Kenneth Gamble, chairman of Universal Companies, to visit in July
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame music legend Kenneth Gamble, widely known for having written, produced, recorded, and published more than 3,000 songs performed by artists such as The Jacksons, Teddy Pendergrass, Jerry Butler, The OJay’s, Spinners, Delfonics, Jones Girls, Billy Paul, Lou Rawls, Phyllis Hyman, and Dionne Warwick, will be visiting Milwaukee the week of July 29 to celebrate the Grand Opening of the two campuses of Universal Academy for the College Bound, Milwaukee’s newest MPS charter school, and along with local elected officials, business and community leaders, attend an open-to-the-public Ribbon Cutting at the grade school campus for the schools scheduled for 11am on Wed., July 31.
Gamble is Chairman of Universal Companies, a Philadelphia non-profit organization dedicated to improving communities through education, real estate, social services technology and wellness. UACB’s two campuses mark Universal Companies first expansion into educational markets outside of Pennsylvania. Milwaukee was chosen because it shares similar characteristics with Philadelphia, from student demographics and low student achievement levels to neighborhoods characterized by disinvestment and high poverty rates in urban areas.
Devastated by the blighted conditions of the south Philadelphia neighborhood where he was raised, Gamble, along with his wife Faatimah, cofounded Universal Companies to challenge and reverse the effects of urban decline. Since 1993, Universal Companies has been working to rebuild predominantly African American communities with a comprehensive holistic approach to community revitalization. The Universal Plan integrates real estate and economic development with education, social and supportive services to build stronger communities and change lives for the better.
“We are very happy to be expanding to Milwaukee,” said Gamble. “The Universal concept of education has been a success in Philadelphia, and we want it to be successful in preparing students in Milwaukee for the challenges they face in life. Educating our young people will solve many of the world’s problems, and it is the number one priority for Universal. We look forward to coming to Milwaukee.”
The elementary school (Universal Academy for the College Bound – Millennium Campus) will be located at 3872 N. 8th Street and will serve 400 students age kindergarten through 5th grade for the 2013-2014 school year. The middle school campus (Universal Academy for the College Bound — Renaissance Campus) will be located at 55th and Green Tree will serve 200 students in 6th and 7th grade. Once accepted, students may remain at UACB until graduation from 7th grade. Universal Academy will offer program specialty areas at both school sites catering to students with an aptitude for the arts, or who have excelled in other schools or show the potential for gifted and talented programs.
In addition to attending a number of public and private events, including African World Festival, Gamble will be an instrumental figure in the official ribbon cutting for Universal Academy for the College Bound. The event is open to the public and will take place at the grade school campus (3872 N. 8th Street) on Wednesday, July 31, from 11am to noon.
In addition to the ribbon cutting, the event will offer live performances of many songs written and produced by the legendary duo Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff by local soul band Cigarette Break, performances by the Out of Africa Community Drummers and Dancers, food and beverages in a fun and welcoming atmosphere.
The Gamble & Huff writing duo has received every major musical award in US and abroad including being inducted into the following: National Academy of Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1995; Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame in 1999; Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame in 2001; Dance and Music Hall of Fame in 2005; the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008; and in 2009, the duo was named BMI Icons at the 57th annual BMI Pop Awards. In 2006 they received the prestigious UK Ivor Novello Award. Their catalog has secured: 80 #1 Hits and more than 200 Top #100 Hits, including “Love Train,” “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now,” and the Grammy-Award-winning hits “Me & Mrs. Jones” and “If You Don’t Know Me By Now;” 100 Gold/Platinum Albums; #1 R&B Publisher Worldwide; #8 Pop Publisher Worldwide; and one of Gamble & Huff records is played every 13 minutes worldwide. In addition, Mr. Gamble was awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree in Public Service from Cheyney University in 2005 and an Honorary Doctorate degree of Music from Berklee College of Music in 2010.
In the two decades since it was founded, Universal Companies has improved the quality of life for thousands of children and families residing in historically disenfranchised communities. To date, Universal has been the conduit for over $1.5 billion of real estate development and investment and currently educates over 5,000 students in nine K-12 schools. Several more are opening this fall, including the two in Milwaukee. The company is also one of the largest African-American led businesses in Philadelphia, employing nearly 600 professionals.
Kenneth Gamble is a true Philadelphia success story, coming from humble beginnings to achieve international fame. For a man who is known worldwide for making hit records, he considers rebuilding the African American community as “the biggest hit of my life.”
For more information on the schools, please visit www.UACB.org or call 414-355-5858. For information on Universal Companies, please visit www.universalcompanies.org. For information on Gamble & Huff, visit www.gamble-huffmusic.com.