Joseph Fisher, a retired teacher from the Howard County (Md.) Public Schools and head coach of women’s cross country and track at The Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C.), founded First Generation out of his firsthand experience of the transforming power of a helping hand.
Growing up in public housing in Southeast Washington, D.C., Fisher landed an athletic scholarship to Catholic with the help of his high school track coach, Hubert B. Gates. He also was mentored in college by his Catholic track coach, Jerry McGee. He later earned a master’s degree in urban education from Morgan State University.
In 1990, Fisher began FGCB by walking door-to-door through a public housing complex in the city where he lives, Laurel, Maryland, offering youth and their families a program of academic support and guidance in navigating the college admissions and matriculation process. He has continued to grow that vision faithfully over the last two decades.
Joseph Fisher and FGCB have received the following awards in recognition of their dedication to young people’s futures:
- Outstanding Contributions to the Present and Future of Prince George’s County, Prince George’s County Human Relations Committee, 1992
- Community Service Award, Prince George’s County Department of Housing, 1992
- Washingtonian of the Year, Washingtonian Magazine, 1993
- Prince Georgian of the Year, Prince George’s County, 1993
- Outstanding Achievement in Community Involvement, Maryland State Teachers Association, 1995
- Living Spirit Award, Bowie State University, 1996
- Achievement Award, National Association of Counties, 1997
- Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Education, The Catholic University of America Alumni Association, 1997
- Award of Excellence in Recognition of Outstanding Achievement, Baltimore-Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce and Chamber Foundation, 1999
- Community Development Block Grant Project with the Greatest Community Impact, Prince George’s County Department of Housing and Community Development, 1999
- Best Practices Award, Prince George’s County Department of Housing and Community Development, 2004
- Bridge Builder Award, Prince George’s Community Foundation, 2007
- National Council of Negro Women “Angels Among Us” Award, Honorable Mention, 2010
- Closing the Achievement Gap Award, Maryland State Education Association, 2011
- Leaders Engaged in Achieving Development (LEAD) program fellow, Prince George’s Community Foundation, 2012