The Carrie Meek Foundation is both guided and inspired by the goals and accomplishments of its namesake. Carrie P. Meek has had successful careers and a huge impact as both an educator and an elected public official.
Born in Tallahassee, FL, Congresswoman Meek grew up in the Jim Crow South. She earned a B.A. in biology and physical education from Florida A&M University, where she was both an exceptional student and a star athlete. She earned her master’s degree in public health and physical education from the University of Michigan, and completed all of the course work for her doctorate. She coached women’s basketball at Bethune-Cookman College, taught biological sciences and physical education there and at Florida A&M University, and later served as Special Assistant to the Vice President of Miami-Dade Community College.
Rep. Meek was elected to both the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate, where she chaired the Education Appropriations Subcommittee and established herself as a skilled debater and one of the state legislature’s most effective members.
“Until we all start to take responsibility, until we do all we can to improve the character of our communities, we’ll never break the cycle of violence and indifference.”Congresswoman Meek
As a new member of Congress, Congresswoman Meek introduced legislation–subsequently passed by Congress and signed into law by the President–to provide retirement security for household workers such as gardeners, nannies, and cleaning personnel.
“Congresswoman Meek has never been comfortable reacting to things. She always thinks about making things happen. She has a forward lean. I loved working with her.”Longtime Meek Chief of Staff John Schelble
Congresswoman Meek has always been a strong advocate for senior citizens. Her amendment to the FY 1998 funding bill for the Department of Housing and Urban Development added $195 million to the Section 202 elderly housing program. Meek also sponsored an amendment to extend Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to aged, blind, or handicapped legal aliens. She led efforts to use scientific sampling techniques to issue accurate population counts in the 2000 Census–a matter of particular importance to ensure fair representation to often-undercounted minority communities. Throughout her career, Meek directed the power of government to help thousands of people with individual problems they experienced.
As a state senator, Meek developed much of Florida’s current housing finance policy, establishing a broad array of public policy guidelines that made the dream of home ownership a reality for thousands of families. Additionally, her legislative efforts have resulted in the construction of thousands of affordable rental units.
During her tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2003, Congresswoman Meek sponsored and co-sponsored 1,828 bills, resolutions, and amendments. She served on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, where the focus of her work was always on addressing human needs, creating opportunity for everyone, but particularly minorities and the disadvantaged, and strengthening community institutions.
She played a key role in providing over $100 million in federal assistance to help rebuild Dade County after the devastation of Hurricane Andrew and guided through Congress legislation to improve Dade County’s transit system, airport, and seaport; to construct a new family and child care center in North Dade; to rebuild Homestead Air Reserve Base; and to fund at Miami-Dade Community College one of the nation’s most advanced aviation training programs.
Congresswoman Meek has received dozens of awards and honors, including the naming of a $1 million eminent scholars chair in her honor at Florida A&M University. She is the recipient of honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from the University of Miami, Florida A&M University, Barry University, Florida Atlantic University, and Rollins College. She was also honored by over 500 of Florida’s business and community leaders with the prestigious LeRoy Collins Lifetime Achievement Award “…for her lifelong commitment to improving the quality of life for Florida’s citizens and its future generations.” The award was named for Governor LeRoy Collins, who set impeccable leadership standards during his own lifetime of service to the state.
On national front, Meek’s approach was cooperative, crossing the aisle on issues affecting vulnerable communities and populations. She worked with Republican colleagues to change warnings on cigarette labels to reflect the fact that more African Americans than whites suffer from several smoking-related diseases. She worked with other Republicans to increase Congressional awareness and funding for research on the auto-immune disease lupus and federal grants to provide specialized assistance for college students with learning disabilities.
Having spent the previous two decades in public office, Meek decided in 2002 against seeking a third term in Congress. She has dedicated her time instead to the Carrie Meek Foundation, working on education, housing, and economic development.