FOUNDER AND CHAIR
JARVIS GIBSON, SR.
Community Leader, The Jarvis Gibson Foundation
Being raised in the inner city of Cleveland, Ohio in what was formerly known as the Longwood Estates, a public low-income housing development located close to downtown Cleveland, should be all the motivation needed to dream, persevere, and achieve.
Like many other children and families in the area, Jarvis Gibson Sr. grew up in a single parent home led by his mother (Earline T. Gibson). This resulted in the lack of financial stability as his mother was the primary provider for him and his older brother (Alejandro Gibson). Although he lacked the consistent presence of a father, he had a variation of influences from his older brother. Being exposed to the many different avenues and lifestyles in a poverty-stricken community, Jarvis had the choice of choosing a path that could lead him to a life of crime, prison, perhaps death, or down the path that may not necessarily be viewed as a glorifying validation in the inner-city streets of Cleveland. Jarvis found stability through education, sports, involvement in positive activities and by seeking mentorship from professional leaders. Often appealing at times to go down the easy or socially acceptable wayward path, he chose the path of academics and sports to pave the way to a brighter future.
Jarvis is a product of The Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and graduate of South High School (Class of 1990). Through his stellar career in high school academics and sports he was awarded the opportunity to attend the very prestigious Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). He graduated in 1995 with his degree in Operations Management with a concentration in Industrial Engineering. He is currently an Executive Director of the Jarvis Gibson Foundation and a successful entrepreneur as a real estate investor.
Jarvis witnessed how debilitating poverty can be on children and their families which fueled his desire to give back to those who experienced similar hardships, disparities and come from challenged socioeconomic backgrounds. His love for the game of football entered him into the world of coaching. He instills the importance of education FIRST in young men and to use their physical talents to finance their college and vocational educations. Due to his ability to relate to the inner-city youth Jarvis has developed strong, trusting bonds and serves as a mentor to many. He mirrors what many young African American men have and should aspire to be. He serves as a life coach to those who lack the positive African American male role model as he did.
As a Head Football Coach and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Jarvis continues to demonstrate strong leadership and service by volunteering and providing community service opportunities for the youth. In addition, his greatest accomplishment and most admirable attribute is being a great father to his only son (Jarvis Gibson Jr.). Being a great father is more than a provider but being supportive and loving. He provides guidance and teaches his son humility among other key attributes. He enjoys fatherhood and takes great pride in raising his son.
Of the many challenges and barriers that Jarvis had to endure, he was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia in 1999 with a prognosis of 5 years. What could be considered the end was a new beginning. He did not allow his prognosis to impact setting goals and continuing his journey to make a difference in the lives of others. He chose a healthier lifestyle, embraced his faith, and maintained a positive attitude towards life. Taking this approach empowered him to be a true leader and inspiration to those who are blessed to know him.
If you ask anyone to describe Jarvis Gibson Sr. in one word it would not be an easy task. However, there are many words to describe him such as God-fearing, determined, focused, leader, trusting, passionate and supportive to name a few. He continues to be an advocate and positive role model to many. His ability to relate to today’s youth gives him credibility and he is admired and respected by many.