Craig Anthony White II is the President & CEO of Brick City Rowing, a non-profit and community organization, founded in 2020, with the explicit goal of creating a competitive rowing program that is open to youth and families from the City of Newark and its surrounding community.
Craig was born and educated in Newark, NJ. He graduated from St. Benedict's Prep and learned to row at the College of William & Mary. For four years he served as an active member of the club program’s leadership. In 2011, Craig returned to his hometown of Newark, NJ and began his work. While working at St. Benedict’s Prep, he successfully founded the school’s first rowing team months after being hired. From the beginning, Craig’s vision was to empower student athletes and their families through the sport of rowing. He believes the sport can instill a lifetime of achievement, both on and off the water, for everyone who has access to it.
Since the inception of the team, Craig has grown the rowing program at St. Benedict's from 8 to over 60 student athletes - who train and compete year round - making rowing the second most popular sport at St. Benedict’s Prep. The team has garnered great success over the years including helping student athletes advance themselves to some of the best colleges and universities in the country.
Looking back at 2011, he has decided that it is his duty to provide even greater access by fostering change within his home town of Newark, NJ. Craig has embarked on this new mission of engaging young rowers and their families from the surrounding area through Brick City Rowing.
Brannon Johnson, a Philadelphia native and current resident, is the head coach and owner of BLJ Community Rowing, one of the most diverse community rowing programs in the Philadelphia metro area. She has built an extensive resume in rowing, teaching and coaching over the past 15+ years. At the age of 15 she learned to row at the Fairmount Park Community Rowing Program, where she began to develop as a single sculler under the tutelage of Kay MacDonald.
Brannon received a full athletic scholarship to attend the University of Texas, where she rowed at the Division 1 varsity level all 4 years. In 2003, Brannon competed as a single sculler in the internationally known Henley Royal Regatta, one of the most prestigious regattas held on the Thames River in England.
Brannon has taught and coached 150+ classes to over 1,000 Philadelphia area residents, ranging from ages 12 to 65. What began as a learn-to-row program quickly morphed into one of the city’s most diverse adult community rowing programs. BLJ Community Rowing continues to grow its membership and is committed to providing unfettered access to Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River.
Arshay Cooper is a Rower, Benjamin Franklin award-winning author, the protagonist of the critical acclaim film “A Most Beautiful Thing,” A Golden Oar recipient for his contributions to the sport of rowing, motivational speaker, and activist, particularly around and issues of accessibility for low-income families. Arshay works with the George Pocock Foundation and A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund to bring rowing to under-resourced communities.
After self-publishing his memoir, Suga Water, which is now the basis for a new documentary (narrated by Common, executive produced by Grant Hill and Dwyane Wade and directed by Mary Mazzio) called “A Most Beautiful Thing” and a republished memoir of the same name from Macmillan). Arshay and his work have been featured on The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien, NBA TNT, Sports Illustrated Magazine, Men Health, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, BBC World Service, Christian Science Monitor, BET, NPR, Miami Herald, Peoples, Black Enterprise, Hollywood Reporter, WGN News, Good Day New York, CBS, Chicago Sun-Times, Deadspin, Chicago Reader, FOX, Discovery Life Channel Steph Curry Book Club and more.
Banks played basketball and ran track when he was in high school and he was invited to try out for rowing as an undergraduate at Stanford University. Banks graduated from Stanford in 2005 with a degree in Urban Studies, and decided to enroll at Princeton for a one-year graduate program in Construction Management.
He is currently an active Board Member for USRowing and the club program Oakland Strokes, in Oakland California. He is a driving force behind many DEI initiatives within the rowing community all across the country.
USRowing, the national governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States, named Amanda Kraus as its new Chief Executive Officer on November 1, 2020. As founder and CEO of Row New York, Kraus has spent the last 18 years building an award-winning organization with a focus on making the sport of rowing, paired with top-notch academic support, accessible to young people.
After moving to New York City following graduate school, Kraus started Row New York by putting $5 into a bank account and reading a book about starting non-profits. She built the board, found a lake on which to row, raised money to get things up and running, and ultimately built an organization with a $5 million operating budget. Since its founding in 2002, Row New York has impacted the lives of thousands of teenagers, as well as veterans and people with disabilities. One of Kraus' goals at USRowing will be to broaden the reach of the sport.