“As I have this platform and I have a way to inspire… I will lend my voice … I will lend my resources … to let these kids know that there is hope” these words solidified LeBron James as an activist in the public’s eyes (qtd. in Galily 101109). One of the most high-profile American athletes, “King James” is also an avid supporter of educational programs for the black community. As Galily finds, James has a long history of activism, supporting such causes as justice for police brutality and closing the educational gap for black people (101109). This paper focuses on the LeBron James Family Foundation, the program “I Promise School,” and how it drives education for low-income households in Ohio.
Widely known as “King James”, the athlete and his family have started various foundations to support underprivileged children’s education in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.
According to President Obama, LeBron did the right thing by wearing a protest T-shirt in 2014 in support of Eric Garner, who succumbed to breathing problems caused by an NYPD officer’s chokehold (Burdette 2).
As a top athlete in the US, LeBron seeks to close the educational gap between black Americans in a move to uplift their living standards. LeBron has been an outspoken advocate for black education and rights since the beginning of his career.
Today, I am going to talk about the “I Promise School” and how the LeBron James Family Foundation offers educational excellence to low-income populations in Ohio.
LeBron James Family Foundation
James and his family have run a number of foundations to provide children with access to education. In 2005, the athlete established the LeBron James Family Foundation, as reported by Johnson (2). As Fourney and Timothy state, “while beloved for returning and winning in Cleveland, James’ journey towards good graces ultimately fulfills the expectations of the scripts placed upon him” (97). His latest achievement is the program “I Promise School,” through which at-risk children are given access and resources for education (Johnson 5). James’ goal is to impact his community through activism by using the voice he has as a star-class athlete. However, he is also involved in school-level learning initiatives.
In 2015, the athlete’s charity foundation partnered with the University of Akron to provide scholarships to future students. As Johnson notes, the partnership promised to support more than two thousand students with a full scholarship (4). With the help of this program, the university and the foundation could help thousands of young black people who would have no access to higher education otherwise. By using his status and resources, James can fulfill his dreams and uplift his local community. The university is also optimistic about this initiative as it invites new perspectives and bright minds and raises voices that could have been lost.
LeBron James continues his activism and charity work, helping bridge the inequality gap in his community and the US in general. The LeBron James Family Foundation’s “I Promise School” program has helped many children access school-level education. Such initiatives as the partnership with the University of Akron gave thousands of students a chance to succeed academically. By using his power, James empowers his community and improves the lives in his hometown. It is critical for people with such influence to use their status to help others.
Burdette, Chloe Lynn. “The Shut Up and Dribble Conundrum: A Qualitative Cyber Ethnographic Analysis of LeBron James’ and Stephen Curry’s Social Media Activism on The Black Lives Matter Movement and Low-Income Education.” (2021).
Fourney, Sean, and Timothy Brown. “More than a game: Fulfilling expectations and inscriptions in the career of LeBron James.” Western Journal of Black Studies 42.3/4 (2019): 97-112.
Spinner, J. D. “Philanthropy Stories.” (2020): 5. Web.