Project Leader and Board President: Eric D. Garvin
Eric D. Garvin was born in Brooklyn, New York on January 27, 1959, and moved to Staten Island in 1973 after a series of family tragedies. He graduated from Curtis High School in 1977. While in High School, Eric was Class President for 3 years, President of Honor Society, voted Class Politician and Most Popular, ran track and played basketball. In 2009, Eric was inducted into his High School Hall of Fame. Eric is one of approximately 100 former students to earn this distinction in school’s 107-year history. An amazing journey when you consider he didn’t know any of his Curtis High School classmates when he arrived from Brooklyn.
After receiving scholarships to the United States Air Force Academy, Naval Academy and Colgate University, Eric went onto the Air Force Academy and where he graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Minor in Engineering. His Air Force Academy Squadron won an unprecedented three consecutive Outstanding Squadron Awards from 1979-1981. This is the most prestigious group award at the Academy, which is presented annually to the top Squadron out of 40 competing squadrons with the best academic, athletic and military record. After graduating from the Academy, Eric immediately puts his education to work by marrying the girl of his dreams, Anna Marie Garvin.
After 26 years of faithful service, Eric retired from the United States Air Force in 2007 as a Colonel. During his tenure in the Air Force, Eric acquired a Master of Science degree in National Security Strategy from National War College, where he was a Distinguished Graduate. National War College is the most prestigious school for senior military leaders and includes dignitaries’ alumni such as Colin Powell, Senator John McCain and many others. He also worked the Defense of Defense’s top development programs; Air Force’s #1 development program, F-22 Air Dominance aircraft program for over nine years. Eric also worked at the Department of State in the Political Military Bureau where he served as Israeli, Egyptian, Jordanian and Lebanese Desk Officer. During his last assignment, he led development of the CV-22 Osprey aircraft, which is the Special Operations Command’s #1 development program. The Osprey is serving in Afghanistan and Iraq and other locations throughout the world.
Upon his retirement from Air Force, Eric immediately began working for Northrop Grumman where he serves as their Washington, DC Representative for one of their two Flagship programs, Global Hawk. Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration organization. Global Hawk’s projected value is approximately $10 billion. Global Hawk is High Altitude Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance aircraft with over 60,000 combat hours in the Global War on Terrorism. Global Hawk provided communications bridge for Special Operations raid against Osama Bin Laden, it collected the surveillance for capture of Kaddafi, it provided critical surveillance in the humanitarian relief operations for the Haiti Earthquake and the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Global Hawk is truly a Most Valuable Player for our nation’s Security.
Eric’s journey included several family tragedies; his father going to prison for killing Eric’s Grandmother, his mother becoming an alcoholic after being shot six times and left for dead, his living in a house with no electricity, heat or food and many dream stealers. Today, his mother is a pillar and leader in her community. Despite these challenges, Eric ended up at the furthest reaches of the globe as a ranking officer in the Air Force and is now on his rise at Northrop Grumman.
Given his childhood experiences, Eric fervently believes in giving back. Eric is often referred to as the Community Ambassador and a Hope Dealer. Whether it is feeding the homeless with the Salvation Army’s Grate Patrol, serving as the Board Chair for Cross World Africa Charity, serving on the Board of the Phillips Charitable Organization, serving on the Board of The Fishing School, orchestrating transportation for his church’s College Family Ministry, being Northrop Grumman’s Lead for their Summer Aviation Camp Scholarship program, being a keynote speaker, orchestrating trips to the Air and Space Museum to attend the Northrop Grumman sponsored Black Pioneers in Aviation Event, Eric does it all. In February 2011, Eric was awarded the Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) for Community service. To win this very prestigious award, he competed against over 30 other applicants throughout the United States. In February 2013, Eric was induced into the BEYA Hall of Fame for his Community Service. In January 2010, Eric served as the Master of Ceremony for the historic Inauguration of New York City Council Woman Debi Rose. Who’s Who’s in New York State politics attended this historic and special event, since Debi Rose was the first African American from Staten Island to be elected to the New York City Council. Simply put, Eric consistently makes serving others a top priority.
CROSS WORLD AFRICA
Eric is now serving as the Board Chair/President for Cross World Africa effective August 15, 2017. Cross World Africa is a 501(3) c Non-Profit organization dedicated to making hope a reality for impoverished rural communities in Kenya’s Rift Valley and urban communities in Nairobi. To achieve our mission statement of supporting community development in rural and urban Kenya, CWA focuses on two broad categories of Entrepreneurship and Education/Health projects. In addition to serving as the Board Chair for Cross World Africa, Eric also serves as the Project Manager for the two projects below:
- Elite US Colleges: Provide SAT preparation materials, pay for SAT application fees and provide college application process materials. Sponsors US college transition roundtable luncheon for Education & Social Empowerment Program (EaSEP) students.
- Helps Scholar Kenyan Students gain admission into Elite US Colleges (Harvard, Princeton, etc.), which transforms their lives. Cross World Africa partners with EaSEP charity in Kenya on this project
- Kibera Food Bank Project: Funding for Food Bank donations to support needy children in Kibera, which is slum located in Nairobi Feeds 500 needy and hungry kids (1-15 year olds) for a year in 2nd largest slum in Africa, Kibera in Nairobi.
THE PHILLIPS CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION AND THE FISHING SCHOOL
Eric knows how tough it is for disadvantaged families to find success. He grew up in a “very poor” family on the mean streets of New York City, so when Eric was presented the chance to serve as a Board Member on the Phillips Charitable Organization (PCO), Eric was eager to serve and gladly accepted the offer. PCO provides emergency grants for struggling single families, veterans and students pursuing Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) professions. In less than a year, PCO continues to establish a new model for Non-Profit Organizations that emphasizes speedy grant decisions with extremely low overhead. Above all, it is changing the lives of families, one family at a time. In the past 14 months, Eric distributed PCO grants valued at $200,000 in more than 20 states. The grants range from $500 to $10,000 for each applicant.
THE FISHING SCHOOL
When Eric heard about a program called The Fishing School in Washington, D.C., which provides a safe haven and academic support for vulnerable children ages 6 to 12, he found a cause close to his heart. Eric recently stepped down from The Fishing School Board, but he is still actively involved. Since it opened, the campus has served more than 3,000 students. Some of its visitors include former President George W. Bush and the Obama administration’s secretaries of the Education, Labor and Energy departments. The school’s name and philosophy are inspired by the adage, “If you give a man a fish, you will feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will feed himself for a lifetime.” In August 2009, the school was in the national spotlight when volunteers on the ABC television series “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” demolished the dilapidated building and constructed a brand-new, energy-efficient facility. It all happened in the space of a week, from Aug. 23 to 30, 2009, when the completely remodeled 7,000-square-foot building was unveiled. It was the largest project in the show’s history. They worked around the clock with an army of volunteers to get the job done. The story of Founder of The Fishing School (Tom Lewis) inspired producers so much, they decided to break with their normal tradition of only doing single family home projects. Appearing on the show is extremely competitive, as “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” gets about 17,000 applications per week. The New Fishing School and associated furniture and equipment are valued at approximately $2 million.