Robert Sanders

Harvey Brooks Foundation
Purpose Prize Fellow 2009

Under Bishop Sanders’ leadership, the Harvey Brooks Foundation provides programs and services for low-income, urban youth and adults that build character, life skills, scholastic achievement, and economic opportunities.

A longtime minister, Sanders took his faith in God and applied it to his faith in his community. As pastor of All Nations Church of God in Christ in Joliet, Illinois, and a bishop with more than 70 churches in his jurisdiction, Sanders sees the effects of poverty, teen pregnancy, and gang violence in the urban areas near Chicago. In 1998, Sanders established the faith-based Harvey Brooks Foundation (named for the founding pastor of Sanders’ church) in Joliet. The foundation serves as a community organization that provides an array of programs and services for at-risk youth and families, substance abusers, and senior citizens – including after-school tutoring, recreational activities, counseling for juveniles and ex-offenders, and free meals. The programs encourage community-grown efforts to minister to the entire neighborhood, regardless of church affiliation or membership. Though Sanders’ foundation serves all ages, its focus is on youth. “I understand what attracts a child to the gang culture: the syndrome of violence from one generation to the next; youth in need of help with nowhere to turn; and the sense of helplessness that leads to hopelessness,” Sanders says.