The Minority Community Investment Coalition (MCIC)

is dedicated to helping Erie grow, shine, and thrive. Officially formed in 2016, the Booker T. Washington Center, Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, and Urban Erie Community Development Corporation (UECDC) work together to build equity for a change and improve the life chances for Erie families living in poverty. MCIC coordinates a variety of services to low-income residents, reaching over 20,000 people annually — approximately 20% of the City of Erie’s population — in West Bayfront, Center City, and East Erie. MCIC is focused on outreach, collaboration, and coordinating through neighborhood-based, culturally-responsive programs and services that move the needle on community and economic development.

Shantel Hilliard

Executive Director
Booker T. Washington Center
1720 Holland Street, Erie, PA 16503

Phone: (814) 453-5744 ext. 225
Email: shilliard@btwcenter.org

Shantel Hilliard was born in Erie, Pennsylvania and attended Cathedral Preparatory High school. He earned a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in management from Mercyhurst University. He returned to Mercyhurst University and enrolled in a Post Baccalaureate program where he earned a Human Resource Certificate. Shantel also earned an MBA with a specialization in Public Administration from the University of Phoenix.

He is the Executive Director of the Booker T. Washington Center, where he has worked since 2003. Shantel has a passion for working with individuals who need guidance and structure in their lives. He also enjoys educating and serves as an instructor at Mercyhurst University, where he teaches Business and Sociology courses. He is dedicated to mentoring and helping people realize their dreams and potential.

As an active and committed member of the Erie community, Shantel serves on multiple boards, including Erie Rise leadership Academy, Erie County Human Relations Commission and the Erie Water Authority. He is committed to making the Erie community a better place for all residents. Above all, Shantel is committed to his family, including his wife and two beautiful children.

James C. Sherrod

Executive Director
Bayfront NATO/Martin Luther King, Jr. Center
312 Chestnut Street, Erie, PA 16507

Phone: (814) 459-2761 ext. 222
Email: jsherrod@mlkcentererie.org

James C. Sherrod is the Executive Director of Bayfront NATO Inc./Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center where he has served in this capacity since 2008. Sherrod received his bachelor’s degree in education from Mercyhurst University. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. James currently serves on several community committee’s including Strengthening Police and Community Partnerships (SPCP), The Peoples Supper Core Team, The Flagship Opportunity Zone Advisory Committee and is a Founding member of the Minority Community Investment Coalition and serves on Our West Bayfront. James has enjoyed working within the social services field for nearly thirty years.

Gary Horton 

Executive Director 
Urban Erie Community Development Corporation 
2046 East 19th Street, Erie, PA 16510 
Phone: (814) 899-3904 
Email: ghorton@uecdc.org

As the founder and CEO of the Urban Erie Community Development Corporation (UECDC) and current President of the NAACP branch in Erie, Gary Horton is a passionate advocate for building vibrant communities by helping people to remove barriers to self-sufficiency. Horton is a co-founder of the Minority Community Investment Coalition as well as the neighborhood improvement group Eastside Grassroots Coalition. He also currently serves on the Erie Neighborhood Growth Partnership board and the Governor’s Advisory Board for Environmental Justice. 

Since graduating from Cheyney University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in social and behavioral Sciences and a minor in Political Science, Gary has given more than 30 years to public service. In addition to holding positions in the mayor’s office, the governor’s office and the federal Department of Health Education and Welfare, he also was elected to two terms as a School Board Director. 

The largest constituent group served by UECDC at the Reverend E. F. Smith Quality of Life Learning Center is New Americans – resettled refugees and immigrants. In addition to youth leadership development and other programs, the center offers GED, ESL, workforce development, and job placement for adults living in some of the lowest income census tracts in Erie. For this work, Horton was given the Minority Advocate Award by the US Small Business Administration in 2003. 

One of his proudest accomplishments, Horton has led Erie’s Walking in Black History trip since 1996. This 5-day, experiential learning tour from Erie to significant African American cultural and historical sites in Alabama, Georgia and Washington, DC is celebrating 28 years in 2020. Horton is a Strong Vincent grad, born and raised in Erie and is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Psi. He enjoys spending time with his siblings, his daughter and her husband and his three grandsons.