Making Kids Win (MKW) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization conceived of and created by Actor, Michael K. Williams. Growing up in Brooklyn and experiencing many of the challenges youth face today, inspired him to create MKW.
Michael Kenneth Williams is one of this generation’s most respected and acclaimed actors. By bringing complicated and charismatic characters to life—often with surprising tenderness—Williams has established himself as a gifted and versatile performer with a unique ability to mesmerize audiences with his stunning character portrayals. Williams is best known for his remarkable work on The Wire, which ran for five seasons on HBO. The wit and humor that Williams brought to Omar, the whistle-happy, profanity-averse, drug dealer-robbing stickup man, earned him high praise and made Omar one of television’s most memorable characters. Williams co-starred in HBO’s critically acclaimed series Boardwalk Empire in which he played Chalky White, a 1920's bootlegger; and the impeccably suited, veritable mayor of Atlantic City’s African-American community. In 2012, Boardwalk Empire won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. He was most recently seen in HBO’s The Night Of in the role of Freddy Knight, for which he received his second Emmy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. Williams previously received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie for his role as Jack Gee in HBO’s Bessie. In 2018, William returned as ‘Leonard’ for a third season in the Sundance Channel series Hap & Leonard opposite James Purefoy. The six part returning series premiered to record breaking ratings for the network and rave reviews from critics and viewers.
Previous TV credits include the ABC limited series When We Rise from Dustin Lance Black and Gus Van Sant and the IFC comedy mini-series The Spoils Before Dying. His upcoming projects include Gideon Raff’s Red Sea Diving Resort, Sony’s Director X-helmed Superfly redo and Warner Bros’ thriller Motherless Brooklyn. Williams made his feature film debut in the urban drama Bullet, after being discovered by the late Tupac Shakur. Previous feature film credits include Ghostbusters, Assassin’s Creed, Bringing Out the Dead, 12 Years A Slave, The Road, Gone Baby Gone, Life During Wartime, Brooklyn’s Finest, Wonderful World, Snitch, Robocop, The Purge: Anarchy, Captive, Kill The Messenger, Inherent Vice, Triple 9, The Gambler and The Land.
Giving back to the community plays an important role in Williams' off-camera life. He is working to launch Making Kids Win, a charitable organization whose primary objective is to build community centers in urban neighborhoods that are in need of safe spaces for children to learn and play. Williams currently serves as the ACLUs ambassador of Smart Justice. Williams also served as the investigative journalist and Executive Producer for Black Market, a documentary program that exposes and comments on illegal markets throughout the world with a focus on the people involved and connecting with them on a human level. Black Market is a flagship show for the newly launched network from Vice. Vice returns this Spring exclusively on HBO. In an extended special season premiere, Williams takes a personal journey to expose the root of the American mass incarceration crisis: the juvenile justice system.
"VICE | Raised In The System"
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Williams began his career as a performer by dancing professionally at age 22. After numerous appearances in music videos and as a background dancer onconcert tours for Madonna and George Michael, Williams decided to seriously pursue acting. He participated in several productions of the La MaMA Experimental Theatre, the prestigious National Black Theatre Company and the Theater for a New Generation directed by Mel Williams. Michael Kenneth Williams resides in Brooklyn, New York.
MKW is currently implementing two programs, Future to reduce gun violence, the related deaths and incarceration of community youth and City Arts Partnership to engage youth in the arts and excel in school. Both programs are based on other programs, whose designs have demonstrated efficacy: Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS) and the Urban Arts Partnership. Future’s primary goal is to reduce gun violence, incarceration and death of young men. This program reaches youth who have already separated from the system and have been associated with gun violence, as well as youth who are still engaged in schools, but are impacted by gun violence. Based on a model that already has demonstrated success reducing gun incidents, incarceration and death in participants provide community outreach to youth who have been associated with gun violence as victims or perpetrators, family members or community associates. It then provides active engagement, training around negotiating conflict, providing a safe space within the community, positive socialization, assisting youth develop positive life plans and accessing resources. These interventions help youth realize their plans are the keys to the program’s success.
Holiday Community Dinner in Newark with Mayor Ras Baraka
Future will provide individual mentorship, group skills building and community change projects, as well as generous amounts of positive reinforcement, supportive counseling and access to referrals, resources and community supports. City Arts Partnership primary goal is to help youth stay in and succeed in school by engaging youth in the arts. While Future reaches youth in the streets, who frequently have already separated from the school system, the City Arts Partnership reaches youth in the schools. By engaging students, especially those who may be impacted, City Arts helps youth experience success which keeps youth engaged in the classroom and allows them to flourish. Teaching Artists, in partnership with the classroom teachers, work in the schools with youth engaging them both during and after school hours infusing the arts into traditional academic subject such as math history and science. Connection with the arts has demonstrated a positive impact of reducing the drop-out rate, improving overall grades and improving self-esteem and feelings of competency, all critical factors in positive life outcomes.