Bidwell Training Center’s Pharmacy Technician program students who took the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board exam between 2017 and 2020 earned a 90% exam passage rate. The tenacity and resolve of our affiliates’ students is truly remarkable. The students also scored higher than the national average of 58% for eight out of nine of the exam’s knowledge domains including Pharmacy Law/Regulations and Medication Safety.
Our Founder and Executive Chairman Bill Strickland will be awarded the Ireland Funds Community Impact Award on March 17 at the 2020 Ireland Fund Pittsburgh Dinner Gala at Heinz Field. This honor is given to a leader who has produced successful organizational initiatives in response to a significant contemporary problem. Another award recipient of the gala includes former head coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers Bill Cowher.
MCG Jazz is featured in the February issue of DownBeat magazine as one of the world’s greatest jazz venues of 2020. MCG Jazz is the only jazz venue in Western Pennsylvania and has won this title for the ninth year in a row. This is not only because there is not a bad seat in the house, but also for the free parking, personalized ticket concierge, open-seat ticket notifications and new this season, their pre-show dinners.
On behalf of Manchester Bidwell Corporation’s (MBC) board of directors, we are pleased to present our annual report for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. This past year, new leaders built on our history of innovation and formed new partnerships across our programming.
We partnered with colleges to expand the possibilities for at-risk youth. We’ve brought jazz education to both urban and rural schools where access to the power of music is rare. We are now at the forefront of urban agriculture and its community impact potential. We’ve removed barriers for adults whose lives don’t allow full-time course load by offering a part-time option for our medical programs. We are working with leaders in cities as diverse as Erie, Vancouver and West Palm Beach to replicate the MBC education model in a way that works for local people in need. It has certainly been an exciting year full of achievements and potential for our future.
In his first visit to Manchester Bidwell Corporation (MBC), Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera experienced first-hand how our organization combines many seemingly disparate elements – adult career training, youth arts education, jazz presentation and orchid and floral sales – into a dynamic whole with a proven record of positively changing lives.
Rivera took a tour of MBC and met with President and CEO Kevin Jenkins and several executive directors including: Vice President of External and Government Relations for MBC Joanna Papada, Executive Director of Bidwell Training Center Dr. Kimberly Rassau, Executive Director of MCG Youth & Arts Justin Mazzei, Director of Greenhouse Operations Mark Wallace and Government Relations Consultant Mary Ann Eisenreich.
MBC thoroughly enjoyed Rivera’s company. We are thankful of his support of our mission and educational model.
Left to right: Government Relations Consultant Mary Ann Eisenreich, MBC President and CEO Kevin Jenkins, Vice President of External and Government Relations for MBC Joanna Papada, Executive Director of Bidwell Training Center Dr. Kimberly Rassau, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera and Executive Director of MCG Youth & Arts Justin Mazzei.
Left to Right: Director of Greenhouse Operations Mark Wallace and Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera
The Diva Jazz Orchestra’s “Diva + The Boys” album cover.
Congratulations to The DIVA Jazz Orchestra for hitting #1 on JazzWeek with “DIVA + THE BOYS!” This is tremendous feat and we are honored that the album has touched so many people. We have enjoyed working with DIVA over the years. This album features four soloists Ken Peplowski, Jay Ashby, Claudio Roditi and our Executive Producer Marty Ashby with exciting arrangements filled with fire, finesse, and swing.
“This is a well-deserved accomplishment by The DIVA Jazz Orchestra. MCG Jazz has enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the DIVA organization for over 25 years and we are thrilled to help bring their brilliant music to the public,” said Ashby.
It is officially the season of giving and there is no better way to end the year than by giving back to your community! Get ready to give! Starting at 12 a.m. on December 3rd, visit GiveBigPittsburgh’s website and make a donation to Bidwell Training Center, MCG Jazz and/or MCG Youth & Arts. Your donation serves as an investment in Manchester Bidwell Corporation (MBC) and the people whose lives we transform every day. Whether its $5 or $50, no gift is too small to make a BIG impact on your community.
GiveBigPittsburgh raises money for local nonprofits through a single online donation platform, providing a simple way to connect donors to the charitable causes they care about most. This 24-hour online fundraising effort, hosted by Pittsburgh Magazine and local sponsors, offers nonprofits the chance to raise funds to support their critical missions. Learn more.
Derrick Wallace, a Carrick High School graduate, admits he didn’t have much aspiration for his future before enrolling in Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild Youth & Arts’ (MCG Youth & Arts) after-school arts programming.
“Before the Guild, I wasn’t in the best place mentally. I had no confidence. I had no plans for my future, my self-esteem was at an all-time low, but the Guild led me in the exact direction I needed to be in.” Derrick remembers, “Being a high school senior with no plans, it’s amazing to think how far I’ve come because MCG played a big part in my life.”
Derrick took many digital art classes during his time at MCG Youth & Arts. He recalls, “through those classes, I saw the teaching artists being open-minded and willing to help others learn. The MCG staff has become like a family to me, they are people I can look up to when I need motivation.”
Derrick immersed himself in the variety of opportunities that MCG Youth & Arts has to offer. He signed up for the Psychology 101 course that is part of MCG Youth & Arts’ partnership program with Westminster College. The courses taught by Westminster professors, offers college credit to MCG Youth & Arts junior and senior high school students. These courses help students strengthen their preparation for their college careers. He explained that taking that class truly motivated him to stay focused.
“We learned about the act of control and how that inevitably affects a person’s decisions,” Derrick said.
“It taught me a lot about myself.” In addition to the psychology course, Derrick also joined staff and fellow students on the annual Yellowstone National Park trip, helped artist Kyle Holbrook paint the Pittsburgh Pirates Roberto Clemente mural in Lawrenceville, and traveled to visit Edinboro University.
Derrick is currently a freshman studying Art Education at Edinboro University.
When asked if attending MCG Youth & Arts gave him the confidence to pursue a college education, Derrick stated “Absolutely. MCG is the reason I even thought about pursuing my passions and seeking out my dreams. I honestly believe I’d still be at home in Pittsburgh, if Sam and Talon [MCG Youth & Arts staff] didn’t drive me up to Edinboro on the field trip. They are the reason that I’m even at college and studying Art Education right now.”
Ultimately, Derrick hopes to find a worthwhile job in the arts, so that he can continue to grow and help others achieve their passions.
Derrick recognizes the importance of having students participate in art programs like MCG Youth & Arts.
“Getting involved is a way to expand your horizons, a way to put yourself out there, and meet new people,” said Derrick. “Through the Guild, they help artists widen their range of talents and improve themselves for the future.”
by Bill Strickland, Founder and Executive Chairman of Manchester Bidwell Corporation
Bill Strickland teaching Fred Rogers pottery in 1991 on episode 1644 of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Image courtesy of Fred Rogers Productions.
My first appearance on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” was in 1973. In the episode, Fred visits Elsie Neal’s craft shop where he finds a thinner version of me with a large Afro using the potter’s wheel, and we talked about the process of turning clay into a pot.
From that moment on I had two more appearances on the show and one of my most cherished friendships was born.
When we first met I was already five years into my work teaching children art at Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild. I believe he recognized that we were both trying to do the same thing: letting children know how special they are and that they deserve respect and dignity.
I’ve been thinking about Fred a lot recently. With the new feature film coming out, it makes my heart smile to know that his legacy of hope lives on. I dearly miss the conversations we had throughout the years about the hard work that goes into uplifting children when there can be so much darkness around them. We received a special gift that I can now look at to remember my friend. WQED and Fred Rogers Productions donated the piano Johnny Costa used on every episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” from 1987 to 2000 to our MCG Jazz program.
In the last episode I filmed with Fred, he came to Manchester Bidwell Corporation and I got him to get his hands dirty in some clay. At the end of the show he said some- thing I still keep with me.
“My friend Bill is a good teacher,” said Fred. “You can see that.”
Everyday I strive to still be a good teacher, so I never let Fred down.
Bayview Hunters Point Center for Arts and Technology (BAYCAT) students at YouTube headquarters in 2016. Photo by Nadia Andreini.
One of the early adopters of the Manchester Bidwell educational model celebrated 15 years of forging the future. The Bayview Hunters Point Center for Arts and Technology (BAYCAT) has been helping end racism and sexism through storytelling.
When the educational model is replicated in cities around the world, the National Center for Arts and Technology makes it a point to not bring Pittsburgh to another city but for each city to provide the services their community needs as long as the same foundational principles are installed. That is why no replication sites are the same but all work towards the same goal.
BAYCAT is no different as its offerings are different than any other replication site. Their academy provides free, after school digital media education to low-income minority students ages 11–17. Their studio is the professional arm that provides socially driven storytelling work for large clients like the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, the National Parks Service, Salesforce, Pixar, and more. The BAYCAT studio trains and hires young, diverse interns ages 18–25 and then helps them find jobs at large companies and institutions.
In the past 15 years, BAYCAT has had 4,250 students go through their academy and has helped launch more than 225 careers in filmmaking and storytelling.
BAYCAT is focused on proving that representation in media matters. Only 12.6 percent of film directors are people of color while being 40 percent of the population. One reason for this gap is that most minority creatives can’t afford the expensive technology and schools to learn the skills needed in the industry. BAYCAT offers professional-standard tools and resources for filmmaking and graphic arts to its students for free. Seventy-eight percent of BAYCAT graduates are people of color and 58 percent are women.
Eighty-two percent of BAYCAT graduates have been hired by major companies. Iman
BAYCAT graduate Iman Rodney who is an Emmy-winning cinematographer for the San Francisco Giants. Photo courtesy of BAYCAT.
Rodney started at BAYCAT at 13 years old as part of their free youth program and would continue there for four years. At 19, Rodney was hired part-time to work on a documentary for BAYCAT’s studio and eventually joined BAYCAT’s paid internship program. At 21, Rodney was hired by MLB’s San Francisco Giants’ broadcast team as an intern later working up to videographer and finally being promoted to his dream job of cinematographer. At 25, Rodney won his first Emmy award for “We Are Giants” and won two more Emmys the following year.
In the span of 12 years, Rodney went from being a teenager with asthma due to living in a home in a toxic waste dump in one of San Francisco’s poorest neighborhoods and not having access to computers, tablets, or smart phones to an Emmy-winning cinematographer due to his time at BAYCAT.
Over the next 15 years, BAYCAT wants to prove that when everyone sees themselves represented the world can be more beautiful.