Mr. Newton Sanon obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Stout; he continued his studies at UW-Stout and obtained a Master’s Degree in Training in Human Resources Development.
Upon graduation, Mr. Sanon joined the Leo Lewis Youth camp of Minnesota Vikings as a youth counselor; he coached inner city youth on the fundamentals of football, life skills, and decision-making. In 1998, Mr. Sanon returned to his hometown of Miami, Florida, where he joined the Miami Dolphins as an operations assistant, supporting football operations and working with the NFL Youth Challenge program, which provides youth development programming to kids of all ages.
In 2000, Mr. Sanon moved on to Broward Community College (BCC), where he became the first Project Director of a Federal initiative led by the Clinton Administration, “Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs Project” (also known as the GEAR UP Project). This initiative provided tutoring, mentoring, homework assistance and interactive college tours for middle school youth residing in Broward County housing developments. Through Mr. Sanon’s leadership, participating students demonstrated significant academic improvement, with several students more than doubling their GPA (1.5 to 3.0+). Mr. Sanon’s emphasis on contextual-based learning was key to this marked improvement. Mr. Sanon left BCC in 2002 to join Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) of Broward County as Project Director and was promoted to lead the agency as Executive Director within two years of service and now serves as President and CEO.
Mr. Sanon has exponentially expanded OIC’s services in the South Florida area; having started with just 2 employees (himself and a part-time secretary) and has flourished to approximately 75 full time staff. Given the demand for OIC’s services, Mr. Sanon saw it fit to change the agency’s name in 2009 and is now OIC of South Florida, providing services in Broward County, Miami Dade County and Palm Beach County to come in the future. OIC of South Florida’s annual budget began at $125,000 upon Mr. Sanon’s arrival, and is now $6 million annually and growing. Mr. Sanon’s stewardship at OIC has solidified over $47 million in state, local, federal and private dollars.
OIC of South Florida’s’ flagship programming remains in working with individuals who are re-entering society after being incarcerated, and is the leading provider of job training and placement for returning citizens in the area. OIC’s Reentry Program has been highlighted on CNN and was instrumental in securing the “Honor of Hope” award from the White House Office of Faith and Community based initiatives. This prestigious recognition is given to only one faith or community based organization per State.
As a result of Mr. Sanon’s leadership, and dedicated staff, over 8,500 now former recipients of public assistance, ex-offenders, incumbent workers, un-employed and or underemployed residents of South Florida have obtained employment over the past 15 years and are now taxpaying and therefore contributing citizens of South Florida.
OIC also currently provides programming to youth by way of its Teen Pregnancy Prevention initiative which continues to be funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This initiative aims to protect youth from risky behaviors that may derail their academic and vocational potential and negatively impact their ability to becoming productive members of society. “We must be proactive in addressing the vicious cycles of poverty” says Sanon. Additional programming to middle and high school aged youth provided by OIC of South Florida in the area of academic tutoring, career awareness and planning, made possible by funders such as the Children’s Services Council of Broward County and the Children’s Trust of Miami Dade County.
Newton B. Sanon, President and CEO of OIC of South Florida, is committed to the advancement of the underserved via vocational training and education. Mr. Sanon states that “Despite the many challenges we face, we live in the best country in the world, with boundless opportunities. I simply look to be a convener of awareness, access and action with the aspiration that all may have at a minimum, the opportunity to realize the greatness within us all. “
A proud member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Mr. Sanon is also a past honoree of The 40 Most Influential & Prominent Black Professionals of South Florida Under the Age of 40 by Success South Florida Magazine, Bank Atlantic Non-Profit Academy Awards as one of the Broward College Non-Profit Leaders of the Year, JM Family Enterprises annual African-American Achievers Award for Community Service, U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Advocates Entrepreneurs and Life Time Achievers, Leadership Florida Class of XXXIV, Graduate of Harvard University’s Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit Management and most recently selected as a member of the Orange Bowl Committee.