Earlier in the week, Michael Jordan and his company, Jordan Brand, will donate $100 million to social organizations dedicated to helping change institutionalized and economic racism bestowed upon the black community. The donation will be allotted over ten years to national organizations that are "dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice, and greater access to education."
Jordan's donation comes in the wake of the murder of George Floyd of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Since his untimely death, a civil rights movement has globally taken place asking for racism and police brutality to finally end.
In an interview with the Charlotte Observer, Jordan shared his often reserved opinion and why he was moved to donate.
Rick Bonnell: What moved you to action to give $100 million?
Michael Jordan: “We have been beaten down (as African Americans) for so many years. It sucks your soul. You can’t accept it anymore. This is a tipping point. We need to make a stand. We’ve got to be better as a society regarding race.”
RB: What has to happen to change racist behaviors?
MJ: “Face up to your demons. Extend a hand. Understand the inequalities. Sure, it’s about bargaining for better policing, but it’s more. We have encountered racism to be somewhat acceptable in certain circles.”
RB: Which organizations get the $100 million? Where does that money go to address these issues?
MJ: “We haven’t yet figured which vehicles to utilize. But it’s first about making an effort. It’s not just (donating) money. It’s the act of calling on all of us to take a look at ourselves. That’s an important start.”
RB: How would you describe bias?
MJ: “Just because someone grew up in a slum doesn’t mean you should look at them as not being equal — so they, themselves, start seeing themselves as not equal. You should not feel you’re better than others because you grew up with more advantages.”
RB: Describe your emphasis on education …
MJ: “It’s education 110%. My parents always stressed that education as how you best bond with other people. Education is the best route for black people to better themselves. To compete to be the best you can be, you have got to be educated. If you look at this country, that helping hand (to get a college education) is the best chance to stand up on your own.”
RB: What’s your approach to philanthropy?
MJ: “If I’m giving $100 million, along with Jordan Brand, then we’re going to make this go in a way that makes a difference. And this —attacking ingrained racism, supporting educational opportunity — is a very necessary step in society.”
RB: You’ve contributed millions to hurricane relief and to build two Novant Health clinics in under-served neighborhoods. What do you hope to accomplish?
MJ: “This isn’t just about donations, writing checks. But those hospital (clinics) make a difference. I’m challenging people to effect change however they can.”
Jordan's philanthropic work has been more evident and vocal; recently, the six-time NBA champion donated his revenue to charity. During the N.C. hurricane season, he donated $2 million to families in need, passed out Jordan Brand shoes to his former Boys and Girls Club, and contributed $7 million to at-risk clinics in Charlotte, N.C. If there was ever a question regarding Jordan's dedication to his community, he seems to have answered in '23' fashion.
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