and community development social worker in West Chester and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Boston, Massachusetts in the 1960’s. He worked at the National Urban League Department of Criminal Justice in the early 1970’s. From 1974 to 1981, he served as resident fellow at the American Enterprise Foundation for Public Policy Research. He is an early MacArthur “genius” awardee and the recipient of the 2008 Bradley Prize, the Presidential Citizens Award, and a 2008 Social Entrepreneurship Award from the Manhattan Institute.

Mr. Woodson has written several books, including Lessons From the Least of These: The Woodson Principles; The Triumphs of Joseph: How Today’s Community Healers Are Reviving Our Streets and Neighborhoods; and A Summons to Life: Mediating Structures and the Prevention of Youth Crime. This year, he served as Senior Editor for Red, White, and Black: Rescuing American History from Revisionists and Race Hustlers.