Feature Story

Honoring Philadelphia’s Youth

Gus Amsterdam was a Philadelphia business leader, founding board member of Comcast Corporation, and a community advocate focused on improving educational opportunities and civic life in Philadelphia. He graduated from Central High School and the University of Pennsylvania, and served as chairman of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and on the boards of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Philadelphia Diagnostic and Rehabilitation Center, the Philadelphia Urban League, the Federation of Jewish Agencies, the University of Pennsylvania Museum, and the Franklin Institute, among others.

We established the Gustave G. Amsterdam Leadership Award in 2001 to honor Gus and his contributions to our corporate headquarters’ hometown. Honorees are Philadelphia students chosen from among the local finalists for the Comcast Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program, which is funded through the Comcast Foundation. Each Gustave G. Amsterdam Leadership Award recipient is awarded a one-time $5,000 scholarship grant, in lieu of the $1,000 Leaders and Achievers Scholarship, to be used toward their pursuit of higher education at a Philadelphia college or university.

The 2016-2017 Gustave G. Amsterdam Leadership Award winners, Fakira Awawdeh and Widchard Faustin, were recognized last week by Comcast Corporation Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer David L. Cohen during the annual Mayor’s Address to the Business Community Luncheon, hosted by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

For Fakira, education has been a priority despite many obstacles facing her, including resistance from her family in Palestine. She graduated from Kensington Health Sciences Academy as the salutatorian and is the first female in her extended family with a high school diploma. Now at the Community College of Philadelphia, Fakira, is studying to be a nurse, with a goal of helping the region’s elderly after she graduates.

Widchard is majoring in computer science at Drexel University, with plans to pursue a career in engineering. It is a fitting path for someone who is dedicated to combining his love of science with helping others. Widchard maintained a 4.0 grade point average at Central High School and served as the vice president of Game Central, a club to help shy and younger students socialize with peers through technology. His academic excellence has not waned since beginning college, earning a 4.0 in his first semester.

The Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program aims to give young people every opportunity to be prepared for their futures. The program recognizes students across the country for their academic achievement, leadership skills, and commitment to community service. Since 2000, more than 25,000 students have received more than $26 million in college scholarships from the Comcast Foundation. Learn more about the Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program here.