Bishop Mitchell Gordon Taylor, Sr., Senior Pastor of Center of Hope International & Co-founder and President, Urban Upbound.
A forty-year Long Island City resident, Bishop Taylor is the Senior Pastor of the Center of Hope International, a non-denominational church adjacent to the Queensbridge Houses, founded by his father 50 years ago. For over a decade, the Center of Hope International has provided a safe place for hundreds of children at its Victory After-School program and has fed thousands of hungry families at its Bread of Life Food Pantry.
While Bishop Taylor travels the country speaking, his life's work and heart is in Long Island City, NY. Dubbed the "Preacher in the Hood" by CBS, profiled in the New York Times for his leadership around public housing, and featured on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, he has tirelessly worked to ensure that residents have the resources they need to realize their dreams.
Recognizing that one church could not transform a neighborhood alone, with the support of former New York City Council member Eric Gioia, Bishop Taylor co-founded the East River Development Alliance now known as Urban Upbound - a community organization working to make public housing neighborhoods places of
true opportunity, growth, and economic mobility. Urban Upbound's model works with local leaders and the existing channels in public housing neighborhoods - churches, schools, tenant associations, and businesses - to create and implement programs that meet the needs of each family and each public housing neighborhood - from mentoring and college preparation for young students to job training, leadership programs, and financial literacy for adults and seniors.
Urban Upbound's model has already demonstrated significant success in four public housing developments in Queens including Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing development in the country. Recent milestones include the implementation of a new college preparation program where 77% of the students will be the first in their families to go to college and a comprehensive financial education campaign that is serving 3,000 families with mainstream banking services, money management skills and strategies for long-term financial success.
Bishop Mitchell Taylor is the author of "Unbroken Promises" published by Whitaker House (2003) and was awarded the 2005 New York City Public Library's prestigious Brooke Astor Award for his work in founding Urban Upbound.