The LeBron James Family Foundation has pledged full college tuition to 1,100 students in Ohio.
James, who recently lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to his third NBA championship and the first for the city in 52 years, has been using his foundation to make positive, progressive change in the Akron, Ohio area for well over a decade. And last year the foundation announced a partnership with the University of Akron to provide scholarships for thousands of students.
“For me growing up — and a lot of kids grew up in the situation I grew up in — [college] wasn’t a reality, we just didn’t feel like it was possible,” James says in the video below.
Choosing students for the scholarships starts surprisingly young. Studies have shown that offering students mentorship when they are in third grade is the best way to prevent them from dropping out. So that’s exactly what James and his foundation have done. After the students become foundation students they are partnered with a mentor, and, on the condition that they earn at least a 3.0 GPA throughout high school, they will receive four years of tuition to the University of Akron.
Currently there are over 1,000 students on track to meet those requirements, and James has pledged them $41 million to get them through school. The huge sum puts him among the top ten most charitable athletes in the world.
“It’s the reason I do what I do. These students have big dreams, and I’m happy to do everything I can to help them get there,” James says in an announcement video for the university partnership. “They’re going to have to earn it, but I’m excited to see what these kids can accomplish knowing that college is in their futures.”
“To be in a position today where we can actually put ourselves and put these in a position where this thing called college can become a reality is enormous,” he says.
In addition to the scholarships, the LeBron James Family Foundation does all sorts of work throughout the Akron area, from serving meals to local kids, to getting them involved in volunteering, giving out much needed groceries, and offering countless hours of mentorship.
The first students in the new scholarship program will enter the University of Akron in 2021, and if the program goes as planned, they will be the first of many.
For his enormous contribution, for his desire to make real, lasting change in his home community, and for committing himself to the betterment of our world, we are proud to name LeBron James and the LeBron James Family Foundation our Luminaries of the week.
For more information about the LJFF, go here.