Bobby Digi Olisa

Executive Director
Canvas Institute
U.S. Staten Island, New York Hub | NORTH AMERICA

Bobby Digi Olisa was born in Brooklyn, New York to parents of Nigerian descent and raised in the multi-ethnic Clifton section of Staten Island where he attended Public School 57 and then Intermediary School 49. He completed high school in Nigeria and then later graduated from the City College of Staten Island. He also has an honorary degree from Columbia University in Not-for-Profit Management.

Bobby founded Canvas Institute and Island Voice to service and advocate for immigrant and underserved communities on the North Shore of Staten Island where he grew up. He sees the need to bridge the racial, educational and cultural divide in that borough; only then can the community and youth grow and flourish. Bobby has always been inspired by the desire to bring people of diverse backgrounds together to discover solutions to the most challenging issues of our time. He has always believed in leading by example, and has utilized his educational and professional opportunities to give back to the community and to inspire the next generation of leaders.

For ten years, Island Voice has been a premier organization in Staten Island focused on youth empowerment, cultural awareness and economic empowerment. Currently supporting five neighborhood schools on the North Shore of Staten Island, its programming, events and initiatives are all aligned with these three pillars of the organization. Whether it is empowering youth through educational programming or advocating for cultural awareness in trying to address language barriers related to school requirements, Island Voice is uniquely prepared to serve its audience because of its deep reach into the communities of the North Shore and its inroads with important partnerships with mission​-aligned nonprofits.

Bobby also works as the Executive Director of Canvas Institute in Staten Island. He is a founding member of an early childhood learning initiative known as Equity Alliance of Staten Island (EASI) Aspiration. Its goal is to attain equity and equality in the Staten Island education system, particularly in early childhood education in the short term and the overall development of Staten Island’s underserved communities in the long term, with a deep interest in dismantling the system and systemic injustices along the way.

He is interested in creating a Compassionate Systems hub at Canvas Institute.