Springs alum J.W. Carpenter ’97, Executive Director of the Birmingham Education Foundation (BEF), will receive the 2018 Servant Leadership award from the Vulcan Park Foundation as part of the fifth annual Vulcans Community Awards.
The awards honor 13 Birmingham-area citizens who exemplify civic pride, leadership, and progress in five award categories. Recipients, who were nominated by community members and chosen by an independent panel, will be recognized at the annual dinner on Nov. 1 at The Club in Homewood.
Since joining BEF in 2013, Carpenter has worked to expand opportunities for Birmingham City School students, ages elementary through high school, by facilitating partnerships with hundreds of area businesses and community partners. The nonprofit has grown to connect more than 5,000 students last year to skill-building, career, and college opportunities that include paid internships, ACT prep, and job shadowing. A new initiative supports students in their first year out of high school by ensuring that they have the network and resources they need to be successful, with a vision of supporting them for up to five years after high school.
A graduate of Boston College and Georgetown University Law Center and former litigator with Walston, Wells, and Birchall, LLP, Carpenter left law practice to pursue his passion for education, serving prior to BEF as founding Executive Director for Teach For America Alabama. He serves on the boards of A+ Education Partnership, Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, and the Blackburn Institute at the University of Alabama.
He is also a member of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Birmingham, the GEAR UP-Birmingham Advisory Board, and is in the fourth year of serving on the campaign cabinet for the United Way of Central Alabama. In 2010, he was named to the Top 40 under 40 in Birmingham. Carpenter is also an alumnus of the PARCA Roundtable, Leadership Birmingham, Leadership Alabama, and Leadership UAB.
“This honor is really for the work of the Birmingham Education Foundation, its dedicated staff and Board members, and the thousands of students, educators, families, and partners that have come together to expand opportunities for kids. Our Birmingham City School students have limitless potential, and when we all collaborate with them, great things happen.”