Universal Companies Expands Operations to Milwaukee & announces Appointment of Ronn Johnson

Written by admin   // August 31, 2012   // Comments Off

Philadelphia, PA – Universal Companies (Universal), founded by music mogul Kenneth Gamble, is a national non-profit community and housing development and education management organization which is headquartered in the city of Philadelphia, expands its operations to the city of Milwaukee and Midwest region.

In July 2012, Universal’s President/CEO, Rahim Islam, appointed Ronn Johnson to the position of Executive Vice President of Education for the Midwest Region. In this role, Johnson will provide the necessary leadership to expand Universal Family of Schools’ educational footprint in the cities of Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis, and Detroit. Working with the Milwaukee Public School District, Universal has begun the approval process and hopes to open its first charter school in Milwaukee in September 2013.

We chose Milwaukee because it feels like home. It is similar in many ways to the neighborhoods where we currently achieve promising results in Philadelphia – neighborhoods characterized by disinvestment, unacceptably high rates of crime and poverty. Ronn’s track record of achievement, educational prowess and exemplary leadership is exactly what we need to expand our community services throughout urban centers in the Midwest,” stated Rahim Islam.

Johnson was formerly the Vice President of Education for the YMCA and founder of the YMCA Young Leaders Academy Charter School for the College Bound, one of the highest achieving Milwaukee area schools. Johnson is currently completing his dissertation for a doctoral degree in Urban Education from Columbia University’s Teacher’s College in New York City. Ronn Johnson brings over 25 years of experience to Universal Companies.

I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to lead a cutting edge educational program within the YMCA. The experience was priceless! As I look forward to the final 20 years ahead of me in education, I am honored to have a new opportunity to expand quality education opportunities for more young people in urban areas. This is really not an ending or a beginning for me – it’s merely a continuation of shaping the lives of our future”, said Johnson.

To learn more about Universal Companies and its expansion to the city of Milwaukee and Midwest region, feel free to visit the official website www.universalcompanies.org or call (215) 732-6518 or 414-233-8173.

Universal Companies is a not-for-profit community and housing development and education management corporation formed under the direction of one of the city of Philadelphia’s greatest talents, world-renowned lyricist, composer, producer, and philanthropist, Mr. Kenneth Gamble – who continues to serve as Chairman. Since 1993, under the leadership of its President and CEO Rahim Islam, Universal has been building the organizational capacity to challenge and reverse the effects of urban decline and has become one of the largest and most successful community revitalization movements in the history of the city of Philadelphia.

Working in several Philadelphia neighborhoods and neighborhood in several other cities, Universal has built more than 1,500 units of affordable and market rate housing and currently manages six K-12 charter schools, with nearly 4,000 students enrolled. Universal operates five school based Family and Student Resource Centers and has begun its launch of a “comprehensive” wellness initiative that will not only deliver quality health services, but also addresses the inferior health infrastructure (i.e. proper health education, access to healthy foods, etc.) that exists in our community. Since its inception, Universal has been a conduit for over $1.3 billion of urban investment and employs nearly 500 professionals with expertise in education, real estate, urban planning, finance, social services and preventative health.


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