Photo by Chris Weeks/Getty Images for The Concordance Academy Of Leadership

We were deeply saddened to learn that Colin Powell has passed away at the age of 84. Many people will focus on what General Powell accomplished as a military leader and as Secretary of State. 

But I hope that people will also never forget that Colin Powell was a true Champion for Children. In 1997, Gen. Powell co-chaired President Clinton’s 1997 “President’s Summit for America’s Future” in Philadelphia, which included Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush. In response to that gathering, he created America’s Promise Alliance which, he said, “would be focused on five things that every child in America should have.”

At a 2012 discussion with the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Gen. Powell described the five promises to which the organization would commit. They were: 

  • First, every child in America should have responsible caring adults in their lives. 
  • Second, children need safe places in which to learn and grow. 
  • Third, all children deserve a healthy start in life. 
  • Fourth, we must give our children a quality educational experience. 
  • Fifth, our young people must have an opportunity to serve. 

America’s Promise Alliance has been committed to helping mobilize those in communities across the country to deliver services and educational supports. In 2005, Alma Powell recognized that more was needed and agreed to help establish First Focus on Children to serve as a policy and advocacy partner. Thus, Colin and Alma Powell played an instrumental role in our creation and in all that we have accomplished. 

We are grateful to Gen. Powell and his wife for their commitment to improving the lives of our nation’s children. He will always be known to us as one of America’s leading Champions for Children. 

Thank you, General Powell. 

Our deepest condolences to Alma Powell and their children and family.