An education institute based in Oakland is set to launch a campaign that will celebrate 100 community leaders next year, in honor of their founder’s 100th birthday.

The Marcus Foster Education Institute announced that it is seeking community leader nominations.

The Marcus Foster Education Institute is an organization founded by Oakland Unified School District’s first Black superintendent, and is focused on leading and partnering in work that helps advance systematic change and educational equity for Black, Latino, Indigenous communities, and students from non-wealthy families.

In 1973, Marcus Foster founded the Oakland Education Fund, which was the first of its kind in the nation. Months after launching, he was assassinated by an extremist group. The organization’s name was changed to the Marcus Foster Education Institute in honor of his work.

Foster guided an era of innovation in education for the students of Oakland by encouraging teachers, students, parents, community members and businesses to find creative instructional solutions to address barriers for community’s well-being and success, according to the MFEI.

Throughout the years MFEI has partnered with school districts, nonprofits, and corporations throughout the Bay Area to develop and implement far-reaching strategies that will create equitable educational systems.

Following in Foster’s footsteps

The institute’s “100 for the 100th” campaign, a part of a yearlong series of events to mark MFEI’s 50th anniversary, will celebrate leaders who have supported the well-being and progress of students and families from historically marginalized communities, said the MFEI in a news release.

Nomination applications will be accepted until Oct. 30 and voting will occur in November. The celebration will conclude on March 31, 2023 — what would be Foster’s centennial birthday.

According to the organization, successful nominees are leaders in their own field who have incorporated Foster’s guiding principles of courage, innovation, integrity and deep engagement in their volunteer or professional ventures.

“Leaders who share Dr. Foster’s values and exemplify his courage, innovation, integrity, and commitment toward creating equity for all students — these are the types of leaders we welcome people to nominate so they can be recognized in the spirit of Dr. Foster’s service and vision,” Executive Director of the Marcus Foster Education Institute, Alicia Dixon said.

Anyone who has had direct experiences with the MFEI or with Foster is encouraged to share their stories as part of the organization’s 50th anniversary celebration.

The nomination application is available on the MFEI website.

Victoria Franco is a reporter based in Stockton covering San Joaquin County for Bay City News Foundation and its nonprofit news site Local News Matters. She is a Report for America corps member.