NBA legend, owner and Forbes billionaire Michael Jordan will make a gift of millions of dollars to the Portland-based group Friends of the Children, it was announced Thursday.
Jordan will donate the proceeds from his upcoming special ESPN Films and Netflix documentary series, “The Last Dance”, to Friends of the Children.
Read the press release below:
The NBA’s biggest superstar ever has made yet another massive gift to Portland-based Friends of the Children.
The nonprofit, which operates 15 locations nationally, said Thursday Michael Jordan will make a “multimillion” dollar “investment” in the group through his upcoming ESPN Films and Netflix documentary series “The Last Dance.” Jordan will donate “his proceeds” from the project to the group, which looks to add more locations throughout the country.
The exact size of the “investment” wasn’t disclosed, but Friends of the Children leaders said it would take it “over the finish line for an aggressive fundraising campaign: raising $25 million in less than three years.” As such, the group plans to add enough salaried professional mentors who serve thousands of youths from kindergarten through high school, approximately 12-and-a-half years.
It’s the second such gift from Jordan to the group’s national office this year. In May, the two sides revealed Jordan would steer proceeds from sales of a jersey released in conjunction with the documentary to Friends of the Children. The Nike-crafted jersey was a smash, selling out quickly after its release.
Jordan became interested in the group because of his respect for two of his own mentors: his father and the legendary University of North Carolina men’s basketball coach Dean Smith.
“What stood out to me about Friends of the Children was that they employ and train their mentors and that they commit to every child for 12-and-a-half years,” Jordan said in a release. “That dedication is important to me. My mentors believed in me and taught me the power of perseverance. I want youth in Friends of the Children to see that they have that same potential.”
The donation will back Friends’ national expansion campaign and its work in Charlotte and Chicago. The group hopes to expand to 25 cities by 2025.
Some 83 percent of those mentored in the program graduate from high school while another 93 percent avoid the juvenile justice system. Plus, 98 percent avoid early parenting.
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About Friends of the Children
Friends of the Children is a national nonprofit based in Portland, Ore. with the mission of breaking the cycle of generational poverty by giving the most vulnerable children the ability to create a new story. We select the most vulnerable children ages 4-6 from high-poverty schools and the foster care system and pair them with a salaried, professional mentor (a Friend) who stays with them from kindergarten through graduation – 12 ½ years, no matter what. Our Friends support and guide our children in becoming healthy and contributing members in their communities. Our successful model is now in 15 locations, including four sites in Oregon (Portland, Gresham, Klamath Falls and Central Oregon); Austin, Texas; Boston, Mass., Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago, I.L.; Harlem and the South Bronx, N.Y.; Los Angeles and San Francisco, Calif.; Seattle, Wash; Tampa Bay, Fla.; and Cornwall, U.K. Friends of the Children has been named the Most Admired Nonprofit in Oregon in 2015, 2016, and 2017 by the Portland Business Journal. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, or visit friendsofthechildren.org.