The 2014 President's Dinner honors Kenneth Gamble on May 7, 2014.
About the WHYY President's Dinner
The President's Dinner award ceremony takes place at the WHYY's new Dorrance H. Hamilton Public Media Commons before a live audience, including hundreds of CEOs, business and political leaders, and many of WHYY's major donors. Past honorees include Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell; former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge; and public broadcast journalists, Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer, Cokie Roberts, Charlie Rose, Gwen Ifill; and film director/producer Ken Burns; NPR's former Morning Edition anchor, Carl Kasell; PBS's Tavis Smiley; and WHYY's Terry Gross, host of Fresh Air.
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About Kenneth Gamble
Mr. Kenneth Gamble is a native of Philadelphia. His career has been one of giving back to the city where he was born and raised. He first gained the public's attention through his impressive musical career, but equally important to him are his efforts in public service.
Mr. Gamble is widely known for having written, produced, recorded, and published more than 3,000 songs performed by artists such as The Jackson Five, Teddy Pendergrass, Jerry Butler, The OJay's, Spinners, Delfonics, Jones Girls, Billy Paul, Lou Rawls, Phyllis Hyman, Spinners, Dionne Warrick, and many, many others (nearly 60 artist in total represented the Philly label). A great deal of music he produced carried a social theme and what was described as a "Message in the Music". In 1974 and 1989, he received Grammy Awards for writing "Me & Mrs. Jones" and "If You Don't Know Me By Now", respectively. He founded several record companies, including Philadelphia International Records, of which he remains CEO and Chairman of the Board.
The Gamble and 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; he received the prestigious UK Ivor Novello Award in 2006; inducted into 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.
Mr. Gamble's musical accomplishments are extremely impressive when you consider the number of awards, inductions, and honors he has received – but their genius lies in the fact that their catalog has secured: 80 #1 Hits; 200+ Top #100 Hits; 175 Gold/Platinum Albums; #1 R&B Publisher Worldwide; #8 Pop Publisher Worldwide; and one of Gamble and 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.
Mr. Gamble has founded or helped to build numerous organizations that had a sole purpose of helping the African American community, including the African American Foundation, Universal Institute Charter School, The Universal Community of Truth, the South Philadelphia Ministries Task Force, The Philadelphia Music Foundation, and his biggest and most successful, Universal Companies, which has begun to build the organization and institutional capacity to challenge and reverse the effects of economic and social decline in several south Philadelphia communities.
As founder and Chairman of Universal Companies, one of the largest African-American developers of real estate in Philadelphia, Kenneth Gamble used his success to begin a neighborhood revitalization effort. In 1990, he made the ultimate commitment to the City of Brotherly Love. He and his wife Faatimah gave up the quiet and luxurious suburban lifestyle to move back to a blighted South-Central Philadelphia to take a hands-on approach to the rebuilding process that he initiated in the 1980's.
Two decades later, Universal 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 (9) schools (K-12). 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."
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