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Charles Barkley Donates $1 Million to Tuskegee University

Charles Barkley was wildly successful as a basketball superstar through the eighties and nineties, setting records, winning the NBA All-Star award 11 times and MVP in every way one could be. He has arguably been more successful since his retirement, with a career as an Emmy-winning sports analyst and broadcaster, several books, and the occasional dipping of a toe into politics. Today, he’s worth an estimated $40 million.

And he’s looking to give back.

On Tuesday, November 3rd, Barkley told AL.com, an Alabama-based news-site, that he was pledging to donate $1 million to Tuskegee University, without any conditions. This is the fifth million-dollar-pledge he’s made in the past 5 years. The others have been to Alabama A&M, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College in Georgia, and Miles College, also in Alabama. All schools officially designated HBCU, or Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 

Tuskegee University, founded in 1881 as the Tuskegee Normal School for Colored Teachers was founded due to a wager between a former Confederate general (W.F. Foster) and a black leader and former slave (Lewis Adams). It is steeped literally to the bricks in the history of people of color in America. Booker T. Washington was among the first teachers there, and owned some of the original campus.

“I’ve been there a million times,” said Barkley of the college – he played college basketball nearby, in Leeds Alabama. 

Without stipulations set by Barkley, the university is free to do what they will with the donation, but the athlete hopes that they will use it for academic scholarships, to help underserved kids get a better foothold in the world. That is the driving force behind his philanthropy, as he made clear in October, when he donated 200 computers to nearby Leeds High School and free wireless internet access for a year to students in need.

“We’ve got to find a way to help these kids compete,” Barkley said “I don’t want them to be left behind.”

Source: Henry Herald

Editorial credit: Bruce Yeung / Shutterstock.com

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Donation News Organizations The Power of Giving

Magic Johnson’s EquiTrust to Donate $100M to Support Minority-Owned Businesses

When Earvin “Magic” Johnson retired from playing professional basketball in 2000, it was already obvious that he was not the sort of man who would just retire and ride out his substantial fortune for the rest of his days. He’d already tried his hand at coaching, and at hosting a television show, and starting a record label. And he was just getting started.

Today, Johnson runs Magic Johnson Enterprises, a diverse conglomerate company with a net worth over $700 million, which dabbles in dozens of different industries. Briefly, he owned 125 Starbucks locations. At another time, a chain of movie theaters in his name. For a while, he owned part of the L.A. Lakers and a Pepsi bottling plant in Washington. And he continues to own a controlling interest in EquiTrust Life Insurance Company.

Under his direction, EquiTrust is going to donate $100 million in capital to fund federal loans for business owners who have been struck down by the COVID-19 pandemic, prioritizing minorities and children.

The donation, which will be distributed as forgivable loans via lender MBE Capital Partners, will be governed by the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, the small business stimulus plan meant to help small businesses keep their staff on the payroll, giving them a greater chance of weathering the crisis.

“These are incredible businesses, small businesses, that have been the pillar of our community that also employ a lot of black and brown people in our community,” Johnson said on MSNBC on Sunday, May 17. “… We wanted to make sure that minority-owned businesses got small business loans through the PPP program.”

His statement alludes to the concern that minority-owned businesses have been left out, after the PPP stimulus has run out, been renewed, and run out of funds again, with large percentages of the package being snapped up by businesses which are not by any means ‘small.’

Source: CNN

Editorial credit: EPG_EuroPhotoGraphics / Shutterstock.com

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News

LeBron James Accepts Philanthropy Award from Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce

On Tuesday, LeBron James accepted an award of honor from the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce. The H. Peter Burg Leadership Award was presented to Mr. James in recognition of his leadership and many philanthropic efforts in the city of Akron.

James began his NBA career with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003. In 2010, he signed a contract with the Miami Heat, where he played for four season and earning two national titles. After four seasons with the Heat, James returned to Cleveland to finish his basketball journey that began at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron.

LeBron James
s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

“This award is not mine, this belongs to you guys, the 330 Ambassadors, the I Promise kids,” James said. “Every day I wake up and it’s my motivation. If I go out and do something that’s not right, they may look down on you and that’s not right. I refuse to let you guys down.”

LeBron James founded the LeBron James Family Foundation. Its biggest project in Akron has been the I Promise program, designed to encourage Akron public school students to pledge to do their homework and listen to teachers and parents.

Aside from their work with the I Promise program, the LeBron James Family Foundation also partners with Wheels for Education, The LeBron Advisory Board, Boys & Girls Club of America, Time to Promise, and St. Vincent- St. Mary High School for a wide variety of philanthropic events in the Akron area and abroad.

James, like many philanthropists, is partially inspired by his deep personal beliefs. In basketball circles, he is known for making controversial stances on topics like the Trayvon Martin case, former NBA owner Donald Sterling’s racist comments in 2014, and the Michael Brown verdict. Additionally, he donated $20,000 to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008.

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University Of Kentucky Cancels Alumni Charity Game

University of Kentucky Rupp Arena
Rupp Arena will not host the annual charity game this year.
Image: RuppArena.com

Originally scheduled for August 24th in Rupp Arena, the University of Kentucky has canceled its UK Alumni Charity Game. Unfortunately, several NBA players were unavailable to attend the event, including DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, and John Wall.

“With what we’ve been able to do with bringing our guys back for our fans and raising money for charity, the UK Alumni Charity Game has turned into one of my favorite events at UK,” coach John Calipari said in a release. “Unfortunately, due to a number of circumstances out of our control, we are going to have to cancel this year’s game.

Fans who had previously purchased a ticket for the event will be refunded in full. The season will start for the Kentucky Wildcats this year when they host the annual start to the season with Big Blue Madness on October 17th.

The team also said that the cancellation was also out of respect to player Paul George, who was injured at the Team USA camp this summer. “We consider the alumni game to be a first-class experience, but without the presence of several of our key alums who had previous commitments, including to USA Basketball, we didn’t feel we could meet the standard that we have set for fans,” Calipari said. “We still had enough commitments to field our team, but it was becoming increasingly difficult to secure enough members for the non-UK team.”

This year’s cancellation will certainly be a disappointment to players, fans, and the charities involved. Hopefully next year the tradition can be continued once more—perhaps even better than ever.

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Profiles

NBA to Donate Nets Jason Collins Jersey Sales to LGBT Groups

Jason Collins
Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

Since signing with the Nets on earlier this year on February 23 and being added to the roster, Jason Collins’ jersey has been the top-seller at NBAStore.com, the league said.

The NBA announced last Friday that it will donate all proceeds- an amount in excess of $100,000- from the sale of Jason Collins’ Brooklyn Nets jerseys to the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the Matthew Shepard Foundation. The league also plans to auction off Collins’ autographed, game-worn jerseys to help raise money for the same causes.

Collins wears No. 98 to honor the memory of Shepard, a college student who was killed in an anti-gay hate crime in 1998. Collins met with Shepard’s parents following Thursday’s game at Denver.

“I’m thrilled to work with the league to support two fantastic organizations, both of which work tirelessly to ensure LGBT youth get the resources and assistance they need to be successful in life,” Collins said in a statement.

Collins is supposed to sign his second 10-day contract with the Nets this Wednesday. Teams can only sign players to two 10-day deals in the same season, so the Nets will have to either sign Collins for the rest of the season or part ways with him.

The 35-year-old has played 34 minutes in four games with the Nets, totaling four points, four rebounds, three steals and 10 fouls.