“My first job as a kid was cleaning toilets for my grandfather. He only had a 3rd grade education, but had his own janitorial business. It was from that first job and from my family that I learned hard work and to appreciate working people.”
Raised by his grandparents and a single mother in a working class family, Kevin Johnson is a progressive leader who has spent his life fighting to lift working families and communities out of poverty.
Committed to holistic community development, Kevin is the founding Lead Pastor of Dare to Imagine Church, Inc. In three years, he has built a ministry that started with 20 people in his home and has grown into a congregation of over 750 members on a $2.2 million, 6.8-acre campus in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia. To date, the church has donated over $125,000 to support area organizations that provide services for citizens in need. Kevin also serves as the founder and President & CEO of Dare to Imagine Community Development Corporation. Prior to his current positions, he served as President & CEO of Bridge of Hope Community Development Corporation that, with The Goldenberg Group, built a $100 million, 14-story student apartment tower for Temple University.
As President and CEO of Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC), Kevin developed a new workforce-training vision and launched career-sustaining programs in banking, energy, construction, and technology. Under his leadership, OIC and its affiliates budget increased from $2M to over $5M. In 2017, he secured a $6.6M alternative school contract from The School District of Philadelphia, making OIC the first to provide over-aged and under-credited youth a pathway to earning a high school diploma and a direct pipeline to life-sustaining careers. Additionally, he launched BankWork$, the first bank training program in the US Northeast for young adults from low-income communities. While expanding OIC’s workforce programs, he successfully maintained a nearly 80 percent job placement rate for jobs in the hospitality industry.
He is a nationally-known speaker who regularly delivers messages of inspiration. He has delivered speeches in distinguished arenas including the largest Protestant church in the world, Yoido Full Gospel Church, Seoul, South Korea. Dr. Johnson was also the first African-American in 200 years to speak at Africa’s oldest Baptist church, Regent Road Baptist in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and later was inspired to raise funds, build, and establish a new church in West Africa— “Bright Hope Baptist Church in Moyamba, Sierra Leone.” Additionally, by invitation of the American Jewish Committee, Dr. Johnson traveled to Israel and Palestine and met government leaders to discuss the challenges that exist between the nations. An avid and respected writer, he is a frequent columnist for the oldest continually-running African-American newspaper, The Philadelphia Tribune, and is heard by 400,000 listeners every Sunday morning on WDAS-FM 105.3.
Currently, he sits on the boards of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, City of Philadelphia Workforce Steering Committee, PHL Diversity, the Forum for a Better Pennsylvania, African-American Leadership Forum and previously served as Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees of Lincoln University. A recipient of numerous awards and citations, Newsweekfeatured him as one of the “up-and-coming” national post-Civil Rights ministers, The Philadelphia Tribuneidentified him as a “mover-and-shaker” in the City, and Morehouse College inducted him into the prestigious Board of Preachers. Dr. Johnson has been a guest on CNN, NBC, MSNBC, ABC, FOX NEWS, and other national media. He is member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (Alpha Boulé), and lifetime membership in the Morehouse College National Alumni Association.
A Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude graduate of Morehouse College, Kevin was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. and Oprah Winfrey scholarships. He earned a Master of Divinity degree as a Union Scholar from Union Theological Seminary, and later earned the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in Organizational Leadership and Transformational Learning from Columbia University.
He is married to Mrs. Kimya S. P. Johnson, Esq., a corporate diversity professional and employment attorney. They are Philadelphia residents and are proud parents of their son and two daughters.
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“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
John Quincy Adams
“Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.”
Marian Wright Edelman