Daniel Armstrong

Daniel Armstrong

Daniel Armstrong is a highly accomplished dream coach, published author, and motivational speaker. Daniel's mission is to inspire and mentor youth and adults to pursue and actualize their dreams.

BIOGRAPHY

Daniel Armstrong is widely recognized for his work within the American education system through his Find A Tree program.

Daniel's mission is to inspire and mentor youth and adults to pursue and actualize their dreams. His personal journey toward success began as a child growing up in Compton, California where Daniel's commitment to both athletics and academics led him to earn his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Columbia University in New York City, followed by his Master of Business Administration and Juris Doctorate in Law degrees from UCLA. All of Daniel's collegiate accomplishments formed the foundation for his impressive professional career.

Beginning with his work as a student at Columbia where he founded The Coalition for a Free South Africa, whose work was recognized in the PBS documentary, "Have You Heard from Johannesburg" for sparking national social protests against apartheid, Daniel has been committed to pioneering change.

"We were the first university with a significant endowment to resolve to divest
its investments in companies doing business in apartheid South Africa."

 

—Michael I. Sovern

Former President of Columbia University


An Improbable Life: My Sixty Years at Columbia and Other Adventures

His experience with international affairs grew while studying youth development as a Ford Foundation Fellow in Zimbabwe, Africa. Daniel made a significant impact on the region's social climate by spearheading the largest multi-racial gathering in the young country's history by organizing a national tour by the Harlem Magicians basketball team. Daniel would go on to serve as an international liaison to the president of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings, by organizing the Los Angeles portion of his visit to America in 1995. Daniel continued his overseas work, facilitating business development projects in Ghana, in conjunction with Korean multi-national corporations. It was during this time that Daniel's true career calling would become apparent.

A BIOGRAPHY

While coaching youth basketball in Ghana, Daniel encountered two local boys who dreamed of one day opening their own school. He encouraged them to look beyond their challenges and to "find a tree and start their school there." This simple motivation inspired them to act. Their actions captured the attention of a local businessman who afforded them a building in which to house their school – effectively bringing their dream to fruition. With that, the Find A Tree program was born.

After returning to the United States, Daniel recognized that American youth were also facing very unique challenges that prevented them from maximizing their potential. He saw the opportunity to make a difference by empowering youth to overcome obstacles and act with a sense of urgency and confidence in pursuit of their dreams. Daniel's Find A Tree program has been a huge success to date, tackling the U.S. education crisis by providing empowerment programs to thousands of students and teachers across the country, and serving as a champion for rehabilitation within Los Angeles' juvenile detention centers. Between his book, How To Live Your Dreams: Find a Tree and Get Started, his entrepreneurial ventures, and his growing work with Find A Tree, Daniel continues to be a true example of the greatness an individual can accomplish when he or she dreams and then finds a tree and gets started.

Magic
Daniel with basketball great and businessman Earvin "Magic" Johnson
His Excellency, the President of Ghana
Daniel organized the 1995 visit to Los Angeles by the then president of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings.
Martin Luther King, Sr.
Daniel and his Mother meet with Martin Luther King. Sr. outside of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.
John Wooden
The legendary former UCLA basketball coach
The Harlem Magicians Basketball Team Tours Zimbabwe
Former Harlem Globetrotter Marques Haynes and his Harlem Magicians basketball team arrive in Zimbabwe. Here Daniel welcomes team representative Dr. Fred Kennedy. The tour resulted in the largest multiracial social gathering at that point in the young nation’s history, following nearly 20 years of civil war.
Champion for the Cause Against Apartheid
Daniel founded The Coalition for a Free South Africa at Columbia University. The work of the Coalition resulted in Columbia divesting $55 million from South Africa and sparked national protests against Apartheid on college campuses.
Senator Bill Bradley
Former US Senator and professional basketball player, Bill Bradley, and Daniel discuss politics and Ivy League basketball on the floor of the Democratic National Convention.
US Senator Alan Cranston
Daniel majored in political science at Columbia and worked for former Senator Alan Cranston one summer during college. Here, Daniel celebrates with Cranston on the floor of the Democratic National Convention.
Columbia University
When Daniel told his high school counselor he wanted to go to “the best school in New York City,” his counselor told him, “That’s Columbia University…but you could never get in.” Here, Daniel is on graduation day.
Desmond Tutu
Daniel traveled to Apartheid South Africa and met with Nobel Peace Prize winner Bishop Desmond Tutu. They discussed apartheid and the divestment movement at Columbia University.
Stevie Wonder
Daniel and Wonder attend the funeral for Syreeta Wright, who was a great supporter of Daniel and Find A Tree.
Rosa Parks
Daniel memorized Dr. King’s entire “I Have A Dream” speech by fifth grade. Later, he met civil rights icon Rosa Parks.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Basketball legend and one of Daniel’s basketball heroes
Byron Scott
Daniel was invited by three-time NBA World Champion and Head Coach Byron Scott (right) to be a guest speaker at his summer basketball camp.
Mike Tyson
Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson attended the sports management workshop at The International Black MBA Student Association Conference, which Daniel organized as a graduate student at UCLA.
Jesse Jackson
Daniel, fascinated by politics since childhood, worked in his first political campaign in second grade. Here, Daniel meets presidential candidate Jesse Jackson at the Democratic National Convention.
Michael Jackson
Music icon, Michael Jackson, attended the banquet Daniel organized in honor of the president of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings, and his wife.
Jerry West
Former NBA great and then Los Angeles Laker president, Jerry West, meets with Daniel and fellow UCLA students to discuss West’s management of the Lakers.
Columbia Basketball
In college, Daniel was often in the gym an hour or two before the team practiced and would continue to work on his shot after practice was over.
White House Envelope
Daniel’s passion for politics started early. At age three-and-a-half years, he dictated a letter to his mother for then U.S. President Lyndon Johnson. Here is the envelope that the White House’s response came in.
Embrace Struggle
Digging weeds the summer before his freshman year at Columbia. Daniel got fired for not digging fast enough. His father responded: “Never call home again and never ask for any more money. Good bye.”
Create Opportunities through Service
As a result of Daniel’s work with the Coalition for a Free South Africa at Columbia University, he received a grant from the Ford Foundation to study youth development in Zimbabwe.